Leveraging New Tools
by Chris Rochford, Technology Business Analyst
Our team has been using Zoom for video conferencing for years – long before COVID-19. It’s an excellent tool, and many new Zoom users have only scratched the surface of its features. That said, it’s not the right solution for every occasion.
Zoom and other video conferencing apps are just a few of the ways that remote teams can communicate and collaborate. Today, I thought I’d share a few we’re using right now.
If you’ve ever gathered a group in a conference room for brainstorming with a whiteboard and some sticky notes, you should feel right at home in Miro. It’s a digital whiteboard that allows people to collaborate any time, anywhere.
They have several pre-built templates, from business model canvases to mind maps and more. Or you can start with a blank page and use features like digital markers and shapes to create your own collaboration space. You can even embed documents, spreadsheets, PDFs and images on your board.
Our team has used Miro to collaborate internally on project diagrams, process flows and even icebreaker conversations. It’s also an excellent tool for strategic planning or other consulting engagements with clients. As your firm builds out its portfolio of tools for remote consulting engagements, consider Miro. The free version allows up to three boards with unlimited collaborators if you want to give it a try.
Many of the firms we work with have implemented Microsoft Teams in the past year. It’s an all-in-one platform for chat, video conferencing, calls, and sharing documents.
One of the best things about Teams is that it allows for threaded discussions on specific projects, topics or departments – however you want to scale it. You can set up multiple teams, and each team can have multiple channels. This allows for communication between the whole team, but also breakout discussions for different topics or projects within that team.
At Boomer Consulting, we created a team for each of our communities: the Business Transformation Circle, Talent Circle, Managing Partner Circle, etc. Within those teams, there can be channels for different topics, like attracting and retaining talent, selecting a document management system, remote work policies, and more. New channels can be developed as needs arise – for dealing with COVID-19 issues or something more evergreen.
While most firms use Teams for internal communications, there’s also an outward-facing model. You can invite your clients as guests within a team. If your clients are already familiar with this tool, it’s a good way to provide a more ever-present way to communicate and send updates.
One long-term outcome of the pandemic is that firms are thinking differently about how they meet with coworkers, peers, clients and solution providers going forward. For our Boomer Technology Circles Summit this year, we could have used Zoom, but we decided to explore some new virtual reality tools that would allow up to keep one-on-one as well as facilitated group discussions.
After considering a few alternatives, we selected VirBELA, a virtual 3D environment with presentation tools and avatar interactions that allowed our attendees to meet as a group and break into small groups or one-on-one meetings as easily as they could in a physical space. The event was a great success, and we’ve ended up using VirBELA since then. When Zoom was having technical problems at the same time as our all-team meeting, we were able to move the meeting to VirBELA rather than reverting back to a conference call.
The three tools I’ve mentioned above certainly aren’t the only solutions for virtual communication and collaboration. There are lots of alternatives, and this field will undoubtedly grow in the near future. However, I hope that seeing how our team has found success with new tools will encourage you to experiment with some new solutions. Don’t silo yourself in one video conferencing app just because it’s familiar. There’s a world of tools out there to try. See what else might work for you and start leveraging them
Want to learn more about the Boomer Technology Circles?
Boomer Technology Circles can help break down the walls between firm and IT leaders and bring clarity and strategy to your firm’s technology. Complete an interest form today and one of our Solutions Advisors will reach out to schedule a short call to discuss your needs.
As a Technology and Business Analyst for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris Rochford leverages a diverse background in web development and technology consulting. His role involves managing Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s internal technology, as well as researching how new and emerging technologies can be leveraged internally and for our external clients.
Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris spent 15 years in tech, doing web development for state and local government agencies and commercial clients.