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Formal Report - student email - Kennesaw State University

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Formal Report - student email - Kennesaw State University Powered By Docstoc
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Virtual Teaming and Online Meeting Management




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Virtual Teaming and Online Meeting Management




                Prepared for
              Professor Crisp
          Kennesaw State University




                 Prepared by
                   Team II




                July 26, 2009



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                                  LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION


BISM 2100 Online Students
Kennesaw State University
Coles College of Business

Dear Students,

         The purpose of this assignment is to expose students to emerging technologies and to
create an opportunity for students to utilize their professional written business communication
skills. This formal report will be coordinated with a team web page to provide a bundled
resource on this semester’s project.

       You are being asked to critically evaluate tools (sites and/or programs) that make virtual
teaming and interaction easier. Management has expressed an interest in the following
products/services: (1) Dimdim Online Collaboration, (2) GoTo Meeting, and (3) Huddle. You
expected to test each product.

This is an FORMAL REPORT and requires prefatory and supplementary parts (See Chapter 13
in 8th Ed). It will conclude with a detailed recommendation for management on adoption and
implementation.

At a minimum, your report should include information related to the following Level One
Headings:
    1. Introduction to Virtual Teaming and Online Meeting Management. This is a research
       intensive section and requires expert opinion and current examples. Include general
       information related to virtual teaming on the following topics (Level 2 headings). These
       are research related, not product related:
            Popularity and use
            Privacy and security
            Cost
            Technology
            Training
    2. Product Evaluation. A separate (Level 2) section for each product with detailed
       information on areas you feel are important to management. Include at minimum
       information on virtual teaming, information and document sharing, project management,
       and meetings.
    3. Product Comparison. A product by product comparison with charts and figures to
       facilitate decision making. This section looks at all products simultaneously.
    4. Recommendation and Implementation. Based on expert opinion, research, and team
       use/experience. Which products does the team recommend? For what type of user?
       Include a specific and workable plan for implementation of your selected product(s).
       Provide information on ease of use, training, and technology requirements.

        Use both commercial and academic resources (Minimum of 15 references – 20 needed
for full credit – at least 10 academic). Refer to the chapter on Planning Reports and Proposals


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for details on credible research. Where appropriate, you should incorporate charts, graphs, or
other visual aids to illustrate the facts you present both in your report. Please ensure that you cite
your resources appropriately, use quotations and page number references for quotes and internal
citations (Author, Date) for paraphrased content. Note – changing 2-3 words does not =
paraphrasing.

Written Report:
The report will be submitted to: (1) turnitin.com for review of originality, (2) vista dropbox for
grading, AND (3) to a team designed web page.

Employ all facets of effective business writing and refer back to your text (Planning, Writing and
Completing Formal Business Reports) for the Formal Report Structure. Appendix B has some
helpful suggestions for APA citations and reference list. Please also rely on
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/#resourcenav.

Criteria – 125 Total Points (70 Team Points/55 Individual Based on Written Section):
A comprehensive formal report employing the 7 C’s of business writing – these are quality
points in combine grammar, spelling, readability, structure, and adherence to required format.
(30 PTS – 15 TEAM FOR FORMAT, 15 PTS INDIVIDUAL BASED ON QUALITY OF
WRITTEN SECTION)

Thorough research of sources – on average every paragraph has a source listed. References
works are paraphrased, balanced between academic and commercial resources, and relevant.
(INDIVIDUAL SCORE - 10 PTS)

Attributions and Citations done properly in APA style. The Reference list is complete. Internal
Citations are done properly. Each individual submitted their written section to turnitin.com
(including prefatory parts). Failure to submit is an automatic zero on the paper. (TEAM POINTS
- 10 PTS)

Detailed analysis covering requirements stated above – these are content points. (INDIVIDUAL
WRITTEN SECTION - 30 PTS)

Well developed recommendations – this is the crux of the analytical report. It should be detailed
enough to know exactly what response you want from your reader and how you want the reader
to follow through on that objective. (TEAM POINTS - 20 PTS)

Website is professional, clear, readable, and credible. Links to report, team members, and
research sources are working and evident. Design matters. (TEAM POINTS - 25 PTS)



