Kicking the NetMeeting Habit

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					W  Kicking the
     NetMeeting Habit
Kicking the NetMeeting Habit
A Two-Step Program to Unleash the Full Potential of Web Conferencing



                  A Two Step Program to
                   Unleash the Full Potential
                 Andy of Web Conferencing
                      Nilssen & Alan Greenberg

                      Wainhouse Research



                         December 2005
Kicking the NetMeeting Habit
A Two-Step Program to Unleash the Full Potential of Web Conferencing




                  Andy Nilssen & Alan D. Greenberg

                         Wainhouse Research



                              January 2006
                                                                   Contents
Executive Summary .................................................................................................................................... 1

The Role of NetMeeting.............................................................................................................................. 2

Limitations & Their Impact on Productivity ........................................................................................... 3

For Internal Use Only ................................................................................................................................... 3

Limited Participation .................................................................................................................................... 4

Lack of integration........................................................................................................................................ 4

Other Limitations .......................................................................................................................................... 5

Two Simple Steps to Kicking the NetMeeting Habit ............................................................................... 6

Admitting There is a Problem....................................................................................................................... 6

Recognize the Symptoms of the Problem ..................................................................................................... 6

Creating a Recovery Plan.............................................................................................................................. 7

Unleashing the Potential: Life After NetMeeting..................................................................................... 9

Global Electronics Manufacturer: The Gradual Withdrawal Method......................................................... 10

Enterprise Print Management Solutions (EPMS): The “Cold Turkey” Approach...................................... 10

Large Equipment Manufacturer: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures................................................... 11

Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................. 13

About the Authors..................................................................................................................................... 14

About Wainhouse Research ........................................................................................................................ 14

About WebEx.............................................................................................................................................. 14




Kicking the NetMeeting Habit

Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research. All rights reserved.
Executive Summary
Introduced by Microsoft in 1996, NetMeeting grew to be and remains one of the world’s most popular
web conferencing tools. Though its usage has declined, Wainhouse Research believes that NetMeeting
still is in use by as many as 15 percent of web conferencing users. 1 This makes it the third most widely
used web conferencing resource after WebEx and Microsoft Office Live Meeting. Yet IT organizations
increasingly have restricted its use, and other platforms, most notably WebEx and Live Meeting, have
gained greater currency in the enterprise. In many respects one could describe NetMeeting as a
Generation 1 web conferencing product while platforms like WebEx and Live Meeting represent the
evolution towards Generation 2 web collaboration solutions.

NetMeeting’s major strengths – that it’s free (included as part of Windows), ubiquitous, and relatively
easy to use – fueled its early growth, especially among rogue, habitual users. Commercial users,
however, increasingly understand that its limitations have a concomitant impact on user productivity. It:

     •   Cannot easily traverse firewalls - effectively limiting its use to internal meetings.
     •   Faces severe performance degradation when used for meetings larger than 8-10 participants.
     •   Lacks mechanisms for assessing its usage and measuring its impact on corporate networks.
     •   Does not provide conference recording or playback, necessary for compliance with new
         requirements for audit trails such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
     •   Is showing its age through the lack of APIs for integration with business workflow applications..
This white paper presents a simple two-step process to kicking the NetMeeting habit:
     1. Admitting there is a problem by recognizing the symptoms.
     2. Creating a recovery plan by finding new applications and implementing a new solution.
The resulting impact can be profound. Detailed in this document are three companies that range in size
but which each unleashed web conferencing by moving away from NetMeeting:
     1. The global electronics manufacturer that is using a careful “change management approach,”
        cutting down on travel while increasing ASP usage by 20 percent annually.
     2. The printing management software company that took a “cold turkey” approach and that says it
        has added $100,000 to the annual bottom line through use of WebEx.
     3. The large equipment manufacturer that has increased its web collaboration usage to tens of
        millions of monthly minutes over two years, and radically decreased support tickets numbers.
Microsoft no longer supports NetMeeting and intends to remove it from its upcoming Vista operating
system. Wainhouse Research strongly recommends enterprises become proactive in replacing
NetMeeting with an IT-manageable, next generation web collaboration platform – and reap additional
productivity gains sooner rather than later.



