It works. It's easy to use and it's easy to set up.
I like that it is easy to record.
To me, it's like using your iPhone. It's not a big deal. It's not a big deal to set up a meeting.
Screen sharing is important. Being able to pull up spreadsheets, system presentations, PowerPoints, whatever, is very helpful. The tool's pretty effective that way.
People like it to be light. They like it to be not so technical that it's hard to learn or hard to use. One of the reasons Zoom grew so fast is that kids could learn it, old people could learn it, workers could learn it. It takes a little more learning curve to have the license and host meetings. Set up meetings, to host, there's a little bit more there, however, even that's pretty simple.
One thing I do wish was that there was more visibility. Sometimes I have to click into a reply-all to find out who is in the meeting and whether they've accepted or not. It's not convenient to check on that while you're in a meeting.
Teams is better about that. Teams is better about posting up right in front of you so you can see who was invited, who clicked in or not, who's on the call.
Also when people are talking, you see either their image, if they've got an avatar, or at least their initials, and a little round fake avatar that's blinking when they're trying to talk, or they're raising their hand. That is the only thing I'd say that's really a frustration for me with Zoom, is I'm not always sure who got invited.
I've used the solution for a while. I use it every day.
I'm working virtually and my clients are all over the country. I don't visit them more than maybe once every six weeks each. I'm on the phone in Zoom or Teams probably 15 to 20 hours a week.
The stability is quite good. I haven't dealt with bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.
The scalability is good. Expanding it is not a problem.
As consultants, there's only usually a few of us that are engaged with a client. We don't send an army in. We're very senior consultants, and our rates are really high. We're like hiring an attorney or something. We're not a bunch of bodies coming in to do all the leg work. We're advising them on how to do a lot of things properly in terms of ERP selection and implementation.
That said, we're engaging with a lot of people though. For example, in this one client I have, they're in Baltimore, I'm often on a call with 20 people. I may be the only one on my side and there's all of them. I have to know who they are and get familiar with their voices. A lot of the time, more people aren't necessarily doing the video thing where they're displaying themselves. It's just is less common that people do that. That's because more people are working virtually and maybe they're still in their t-shirt or you haven't taken a shower that day. If people aren't displaying themselves, you use the tool more like a phone in a sense, as you have to know, "Okay. That was Jackie speaking. That was Lisa speaking. That was Alice speaking."
We get familiar with each other, we get to know each other. However, we typically deal with maybe 10 or 12 people on a call. They may be in different locations. With one client I have, they're in 23 states. Various key people are in different places. Other kinds of meetings I have oftentimes been a three or four-way, where you've got a client and you've got a vendor who's maybe doing something for them. We can have essentially three or four companies represented in a call, and we're having maybe calls two or three times a week.
I've also used Microsoft Teams.
The larger the client, the more likely it is that they're going to use Teams instead of Zoom. Oftentimes, they're setting up the meetings and they prefer to set them up. I have this one large client where we're recording every one of our sessions, as they're reusable then for walking back through and revisiting deep discussions we've had and requirements and so on.
I don't happen to like Teams, it's clunky. Teams is clunky and it's also just harder to use. Particularly if you're using it also is a repository for documents, folders, recording, and so on. It's just not as usable.
The initial setup is very simple.
I have a subscription to Zoom.
I am a customer and an end-user.
What my partner and I typically would do if we are in control of that is we use Zoom. We'll use Box for our repository of the artifacts, requirements, recordings, and so on. Box is also very, very easy to use. However, we find Teams clunky on both sides now. However, even though we prefer Zoom if a client prefers a different conference system, and they've got dozens of people inside that are married to that, well, we'll go with what they use.
We are on the latest version of Zoom. Zoom actually forces that. If you get a Zoom subscription, it pops up a patch or an update or whatever, and it's no big deal to click that and update.
What Zoom is, is it's a very convenient, easy to use, quick to set up, simple to learn tool. It works pretty effectively.
However, people aren't using it so visually anymore as they used to. A lot of times it's really just a meetup where you're all on the same call, and people won't even post their videos too much anymore. Sometimes, if we're at a first-time meeting, we'll have our visual presence there, however, then we'll hide it away behind an avatar. People just aren't in need of that facial thing too much.
The main thing for me was just knowing who's scheduled for a call. Sometimes I don't know who's going to be on the call until I get on the call. There's a list there, however, you don't know who's accepted. We need a clear list. That would be an improvement.
Keeping it light is important. Everything is getting more and more like that. Even the system designs, major ERP systems, most of them when you log in, you feel like you're in a box. It feels boxy. That's the way Teams feels. It's got a structured menu architecture and so on, and frames around everything. The way things are going - and this is how Zoom is - it feels like you're in an open space. It doesn't feel like a box of things. It's an open flow. Keeping it that way is going to be important.
If you add more features, you have to keep it easy to find, easy to hide. Don't throw them on your whole menu. Don't throw everything at me. Just what I'm using is all I need. I'll give you another example of that. There's a system called CRM, Customer Relationship Management, such as Salesforce. Salesforce made a major strategic mistake. They built the thing that is a very complex functional solution. It's expensive due to the fact that it's so overbuilt. I don't know where Salesforce is at, however, I've got a lot of clients that I've run into that say, "Yeah, we put in Salesforce a few years ago and we're going to replace that now as too costly and we don't use it all."
They didn't do a very effective job of layering functionality so that you only see what you use, and make it simple, make it easy. Also, they didn't scale the pricing to what they're going to use. Salesforce is probably still pretty ubiquitous, however, it's probably going to get beat out by a bunch of these smaller, lighter, more open solutions. The challenge for Zoom would be to stay Zoom, and don't fix what isn't broken. It is a great tool. I really have very little, almost nothing but praise for Zoom. The only thing I'd say is that competitively, they're going to have to think about, well, what else does it have to be able to do?
In my opinion, it's going to be making the visual collaboration, not from people to people, and instead, the people to content, whether it's websites, systems, logins, spreadsheets, whatever, making that so easy to do that it's almost natural. We can more quickly say, "Oh, okay, let me pull that up."
Layer number one is, it ought to be as natural as sliding your fingers across the screen in some magical way to be able to show what you want to show. The next layer is going to have to have more social collaboration from inside and outside of the system.
I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten so far. In comparison, I might rate Microsoft Teams at a six or so.