                                                  Dr. Elke M Leeds & Professor John D. Crisp




                                   5
           1000 CHASTAIN ROAD • KENNESAW, GEORGIA • 30144
                 PHONE: 770-423-6584 • FAX: 770-423-6601
July 11, 2009
Dr. Elke Leeds and Professor John Crisp
Instructors for BISM 2100
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Dear Dr. Leeds and Professor Crisp,

I am writing this Letter of Acceptance to graciously accept your authorization to perform
research for the upcoming Team Progress Project. In response to your authorization, Austin
Phillips, Carleton Gibbs, Harrison Hardwick, Stephanie Lynn, and myself, have formed “Team
Two” in order to fulfill this project. I’d like to utilize this letter to explain the procedures we
have taken to prepare an approach, perspective, and research topic for this report and an
accompanied presentation. This Letter of Acceptance will also introduce you to our elected team
members and the roles that have been selected for them.

To begin our project and work as a team, our group members decided to construct steps to
complete the project report and presentation. Without a structured plan set at the beginning of
the project, we all would have been lost. We decided that one step to completing our project
would be good team communication. This step was key to developing our plans and allowed us
to quickly finish each task that the professors presented to us. Another step that our group took
toward success was the decision of each team member to work together and take the time and
effort to establish every part of our project. We knew that if a team member wasn't on the same
level of commitment as the rest, it would bring the whole process of completion down. So, we
decided that if team members were going out of town or couldn’t make a team meeting, we
would make it their responsibility to address the team on the situation before departing. This
vital step helped our team to not have to be waiting on someone which would have led to time
lost for the project.

Each week, we divided the work out fairly among all the students within the group. Developing
the Team Operating Agreement helped out greatly in order to establish a set schedule. Having
this established schedule made it easier for each student to put aside enough time each week and
allowed them to do their part to the fullest. Our group set up a schedule where we developed our
project and website in portions each week. This process allows us to make sure that we have
completed each part correctly. Having steps to completion help keep the group together rather
than being a scatter plot. Based on what we have completed with the time that we had to do so,
our group is ready for anything due to the desire to earn a good grade.

Along with defining success for completion, one of the first decisions our group made was
ensuring that not one member would be responsible for an entire section of the formal report. In
turn, we decided everyone would share the responsibility. Each team member has been assigned
a task and has agreed to assemble the necessary material needed to complete each given task, by
the designated due date. It’s the responsibility of the Weekly Project Manager to organize and
submit the material to the project sponsor.




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Some additional responsibilities of the Project Manager include, hosting the weekly chat sessions
to collect information and assess the progression of the project. They will also manage the
week’s schedule to ensure work is finalized by the scheduled due date, and provide the project
sponsor with the entire groups’ weekly progress reports. In conclusion, the Weekly Project
Manager will finalize and submit the formal report. Please see below all of team two’s members
listed, along with the remainder of their responsibilities:

     Stephanie Lynn, Project Manager (W4)

              Stephanie is responsible for organizing the Team Operating Agreement. She
              authored the Non-Performance and Peer Review section as well as the List of
              Deliverables and Deadlines section. Along with team members she co-authored
              the Team Communication, and Preparation and Quality sections. Stephanie will
              co-author conduct a product evaluation for Dimdim; a web based conferencing
              software that allow users to synchronized live presentations, whiteboards and
              share their voice and video over the Internet. Some additional responsibilities
              include: preparing the cover and title pages as well as the title fly. Stephanie will
              also contribute to the subject research by proving information on the privacy and
              security aspect of the virtual products.

     Barbara Reed, Project Manager (W5)

              Barbara is responsible for organizing the Letter of Acceptance. She will gather
              information from each member, compile it into one organized document and
              submit to the faculty. She will also post the document to the discussion board.
              Barbara was responsible for writing the Decision Making section on the Team
              Operating Agreement, and she will assist in the research; focusing on the
              popularity and use of the Virtual Teaming & Online products. She will provide
              the team’s evaluation for the GoTo Meeting, an online virtual meeting tool. She
              will also provide a List of Illustrations and Executive Summary.

