This post about IT’s challenges with supporting meeting collaboration comes from Jason Ishee, AVI-SPL director of IT infrastructure.

Over my career in IT, I have had the luxury to spend time with all types of technology. From PCs to servers, to hardware to software — I’ve worked with them all. As audio-visual (AV), video, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), and other collaboration technologies get introduced to organisations, responsibilities can change and increase.

When you’re in IT, your days always start with the best of intentions. You have projects you’re working on, tasks to get done, meetings you need to go to. But somewhere during the day, things go from planned to reactive. Emails, IMs, phone calls, incident portal notifications: It seems like everyone has an emergency. “The display in the conference room doesn’t work.” “Something is wrong with the room.” “Video doesn’t seem to be working.”

How should IT prioritise issues?

As three individual issues, this isn’t a big deal for IT. But when you have 50+ offices, hundreds of conference rooms, some local help, and hundreds of meetings taking place, how do you decide where to begin? Do you go investigate the room that isn’t being used right now to alleviate potential problems with the upcoming meetings, or do you go to the conference room where people are trying to have a meeting? You certainly don’t want your colleagues’ meeting paused for any longer than it must be. The struggle, either way, is that you don’t have much information to go on. But you know people are frustrated, and you want to help.

Technology failures feel like IT’s fault

Once you arrive to do some troubleshooting in hopes of resolving the issue, you feel like you are the cause of the delay. You feel intrusive. Your colleagues have gone to collaborate in a meeting space that you are responsible for, and regardless of the reason why, they cannot. You’re hoping that it is something simple so you can get out of there, and the meeting can continue as planned. Sometimes you’re lucky. It was just an incorrect input. Or maybe a quick reboot solves the problem. But sometimes, it’s bigger than that. Sometimes these issues cause everyone to pack up and leave the conference room. Eventually, you go back to the IT department and deal with the next matter.

Collaboration technology needs to work

Organisations spend millions of dollars to provide their employees with collaboration capabilities. As we begin coming back to the office, those capabilities become even more relevant. Over the past 18 months, people have gotten used to meeting with each other over video. They have had meetings where distance was no longer an issue. Now, they want more of that. But for people to leverage these mature and emerging technologies, they have to be working.

While that sounds easy enough, to just go fix things when there are problems, IT needs to know there is an issue before the emergency phone call happens. You need a way to be notified, prioritise, action, and resolve in the quickest easiest way possible so that spaces are ready to be used and collaboration can take place.

A solution that can provide that kind of proactive support and insight is invaluable to IT and the people who rely on collaboration technology.

We need a platform that can monitor and manage the performance of our meeting rooms and technology. One that takes the proactive stance we want. One that can automate routine processes and alert IT to non-routine issues that could disrupt users. We need Symphony.