1
    “WebMetrics Q3 Survey,” November, 2005, Wainhouse Research


                                                   1                    Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
The Role of NetMeeting
Upon its introduction by Microsoft in 1996, NetMeeting clearly addressed a user need for a data
conferencing tool and sparked initial adoption by anyone willing to click the icon and explore its
capabilities. While it began as strictly a multipoint data conferencing tool, it evolved over the years by
adding IP-based point-to-point audio early on and adding point-to-point videoconferencing later. Yet
Microsoft never treated it as more than a minor capability in Windows. In late 2003 the company
announced that NetMeeting had run its course: there would be no further enhancements, and Microsoft’s
official support of the product would end shortly.

NetMeeting was built on the ITU-T T.120 data conferencing standard to ensure its interoperability with
other T.120 products and multipoint servers. The T.120 standard, however, has since become largely
irrelevant. Unlike more expensive, hardware-intensive audio and video conferencing equipment, web
conferencing and collaboration solutions are software-based, and thus investment protection and
interoperability between vendors is a non-issue. While the need to conform to standards has limited the
potential for the continued innovation of NetMeeting, the freedom from those standards has opened
today’s solutions to seemingly unlimited innovation.

What then accounts for NetMeeting’s continued popularity among rogue corporate users, even in the
wake of newer, more innovative solutions? The phenomenon may be attributed in no small measure to
the fact that NetMeeting has always been offered at no cost to users of Windows-based operating systems.
Originally offered as a free download with Internet Explorer, it ultimately became part of Microsoft
Windows 98 and subsequent versions of the Windows operating system. As a result, it has become a
ubiquitous tool, readily available to anyone with a Windows-based PC. With its ready availability and
ease of use, NetMeeting has become popular over the years as a “rogue” tool often used by groups within
corporations without the knowledge or blessing of IT. Yet IT organizations are now trying to manage
NetMeeting usage – at least on a policy level. Unfortunately this becomes a best effort attempt that
ultimately fails because there is nothing particularly manageable about NetMeeting.

The functionality of NetMeeting is as follows:

•   T.120 data conferencing, which enables users in
    multiple locations to communicate over the corporate
    intranet or perhaps (firewall-permitting) Internet, sharing
    information, applications, and files. Other supported
    standards include point-to-point H.323-compatible audio
    and video conferencing (audio and video become
    multipoint by using an external, network-based MCU).
                                                                  Figure 1 NetMeeting (Program Sharing)
•   Remote desktop sharing, which enables users to operate
    PCs from remote locations, and a multi-tiered security mechanism to protect user privacy.

•   Use in conjunction with Microsoft ILS directory servers to locate people and initiate meetings with
    them.

Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                      2
Limitations & Their Impact on Productivity
NetMeeting’s major strengths – that it’s free, ubiquitous, and its basic feature set is relatively easy to use
– are offset by a number of technical limitations that ultimately take their toll user productivity by either
constraining who can be included or what can be accomplished during a meeting or, even worse, not even
being considered as a viable option for many situations. Among the areas in which NetMeeting is
limiting:

For Internal Use Only
Perhaps the most severe limitation of NetMeeting when compared to modern web collaboration offerings
is its inability to operate beyond network address translation devices (NATs) and corporate firewalls. This
makes it suitable for internal communications only – a major inconvenience, to put it mildly, in an era of
growing networked collaboration across traditional organizational boundaries. Because NetMeeting is
designed to conform to the dynamic port liabilities inherent to the T.120 and H.323 standards,
organizations that use it for conferencing cannot include partners, vendors, customers, and others without
opening and exposing a large number of ports in their firewalls. This effectively renders NetMeeting
ineffective for any applications that involve external participants such as sales and marketing events,
customer and partner training, and customer support. Figure 2 shows the top applications for web
collaboration as rated by end users. Virtually all of the applications involve external participants;
productivity would be severely impacted or the conference would not take place with an internal-only
limitation.