     Harrison Hardwick, Project Manager (W6)

              Harrison authored the Personal Courtesies section of the Team Operating
              Agreement. He also co-authored the Preparation and Quality section. Harrison
              will contribute to the Letter of Acceptance by introducing the research topic. He
              will also describe the approach and perspective our team will take when
              presenting the data. Harrison will contribute to the research by focusing on
              Technology side of the products. He will also conduct a product evaluation on
              Huddle; an online workspaces containing project, collaboration tools.

     Austin Phillips, Project Manager (W7)

              Austin’s responsibilities include contributing to the Letter of Acceptance by
              identifying the process in which the team undertook to complete research. He will
              also assist in the subject research by focusing on training. He will co-author a
              product evaluation for Dimdim. Finally, Austin will be responsible for organizing
              the formal report mock up.


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     Carleton Gibbs

                Carleton drafted the Team Objective/Mission Statement and the Operating
                Agreement for the Team Operating Agreement. Along with Stephanie Lynn he
                co-authored The Team Communication. Carleton will contribute to the Letter of
                Acceptance by introducing his teammates and detailing everyone’s roles and
                responsibilities. He will also contribute to the subject research by providing cost
                analysis for the products. Carleton is also responsible for the group’s webpage.

For our research project, we have been given several virtual teaming websites to evaluate. As a
group, we plan to take on the perspective of several business employees trying to conduct an
online meeting. Our approach will be evaluating these sites for cost, technology, popularity, and
training. We have designated different group members to evaluate the various sites. Once they
are done, the entire group will review the work in one of the following meetings. Our objective is
to cover and understand all facets of the websites and to fully understand virtual teaming.

I thank you for the time you took to read this Letter of Acceptance. We greatly appreciate your
Authorization, and we look forward to providing you with an informative and thorough report.

Best Regards,


Barbara Reed
Barbara Reed
Project Manager - Team Two




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July 11, 2009
Dr. Elke Leeds and Professor John Crisp
Instructors for BISM 2100
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Dear Dr. Leeds and Professor Crisp,
I am writing this Letter of Transmittal to transfer back ownership of this report to those whom
authorized it. We, as a team, would like to thank Professor Leeds and Professor Crisp for the
opportunity of this experience in writing, specifically in the areas of business. This assignment
brought along many new challenges for our team, however, all in all, this project proved to be a
very valuable experience. Below is a breakdown of what each team member’s contribution to
this report in the order of weekly deadlines:

        Stephanie Lynn, Project Manager (W4)

                Stephanie was responsible for organizing the Team Operating Agreement. She
                authored the Non-Performance and Peer Review section, the List of Deliverables
                and Deadlines section, as well as co-authoring the Team Communication and
                Preparation and Quality sections. Stephanie co-authored and conducted a product
                evaluation for Dimdim with the team. Stephanie prepared the Cover, Title Fly
                and Title Page, and also authored the portion of the Introduction on Privacy and
                Security. Stephanie also contributed to organizing the Mock Up and Formal
                Report and Reference List, as well as providing the introductory paragraphs for
                the Introduction, Product Evaluation, and Product Comparison sections. She was
                responsible for organizing and authoring the Letter Transmittal for the conclusion
                of her duties.

        Barbara Reed, Project Manager (W5)

                Barbara was responsible for organizing and writing the Letter of Acceptance.
                Barbara was responsible for writing the Decision Making section on the Team
                Operating Agreement, writing the Popularity and Use section of the introduction.
                Barbara co-authored and conducted a product evaluation for Go To Meeting with
                the team. She will also co-author and organize the Recommendation and
                Implementation section with the team, as well as assisting in organization and
                proofing of the Body of the report.

        Harrison Hardwick, Project Manager (W6)

                Harrison authored the Personal Courtesies section of the Team Operating
                Agreement, as well as co co-authoring the Preparation and Quality section.
                Harrison contributed to the Letter of Acceptance by introducing the research
                topic; the approach that was taken and the perspective on presenting the data.
                Harrison authored the section on Technology in the Introduction, as well as co-



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                authored and conducted a product evaluation section for Huddle. Harrison also
                will assist in organizing and proofing the Body of the report.

