About SKAN AG
SKAN, founded in 1968, is a pioneer in the field of cleanroom equipment and isolator design for the global pharmaceutical industry. Headquartered in Switzerland, the company also has sales and service operations located in the US and Japan. Additionally they have a manufacturing and production operation in Germany. This means the company must manage and maintain a truly global supply chain.
Why video conferencing?
SKAN decided to consider video conferencing as a way to better connect the head office to their subsidiary offices and thus reduce the need for travel for their executives and other leadership team members. The company had previously employed a web conferencing tool to host some meetings between their various locations. But they were looking for a more flexible service that could be easily scaled since their demand for interactive meetings across their locations was increasing, only was only expected to keep growing. An extra consideration was that users had sometimes found web conferencing hard to use, especially for unscheduled meetings, so any new platform had to be easy to use.
"For us, video conferencing is first and foremost about solving problems."Burim Maraj, Senior Financial Officer
After deciding that video conferencing was the way forward, SKANs leadership evaluated several options for which platform or service would be the best fit for their needs. They also considered the possibility of expanding their web conferencing platform if the service could be expanded to meet their demand. Ultimately however, after exploring this option alongside other possibilities, video conferencing delivered as video conferencing-as-a-service (VCaaS), was the solution that best fit their given criteria.
With the Pexip service they found a cloud video service that could not only deliver on quality of service with high performance video, but also offered the most flexible approach to purchasing and invoicing, meaning they could easily implement and build a centralized video communication strategy without needing to invest heavily in new hardware or infrastructure to get started.
A scalable business communication tool
Pexip user licenses for virtual meeting rooms can be registered in one of two ways, either as a personal license for individual meeting rooms, or as a team license to provide a room with shared user permissions for a group of users. This choice, and the ability to mix and match the different license types, suited SKANs organizational needs. They felt confident of being able to implement the correct level of service for the various members of their management alongside with the various global teams. And since Pexip is a cloud service, the company knew it would be simple to scale their service as their usage increased. They just purchasing extra licenses available for instant activation whenever they needed.
In addition to user licenses, SKAN also use a number of device licenses for their dedicated video conferencing units to compliment their virtual meeting rooms. These systems are installed in various conference rooms around their global offices and help the different locations to either dial each other directly or to join one of the company’s virtual meeting rooms for large scale collaboration in a true video conference setting.
Integrated into daily workflows
During day to day operations the user-friendly Pexip service has made it easy for the company to establish new workflows with video meetings. The company relies on video conferencing daily for a range of tasks, including for communicating with external stakeholders such as vendors when the need arises. But their most consistent use is for internal communication between their international operations.
“Getting our people on the service and using it regularly was not difficult at all. We created a short training presentation lasting about 20 minutes, showing people how to log in, join a room, how to invite someone to a meeting and so on. Then we simply set a date aside and invited people to come to their preferred time slot to receive the training. Once people had the basics it was easy for people to start using it every day.“Burim Maraj, Senior Financial Officer
Engage external users with WebRTC
The one challenge that the SKAN team has come across has been inviting external users who aren't always accustomed to video meetings and cannot always install a browser plugin if they're using a company device to call in through a browser. With video conferencing through a browser (or "WebRTC"), it varies between each browser as to whether a plugin is required, and the installation itself only takes a few seconds and only needs to be done the first time. But since some larger enterprise organizations restrict these types installation tasks to IT administrators rather than individual users they have found it helps to plan with external guests ahead of time if they plan to share a presentation so they can arrange a download of the plugin if necessary.
More than a financial investment
Of course, video has meant a reduction in the need to travel for the team members and that means a large cost saving. According to Burim, anytime an individual would travel to attend a meeting it could cost anything up to a few thousand euros depending on flights and hotels. But videoconferencing has resulted in requiring far less frequent trips for team members just to attend meetings, leading to significant cost-savings even for one meeting.
However, “for us, video conferencing is first and foremost about solving problems” states Burim. Beyond the basic financial ROI, video has helped SKAN to strengthen across several points of their value chain. Video has helped make the production process more efficient by helping the company be more responsive, speeding up decision-making and resolving problems faster:
"Where video really comes into it’s own is the transfer of knowledge between our teams. If our production team need help with an issue that arises they can speak to our consultants and experts here in Switzerland and get straight on video."
With video conferencing, the SKAN teams separated by geography can collaborate effectively on any given issue, rather than having to work independently of one another and only coming together to compare notes or suggestions and relay feedback via telephone or email. It’s very easy for someone with the correct level of knowledge or expertise to assist a team remotely whilst they work together on video. So that the production team gets the answers and decisions they need, via a very fast, effective consulting process, making the whole production process more agile and productive than before the introduction of video.
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