           70%
                    58%             56%
           60%
                                                      53%
           50%
                                                                        35%
           40%
                                                                                        31%
                                                                                                           27%
           30%
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                                    Figure 2 Top Web ConferencingApplications 2




2
    “WebMetrics Q3 2005,” November 2005, Wainhouse Research


                                                                3                             Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
By contrast, modern web collaboration solutions are unencumbered
by standards and thus overcome this limitation by using proprietary
technologies that are designed specifically to work through NATs and
firewalls. The only viable alternative for NetMeeting users is to take
the unlikely step of creating virtual private networks (VPNs) for
partners.

As shown in Figure 3, according to one survey 77% of all
NetMeeting users also meet frequently with people who are not
company employees. While some of these users may use web
collaboration to meet, just as many are likely to lose productive time
by traveling to an off-site, in-person meeting.                               Figure 3 How often do you meet
                                                                                  with people who are not
Limited Participation                                                             company employees? 3

Another significant shortcoming of NetMeeting is that no more than 8-12 users can participate in a
meeting, due to the product’s reliance on a serverless, peer-to-peer architecture. Each peered device can
only support so much traffic before it becomes overloaded. To avoid such problems, some companies
even limit NetMeeting conferences to no more than five participants. Thus large meetings cannot use
NetMeeting – exactly the situation that could exhibit a high productivity gain based on larger numbers of
attendees.

Lack of Integration
NetMeeting is not designed to integrate easily with other applications. One cannot easily use NetMeeting
with IM services, for example, or integrate it with public switched telephony network (PSTN)-based
audio conferencing. Nor can it be easily integrated with many of the day-to-day enterprise applications
knowledge workers now rely on, such as productivity, workflow, or document management applications.
Initiating an ad-hoc web collaboration session from within a workflow application – signaling the need
for additional information, to settle a discrepancy, or to add value to the situation at hand – greatly
increases the speed of turnaround and resolves issues without creating an action item to track later. In
short, application integration takes the potential of productivity gains through web collaboration to the
next level.




3
    “NetMeeting Usage Survey,” Private survey project, WebEx, December 2005

Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                       4
             45%
                       42%                                       41%          Today   One Year
             40%
                             34%               34%                             36%        35%
             35%
                                                                        31%
                                                                                                 31%
             30%
                                                           25%
             25%
                                         20%
             20%

             15%

             10%

              5%

              0%
                   Productivity Apps   Workflow Apps   Document Mgmt   IM Systems      Phone Systems


                   Figure 4 Capabilities Most Desired for Integration into Web Conferencing 4

Other Limitations
      1. No specialized applications such as events, sales process/CRM, or customer support systems; lack
         of integration with document management or asynchronous collaboration tools.

      2. Lack of mechanisms for measuring usage and assessing impact on the network. Most
         organizations have no idea how much NetMeeting is being used; others restrict the use of video
         because of the potential network impact.

      3. Lack of conference recording or playback for compliance with new requirements for audit trails
         such as those contained in the US Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

      4. Operation on Microsoft platforms only. While NetMeeting can communicate with other T.120-
         capable platforms and software clients, no ongoing support is available from Microsoft to resolve
         interoperability issues.

Impact on Productivity
Using NetMeeting negatively affects user productivity because, to use an old saying, organizations are
”saving a dime in cost but losing a dollar in productivity.” The value of developing products more
quickly, reaching partners more efficiently, and selling to prospects more effectively cannot be overstated.
In recent years it has become the IT imperative to continuously find ways to improve worker productivity
in order for the enterprise to find new ways of competing. Relying on an outmoded approach to



4
    “WebMetrics Q3 Survey,” November, 2005, Wainhouse Research


                                                       5                 Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
collaboration simply does not hold up to scrutiny when moderate investments in modern web
collaboration solutions can have far greater payback.