        Austin Phillips, Project Manager (W7)

                Austin authored the section of the Letter of Acceptance that identified the process
                in which the team undertook to complete research. He also authored the Training
                section in the Introduction, the List of Illustrations, and Executive Summary.

        Carleton Gibbs

                Carleton authored the Team Objective/Mission Statement, the Operating
                Agreement, as well as co-authoring the Team Communication section for the
                Team operating agreement. Carleton contributed to the Letter of Acceptance by
                introducing all his teammates’ responsibilities and roles. He will also contributed
                by authoring the Cost section of the Introduction, by providing the Product
                Comparison graph, and by dedicating a 100% to the creation of the team
                webpage.

The team website can be found at http://students.kennesaw.edu/~cgibbs5/, and will include the team’s Formal
Report, Team Operating Agreement, Letter of Acceptance, and a brief bio of all the teammates. One again we
thank you for the time you took to read this Letter of Transmittal, and we greatly appreciated
your Authorization on the report. We hope that you will enjoy the information and research that
we have provided.

Best Regards,

Stephanie Lynn
Stephanie Lynn
Project Manager - Team Two – Week 1




                                                    10
                         Table of Contents

Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………12

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………13-16

Product Evaluation…………………………………………………………………….17-19

Product Comparison…………………………………………………………………...19

Recommendation and Implementation………………………………………………...20

References……………………………………………………………………………..21-22




                         List of Illustrations

TABLES

         1. Product Comparison……………………………………………………..19




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                                     Executive Summary

This report analyzes Virtual Teaming and Online Meeting Management between three different
products: DimDim, GoToMeeting, and Huddle. Virtual Meeting Management for businesses has
become a growing fashion for many around the world. During times like now, it is hard to make
round trips to different countries all over the world. Businesses have downgraded due to the
slow economy. This is why virtual meetings have become such an important topic to many. It is
the cheapest way to communicate with others without spending money on plane tickets, gas, or
even the train. The only expense that comes with virtual meetings would be the host of the web
site that runs the specific meeting for a company. Businesses can be at a specific location,
anywhere around the world, at any time. Virtual online webpages have made it possible to be at a
meeting that is half way across the world without leaving your desk, helps companies get their
name out by advertising, and it saves money for companies.

Companies are finding new and improved ways to do the most work they can possibly do
without spending a lot of their own money. With the economy like it is now, it’s harder to
actually make that possible. Small businesses have looked at DimDim, Huddle, and
GoToMeetings for ways of communication between other firms or businesses in the world
without leaving their location. These products are becoming the new form of communication
between organizations. It’s hard for companies that have to travel a lot to be at specific
locations at specific times. Virtual online meetings have canceled out the travel expenses that
companies spend every year. This saves companies hundreds if not thousands a year.
Technology has made it possible to be able to communicate with anyone via the World Wide
Web just by a click of a button. “Business owners can take advantage of this and other business
resources from the SBA to help them more effectively manage their firms,” quoted during a
news press on small businesses.




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             Introduction to Virtual Teaming and Online Meeting Management

There are five major areas that businesses must look into prior to discussing the use of virtual
teaming or online meeting management: Popularity and Use, Privacy and Security, Cost,
Technology, and Training. Theses five areas can make a company’s online success and
productivity levels increase, or they can cause major issues and lead to company’s failure.
Below is a general overview of these highly discussed topics as they relate to virtual team
teaming and online meeting management.

Popularity and Use

In today’s economy, it is imperative for companies to find the most cost effective ways of doing
business. A particular adage has even been developed over the past couple of years that has
recently been adopted as a business tactic in this economy. This new business tactic basically
states: “Do as much as you can with as little as you can.” Although I can’t derive the source of
this wisdom, you can see it being practice across the country and across many industries.
Doing more for less often means finding ways to cut costs and still operate effectively. One
example of this could be cutting down meeting costs. It is no longer effective for entire teams to
pay for everyone’s flight to one location, everyone’s meal costs, and everyone’s meeting
supplies’ costs. In fact, many executives have cancelled business meeting due to fear of wasting
valuable money on an unproductive meeting (Boone, 2009, para. 3) A cost effective solution to
this problem is virtual meetings. Elizabeth Agnvall (2009) explains that “human resource
managers are increasingly integrating videoconferencing and online collaboration into
meetings…” (Cost-Conscious Solutions section, para. 1).

