Web Conferencing Fills Void in Tight Times - Page 3

SAAS Is Where It's at

Bob Hersch, global managing director of Accenture's Workplace Technology and Collaboration practice, told eWEEK that travel savings realized from Web conferencing solutions are a big deal for companies with employees who are frequently on the road.

Hersch declined to name specific clients he advises due to nondisclosure agreements but said clients in markets such as pharmaceutical and financial services are looking at SAAS options for Web conferencing.

So, what does Hersch advise for clients who currently use an on-premises collaboration solution but want to go with SAAS? Hersch said he tells customers to stick with vendors that are creating hosted counterparts to their on-premises solutions.

"If they have a lot of Microsoft technology, I urge them to think about Microsoft Online Services, or Cisco customers to consider WebEx Connect," Hersch said. Ditto for IBM Lotus Sametime customers who may want to switch to Lotus Sametime Unyte.

Of course, while these vendors are giants, they're not the only options. The market is littered with smaller Web conferencing vendors, ranging from Adobe to AT&T's Interwise unit and Genesys, as well as a number of startups. (Yuuguu, Yugma and DimDim come immediately to mind.)

Hersch acknowledged that while these smaller companies may be reasonable options, he tends to advise clients to go with the name brands that have been around for a while (and probably will continue to be).