Some organizations try to augment NetMeeting by using additional web conferencing services that
overcome these limitations and thus are more suited to other applications. But any advantages to be
gained from such a move are likely to be undercut by the need to train users on multiple platforms and for
IT to support multiple platforms. Replacing NetMeeting with a newer, more flexible web conferencing
capability is really the only sensible alternative.

Although NetMeeting still ships as part of the Windows XP operating system, Microsoft has not released
a new version of this conferencing software since 2001. Microsoft has announced that NetMeeting will
not ship with the upcoming Vista follow-on operating system to Windows XP, scheduled for late 2006.
As a result, the inevitable migration away from NetMeeting to a second generation web collaboration
platform should begin sooner rather than later to maximize potential productivity gains.

Two Simple Steps to Kicking the NetMeeting Habit
Admitting There is a Problem
As with any long-term dependency, the first step toward doing something about it is to recognize that a
problem exists. Though NetMeeting may seem a relatively benign solution for conferencing, it is in fact
preventing many organizations from realizing the full potential of the productivity gains available to them
through web conferencing. As the case studies later in this paper illustrate, companies that have kicked
the NetMeeting habit and made the transition to today’s newer, more innovative web collaboration
solutions have experienced tremendous increases in their use of conferencing and, by extension, in their
organizational productivity.

Using NetMeeting today is the conferencing equivalent of using a rotary phone instead of a touch-tone
phone, or making recordings on cassette tapes instead of burning to CDs. One can get the basic
functionality necessary to talk to another person. But lost entirely are the functional enhancements that
most people cannot live without once they have made the switch. Furthermore, staying with a technology
that’s clearly being supplanted by a more advanced approach is just delaying the inevitable – and not
maximizing the productivity gains in the process. Because NetMeeting is being discontinued and change
is inevitable, Wainhouse Research recommends that organizations start realizing potential gains sooner
rather than later.

Recognize the Symptoms of the Problem
Enterprises can spot the problem by looking for symptoms which arise from the use of Generation 1
conferencing tools. Specific symptoms that point to the existence of a problem include:

    •    Employees are starting to use WebEx, Live Meeting, or more exotic (and possibly less secure)
         web conferencing services without informing IT.

    •    Starting every web conferencing meeting takes 5-10 minutes.


Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                     6
    •   Supplier communications are limited to email and voice calls, with actual meetings that require
        interaction and collaboration taking place only in-person.

    •   Employees begin to request VPN accounts specifically to collaborate with suppliers and
        customers.

    •   Productivity from and growth in web conferencing usage shows limited improvement over time.

    •   Users demand an ILS server for IP addresses that change and because they wish to more readily
        find one another.

Creating a Recovery Plan
Making the transition from NetMeeting to a new and more productive solution requires careful planning.
A sound recovery plan requires a full assessment of current conferencing within the organization,
followed by an evaluation of potential alternatives and the selection and implementation of a solution.

Assessment of current state. Assessing the current use of conferencing within an organization calls for
not only identifying the ways in which NetMeeting is being used, but also identifying the ways in which it
is not being used. This means seeking out untapped opportunities that could be exploited with a different
approach to conferencing. This applications discovery calls for a combination of brainstorming and
analysis to identify conferencing opportunities that are not possible with NetMeeting, but that could be
used with a scaleable, flexible, robust solution to increase productivity. These might include:

    •   Widespread, secure collaboration with partners, vendors, customers, and others outside the
        organization’s firewall

    •   Large-scale meetings and events that go far beyond the half-dozen or so participants in a
        NetMeeting conference

    •   Delivery of training content to large groups outside the organization via live or on-demand web
        casting

    •   Integration of conferencing with business processes such as sales workflow, learning
        management and customer support

Next, it is worthwhile to identify infrastructure components that cannot be integrated with NetMeeting,
but that could be integrated with a new solution. These include, but are not necessarily limited to,
Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, directories and databases, Instant Messaging systems, and PSTN
audio conferencing.