Upon first switching to virtual meetings, teams had to resort to communicating using VoIP tools
like Skype or WebEx. However, while they allowed members to talk to and see one another
from multiple locations, these tools proved to be inadequate and ineffective for the team
(Donaldson, 2008, para. 2). Consequently, many users are now turning to a newer, more
advanced generation of Virtual Meetings. These virtual meetings not only offer users the
capability to communicate through voice and video, but also enable file sharing, virtual
whiteboard spaces, and the ability to work with each other within applications. (Donaldson,
2008, para. 3) Some virtual meeting sites are targeted toward helping groups stay on track to
meet goals and deadlines (Underwood, 2008, Huddle section, para. 2).

Because technology is constantly changing, these virtual meeting sites are continuous improving,
adding more functions and capabilities. However, even among the multiple virtual meeting sites
that are currently available today, it’s rare to find one site that stands apart from its competitors
strictly due to the features it offers. The main appeals to customers are cost and usability. While
many sites require a monthly membership fee, some offer their services for free, only requiring
support costs (Fitzgerald, 2007, Dimdim section, para. 2). In terms of usability, these sites are
typically recognized for their “smooth operation and excellent ease of use” (Erlanger, 2005, Go
To Meeting, Go To Meeting Corporate section, para. 1). Because of its user friendliness,
companies can easily justify cutting out meeting costs and getting their teams together virtually.




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With today’s economy being one that is struggling, it is important for businesses to make their
dollars stretch further. The value of virtual meetings has been recognized by the companies
utilizing their services. It has revealed its financial benefits to its subscribers. While saving
costs, businesses don’t have to sacrifice the quality of work it can receive from their employees.
They are still providing them with tools that will enhance their job performances.



Privacy and security

Privacy and security is a much discussed subject these days among virtual teamers. Today the
most highly utilized way to communicate is online; we hold virtual meetings, we have online
chat sessions, etc. Companies that are surviving in these times of economic crisis are deciding to
become virtual to manage company and individual needs. However, with every technological
advancement that is made, there also comes a set back. According to the FTC (Federal Trade
Commission) there have been positives and negative in the advancement of computer technology
(Federal Trade Commission, 2009). The FTC, as well as many other organizations, are now
teaching consumers and companies how to secure your own privacy and how to safeguard
against fraud. The FTC’s website provides you with current acts/reports, it provides video on
different subjects like theft and fraud, and even provides the public with an area to file a
complaint. According to Dictionary.com’s definitions of security and privacy, security means
“precautions taken to guard against crime, attack, sabotage, espionage, etc.”, and privacy is
defined as “the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs”
(Dictionary.com, 2009). In order for us to retain either of these attributes, we must be aware and
educate ourselves to be safe before delving into the internet super highway.

In an article written by Fernandez, Kemeny, and Bastani (2003), even though recent hi-tech
advancements have been made to update software, there has been both a positive and negative
effect. They explained that new software can “both protect and jeopardize the security and
privacy of individuals” (Fernandez et al, 2003). They also went on to explain that because of
these updates in online security technology that the government, as well as other agencies, has
the access to view or even listen in on personal/private information (Fernandez et al, 2003). This
proving that even safeguarding and privacy technology can lead to other fraudulent means of
violating a person’s online privacy. Companies that hold virtual team chat sessions or online
meetings are therefore just as susceptible to having private company information leaked. When
holding a virtual teaming session online, some communities give you the access to view the
presenter’s screen; if the presenter had information up that could be particularly threatening to
the company, and if an outside source was able to view it, the company’s privacy has not only
been breached and the company’s livelihood could be put at risk.

Microsoft, as well as eHow, provides strategies for protecting your privacy against online
fraudulence. Microsoft, in particular, provides definitions of different online communities and
things to be aware of when operating within them (Microsoft, 2009). Not all communities are
the same, so in each online community that a person joins certain personal information is asked
for and stored. EHow specifically gives you four steps on how to join online communities, but
to do it while still keeping your anonymity and your privacy intact. Since online chat



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communities are so highly utilized now within business or private chat, the more we educate
ourselves to keep our privacy ours, the less of a chance we will have at our securities being
breached.

