From Novice To Expert: Creating A Videoconferencing Practice


For Ocean Computer Group, it was a client that wanted a videoconferencing solution, an area in which the solution provider really didn't have much expertise.

"They have four offices and they were looking for a solution to facilitate quicker communication and to cut down on travel," said Kenneth Dominguez, an integration specialist at the solution provider.

The client's issue—likely one felt by a lot of companies—was that remote offices often feel isolated and not a key part of the corporate structure, Dominguez said. As Ocean Computer Group started looking around, it found that most solutions were either too expensive or too complicated for what the customer wanted. Dominguez thought he wasn't going to be much help. But a conversation with a Tech Data representative changed all that.

Clearwater, Fla.-based Tech Data had recently added LifeSize as a vendor and recommended its solution to Ocean Computer Group. The solution provider brought the customer to Manhattan for a demonstration and closed the deal less than two weeks later.

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"LifeSize was easy to use. It gave them HD quality, and it's much less expensive," Dominguez said. "And they set it up themselves. It's not complicated at all. It was a great fit. Since this one transaction, we're doing more marketing and we're driving more opportunity in the space."

All of a sudden, Ocean Computer Group was becoming a videoconferencing expert for small-business customers.

"We'd never heard of LifeSize before this. Now we are definitely going to make videoconferencing a focus. It allows me to become more of a complete solution provider. It allows me to add more value than I traditionally had, and it allows me to also better manage their complete infrastructure," he said.

The entry point for videoconferencing has become more affordable for small businesses to consider it, and the technology has improved, Dominguez said. LifeSize's solution costs about $5,000 per customer site; other solutions can cost up to $20,000 per site, he said.

Ocean Computer Group is pretty judicious when it comes to adding a vendor, Dominguez said, so it looked closely at LifeSize before picking up the company.

"We add vendors when they provide an excellent value, solve business issues and show a willingness to actively partner with us," he said. "It's a great fit for small business. One of the parts that really sells it is [customers] get HD quality and it's easy to use. It's got a remote control with a few buttons. That's really all. Once they know that, then they can take advantage of some of the other features. It's really an appliance. A box with a camera and speaker and that's it. You plug it in and you go."

If solution providers aren't looking at videoconferencing for their solution portfolio, they should, said Adam Taylor, executive vice president of worldwide sales and service at LifeSize. The vendor is growing about five times the current industry growth rate for videoconferencing, which is about 30 percent to 35 percent, Taylor said.

LifeSize helps new partners get up to speed with product training and sales training for both its value proposition and its competitive position in the market, Taylor said.

"Most companies are starting to do business on a global basis. Folks need to communicate around the world more than they ever have. But travel is prohibitive. It puts more emphasis on communications tools. We find companies ratcheting videoconferencing projects up their priority lists. It's a fast payback, and the improvement in efficiency and the reduction in their carbon footprint aspect is part of it," Taylor said.