Video Collaboration Helps Build Trust
Blue Jeans Gives Commonfund a Way To Deepen Relationships with Customers
Commonfund manages a range of investment programs across most asset classes and strategies. Their business relies heavily on external communications with customers, hedge fund managers and consultants. Over the years, Commonfund has tried various video and web conferencing solutions to improve communication, yet was unable to find one that gave them the confidence or flexibility to do what they needed.
Commonfund meetings were mostly confined to audio conferences, sometimes WebEx meetings and, at times, Polycom video conferences. One of the biggest issues Commonfund faced was the ability to bring outside participants that didn’t have a similar video system into meetings. They had hoped to find something that would allow them to connect to subject matter experts using Skype and needed the ability to have multiple locations attend meetings.
Prior to Blue Jeans, Commonfund invested in Polycom video conferencing systems for their main offices but found it to be limiting since they had no way to use it with external attendees without testing ahead of time. To combat the connectivity problem, Commonfund leased ISDN lines to give access to external parties. The cost for the ISDN line was expensive and since it limited connectivity to other ISDN systems, usage was poor.
Another issue Commonfund hoped to solve was a way for people to join meetings remotely -- while on the road or working from home. Sales people and fund managers were given iPads and iPhones with the hopes that these devices could be used as another way to improve productivity while working remotely.
Choosing Blue Jeans Over Other Vendors
Having migrated their phone system to the cloud, Commonfund wondered if a cloud solution might help give them the capacity and flexibility they were looking for without the hefty price tag of an on-premise solution. On paper Blue Jeans had all the things they needed; multi-party video, audio-only capability,Skype, mobile device and room-based video conferencing support, along with flexible pricing. They gave Blue Jeans a try, and in short time realized it solved many of their issues – and more. In addition to improving their capacity to communicate with customers face-to-face, Blue Jeans was easy to cost justify – Commonfund got rid of their ISDN lines to pay for Blue Jeans and in a few months increased their video usage 10 fold.
A big “ah-ha” moment happened when a meeting attendee was unable to attend an important meeting because a train derailment meant she couldn’t make it to the Commonfund office to present her solution. In that moment, the Voice/Video Manager told her not to worry and to simply use her laptop and Skype to join from her office. She did, and the meeting went off without a hitch.
Commonfund use cases for Blue Jeans:
- Enhance Travel - Portfolio managers find that using Blue Jeans helps enhance necessary travel. When it comes to financial investments, there are times that an in-person meeting is critical to building trust. Using Blue Jeans, fund managers are able to continue to build upon the relationship.
- Investment Committee Meetings – these meetings often happen on the weekend where time is valuable. Attendees join from home using iPads.
- Quarterly Fund Reviews – face-to-face portfolio reviews with clients.
- Management Meetings – improve team collaboration and relationships by looking employees and peers in the eye.
Common Fund truly believes that video conferencing is the future of communication, which is why they made the investment in Blue Jeans. Employees are empowered to engage with customers on a more intimate level while accomplishing tasks more quickly and efficiently. The simplicity of Blue Jeans allows users to schedule their own meetings and attendees to easily join from any video client, including a web browser. And, Blue Jeans is a tool that IT can get behind since it makes their job easier, while reducing costs. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Commonfund is an institutional investment firm that manages nearly 1,500 institutions. Building and maintaining trusting relationships with customers is critical to their success. They needed a tool that gave them flexibility to meet face-to-face with external parties, regardless of video capabilities.
The Blue Jeans service provided Commonfund a more flexible and cost-effective solution to engage in real-time, face-to-face video meetings with customers, fund managers, subject matter experts from most video applications and devices, including mobile. Blue Jeans’ broad interoperability, browser support also enabled Commonfund to host video meetings with participants that were once relegated to join as audio-only participants.
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