Cost

According to an article published in Business Week (December 2008), the more time you spend
commuting to work, the more money you are likely to make. However, is it worth it? In this
struggling economy households are doing what they can to save money; and businesses are looking
to boost their bottom line. One strategy that’s being taking is telecommuting. When we think of
conferencing software we often picture business meetings with individuals in two different parts
of the country, thousands of miles apart. It’s not often thought of as a tool to telecommute
locally; to work from home. Today employees are more willing to telecommute as a way to save
gas, wear and tear on vehicles and drive time. As a result, employers can consolidate office space
and relocate to a smaller, less expensive building. In any case it’s a win-win situation for both
parties.

With an operating cost of ~$1 – $4 a day for the most popular brands, many businesses are
turning to web based conferencing software as a viable solution to saving money and increasing
work efficiency. While services such as WebEx and Dim Dim offer a no commitment annual
plans; E/pop and Mediasite Live has a onetime purchase price ranging from $3,000 - $25, 000
(PC Magazine). Not all benefits of telecommuting are tangible and can measure in dollar and
cents. Studies have shown that in the office, communication and collaboration has suffered when
employees use e-mail and instant messaging to stay in touch. Telecommuting has been credited
for an increase in employee productivity in some companies. Often employees work longer hours
when working from home; and they are less likely to take a sick day or time off for personal
reasons.

Virtual communication is becoming a more realistic way of collaborating with people today.
Whether you are updating your spouse, who’s serving in the military overseas, on current family
events, or conducting a sales meeting with a client on the other side of town, web based
conferencing software like Dim Dim, GoTo Meeting and Huddle are the future in business
communication.

Technology

Virtual teaming is becoming the face of the business technology world. Before we know it
people will be able to conduct million dollar meetings on their phone.
To conduct a virtual meeting you have to have the following: a connection to a wide-area
network or WAN (Armata,2006), a microphone, and a web-cam. The next step would be to
acquire software like Huddle and make sure all parties have the designated software. In order to
conduct a successful video conference the proper amount of bandwidth is needed. The proper
amount of bandwidth is decided on the amount of people in the meeting. If you plan on adding
more people keep in mind that the more people there are the more bandwidth will be needed.
From there, you are free to conduct your online meetings. Technology has made virtual teaming




                                                15
very painless. The online meeting software makes it possible for team members to have a phone
conference, a videoconference, or a little of both.

What is the best economical way to construct an online meeting? Technology has given us many
options to construct online meetings via the computer or by wireless technology. There is one
problem with wireless technology. “The bandwidth of wireless
links will probably always be limited due to properties of the physical medium and regulatory
limits on the use of frequencies for radio communication” (VideoConferencing.net, 2009). Also
a converged network is the best way to go. The key to a successful meeting rests with bandwidth.
As technology progresses so will the ability to conduct an online meeting but until then countries
that do not have these capabilities will continue to be beyond in the business world.

What sets virtual teaming programs apart from other online video chats? Virtual teaming
software contains File Transfer Protocol sites, which allow team members to post websites or
documents in real time and go over them. This is a huge help because it is a very vital key to
conducting an online meeting (Armata, 2006). Without FTP’s there would be no reason to
conduct online meetings. Virtual teaming is becoming very popular in the business world today
and will continue to gain popularity. Computers are making it easier for people to switch to
virtual teaming simply because of the power and capabilities that your everyday computer has.
PCs today have more memory, disk space, Bus capacity, and processor speed than the biggest
mainframe that existed in 1960 (Vician, 2004). Virtual teaming is the meeting place of the future.


Training

The training of a product is very important when selling a product. If the ability to maneuver
within a website is very difficult, many users will not attract to what they have to offer. It is very
important to the product to be able to relate to all groups of people. Meaning of that is that the
product must be able to sell their product to all kinds of people regardless of how much they
already know about computers. If a company can only sell their product to people that have
advanced knowledge to computers rather than a basic knowledge, you are singling out a great
portion of people that will buy the product. A product must be able to relate to everyone in
order to stand above everyone. A company wants their product training to be easily understood
and can teach anyone how to use their product.

Marketing is important when coming up with a product to sell. Products like DimDim and
GoToMeeting have a great source of training when a new users is first interacting with their
product. DimDim has a support tab on their homepage for all users that have any questions
during their use of the product. Within that support tab, DimDim has forums, knowledgebase,
issue trackers, and video demos. These are great tools to get help from the community of the
product, any questions that have been asked, and it has issues and upcoming features for the
newer update of DimDim (DimDim Support). For all the users that needs hands on training but
are unable to receive any help due to the fact of being online, an online video course has been set
up through the webpage for any hands on training for people that need to watch others do the
work. It’s a great tool when first learning about any product.




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Virtual online management training is a difficult task to achieve because it’s not face-to-face,
hands-on training. Online training is basically the surface of the product which the company is
trying to illustrate to customers how it works. Online meeting webpages have provided a source
for people who need to talk to an assistant about the product. A hotline or support number has
been provided by a few selected webpages who offer the top of the line services. A support line
makes it possible to get instant feedback on a topic that a user needs help on (Go To Meeting
Support Home Page). It is easier to call a support line to get information rather than writing an
email trying to explain the issues that you have come across. Even though training hasn’t
reached the point to be as successful online as it is in person.



                                       Product Evaluation

The three websites that we have evaluated in relation to virtual teaming and online meeting
management are: Dim Dim, Go To Meeting, and Huddle. These evaluations were made as a
team effort to review these sites and give honest feedback on our likes, dislikes, and overall
general findings on each of these sites. These evaluations are not organized any specific order or
preference.

Dim Dim

Dim Dim’s slogan is “The World’s Easiest Web Conference”, and they truly lived up to that. It
offers Webinars, online meeting capability, and also the ability to keep your own Dim Dim
Workspace. It is free, unless you choose to upgrade for more service capability, and it was
simple. There was no software to download, and all you need to sign up is a working email
address. We enjoyed the fact that you didn’t necessarily need to sign up to join a meeting, and
that it wasn’t complicated to join. After joining a meeting or signing up online there is a variety
of different features to be utilized. The host, however, is the one who not only provides the
name of the room that the attendees will be entering when joining, but also the one that has
screen sharing and host sharing abilities. Once in the meeting there are a number of features that
allows for an effective meeting. The attendees have the option to communicate through audio
and video connections; and there’s also a chat section for those who wish to type. Other useful
features that are included is a whiteboard, and an area to share document. We all agreed that the
screen sharing was extremely useful and allows everyone to see what the host is discussing.
This site is extremely user friendly, however, in some occasions their might be lag time when
speaking through a microphone. Besides, the lag time the service is exceptional for being free,
and offers 24/7 online support.


Go To Meeting

Another virtual communication location the group accessed was GoTo Meeting. We found this
site to be extremely user friendly. It was as easy as 1-2-3 to join a meeting. The convenience of
adding participants to a meeting was a huge advantage, because there were no costs to those
joining the meeting. This access is easily achieved by the simple use of an email address, either



                                                17
locally or globally. The drawback of this product is for the individual hosting the meeting. As
the host, you are required to give credit card information, even if all you are doing is gaining
access for a free 30 day trial. This was an aggravation to the group, because we are now
responsible for cancelling our trial membership before our time has expired or will be charged
for the upcoming month.

Once the group gained access, it was easy to maneuver our way through the meeting. It didn’t
matter if group members were utilizing the website through PC or Mac; we communicated as
one unit. We had the capability of viewing documents that presenter activated during the
presentation. The direction of the workflow was very easy to follow; it was as if we were all
present in the same room. When a group member needed to guide the conference, the presenter
relinquished authority to that member; then they lead the meeting. Members of the group had
the ability to communicate throughout the meeting by means of the chat room and typing their
comments. Another option was to communicate vocally. Group members were able to utilize
this function by the use of a microphone or by dialing in. We had ease of use accessing the
virtual whiteboard. This tool was great for administering brainstorming sessions. To receive
the full benefit and understanding of this company’s services, you can obtain online training.
There is online global support available for customers 24 /7.


Huddle

Huddle’s slogan is to “Work Better Together”. However we found that on this site that is not the
case. The sign up process was basically the same as the others. The only information needed was
an email address. After logging the user is brought to the workspace. Here the account holder is
given an overview of current and upcoming project. The user can schedule and assign task,
upload and download files, and plan meetings. This site gives you organizational capabilities that
mimic a dashboard. It gives you a calendar, an area to post files that you’re working on, an area
for notifications, and an area to view meetings and organize tasks. You also have access to view
other’s workspaces when other contacts approve you to their workspace; for a higher level of
team management. Huddle offers you free minimal service unless you should choose to upgrade,
and then you would be charged a reasonable monthly fee. You can only send files or download
files, schedule meetings, and to help assign different task among one another with the free trial.
Huddle does mention having online support, but doesn’t mention to what degree of online
support; when or how quickly they offer support. They offer forums or general FAQs, but do not
offer one on one customer support.

In order to use Huddle to its fullest ability, you would have to have someone that knows the
product already to demonstrate the product. For people working with the product their first time,
they might find it very stressful to operate the product. Unlike the competitors program team
members can’t interact with each other real-time. When testing this site, Team Two spent over
an hour trying to connect and share information. There is no live chat, video or phone
conferencing capability. We found impossible to communicate with each other. Huddle is more
useful as a server, a central location where team members can store and retrieve information
pertaining to their project. Of the three programs the team had to evaluate, Huddle was by far the




                                                18
most difficult work with; it’s not user friendly. Huddle is by a site where we could not work
better together, we could not even work. We hope to stay away from this site in the future.




                                     Product Comparison

With very little experience working with virtual collaboration website, Team Two enter the
evaluation process of Dim Dim, GoTo Meeting and Huddle with no expectations. The purpose of
the evaluation was to test how well individuals in separate location could meet, communicate
and share information related to a single project. Within each website there were feature and
options that solicited both positive and negative feedback from each group members. However in
the end we found that both Dim Dim and GoTo Meeting were very economical allowed for easy
communication and was user friendly. The following chart details our findings. When looking at
the chart keep in mind that the green check mark means that the site offers that featured a red x
means it does not.




                                                19
                            Recommendation and Implementation

       Recommendation

Group Two met with the purpose of selecting the appropriate virtual conferencing service for our
team. To determine the best tool, we began a research process where we used several sources to
evaluate the popularity and use of virtual meeting technology as well as three specific
conferencing tools. These tools included: Huddle, GoTo Meeting and DimDim Online
Collaboration. Group members went into services to see firsthand the procedures required in
operate each tool. Once we tried all of the various services, we felt we were ready to make our
decision. Our group voted that DimDim was the best virtual conferencing tool evaluated. We
selected DimDim, because this product was extremely user friendly. Unlike the Huddle product,
we were able to utilize the DimDim product without any previous knowledge of using the
product. Another feature that sold us on the DimDim conferencing tool was the different
capabilities it offered for communication. We had the options to use a microphone on our
computers or to dial in on a telephone. This option for communication would allow any type of
group and its members to be involved in the discussion and view material already completed.
There were several other features that we liked among these two advantages, and that is why we
selected the DimDim product. We feel that this product would be easy to utilize for any type of
user in a group setting including school groups, business groups, etc.

Implementation

Whether we were going to continue using this product in a class or business setting, we would
use the following plan for implementing the use of the DimDim tool. First, we would select a
Project Manager who would notify each group member that DimDim would be our official tool
that would be utilized to conduct any future conference or meeting. The second step would
include each member taking responsibility to go to the product’s website and register to use this
tool. This tool could be utilized from either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Once each
group member had registered, the Project Manager would provide each group member with a
“meeting room” name. Once the group member had the meeting room name, they could enter it
in, along with their name, to join the meeting. The time it would take to implement this plan
would be relatively short, because there are not many steps in beginning to use this product.
However, once we had implemented the use of this tool, we would hold training and evaluation
sessions to ensure that everyone was using this tool effectively. These sessions would occur
several times over several weeks.




                                                20
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