Before beginning to evaluate potential solutions that will enable new opportunities, it may be necessary to
evaluate the current costs and limited ROI of using NetMeeting. Though it comes bundled with an
operating system at no additional charge, and there may therefore be no direct cost associated with
acquiring it, ongoing IT support costs (minimal to moderate) and lost productivity (potentially very high)


                                                7                    Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
remain a factor. Quantifying these costs can help with making an informed decision about the value in
acquiring and supporting an alternative.

Once you have thoroughly explored the current state of usage, including potential opportunities,
integration needs, and support and other costs, you can assemble a list of requirements for an alternative
solution that addresses everything NetMeeting ever did – and more.

Evaluation of alternatives. Once you’ve established that a particular solution will enable you to realize
new applications opportunities not addressable by NetMeeting , the next step is to determine whether that
solution will meet the organization’s needs at the right price and in the most productive way. Several
basic criteria can be applied to evaluating different web collaboration solutions to determine how well
they will serve you beyond fulfilling basic functional requirements. These criteria include the pricing
model, method of deployment, level of incremental productivity, and level of vendor commitment to
helping make the transition to the new solution.

Because it “seems” to be free, for an organization that is moving away from NetMeeting, the smoothest
transition will be to a web conferencing solution with a flat pricing model. NetMeeting users are
accustomed to starting ad hoc data conferences without worrying about incremental costs. A flat pricing
model will not only continue to encourage this behavior, but also catalyze the adoption of new
applications without incurring a cost penalty. Flat pricing models have been introduced by the leading
web collaboration vendors at costs that are very attractive. In fact, some companies are beginning to
consider internal meetings as free – and avoid bill back charges to departments and business units – while
absorbing the flat costs as overhead that covers their external meeting needs.

The choice of method of deployment is essentially between an ASP deployment, which relies on a service
provider to operate and manage the servers that host the conferencing solution, and an on-site, customer-
premise-based server installation (using customer premise equipment, or CPE). While NetMeeting falls
into the latter CPE class, the advantages of both deployment models merit careful consideration. While
NetMeeting users and other customers that host their own web conferencing servers typically argue that
the CPE approach has cost, control, and security advantages, many organizations are opting for the ASP
“software as a service” model. In particular, the ASP approach frees the customer from managing the
deployment of web collaboration software (so it can concentrate on other IT projects), accommodates
scale for large events and usage growth, satisfies the need for inter-organizational network connectivity,
has proven security, and a dedicated support group.

Next comes the challenge of determining the incremental productivity gains offered by a web
collaboration solution and weighing those gains against the incremental costs of the new solution. On a
base level, if a solution were available that enabled conferencing beyond the firewall, it’s possible that
employees who currently meet in person when they need to see outside vendors would become more
likely to meet using web conferencing, a more cost effective, efficient, and therefore productive




Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                      8
alternative. 5 The more powerful – but harder to quantify – productivity gains become realized when
cross-organizational teams begin to use web conferencing as needed to make quicker, more informed
decisions. Can you assign a dollar return on getting a product to market a day sooner, with the right
features as discovered through web conferences between product developers and customers, or in closing
the big sale due to quick communications between all involved?

Other elements to consider include the use of web conferencing to accelerate specific business processes.
Specialized web collaboration applications are available to help with the sales process, customer support,
web seminars and events, and how virtual teams manage their documents and their communications.
These web-based applications, which are available virtually instantly via the ASP model, not only
encourage the use of web collaboration by putting it in context within the application, but also can save
the cost of having to find, purchase, integrate, and deploy additional workflow solutions. A suite that is
based around a common architecture and user interface also minimizes training and support costs while
encouraging employees to use multiple real-time as well as document repository applications.

Last, but certainly not least, is the consideration of the vendor’s role in the transition from NetMeeting to
a new web collaboration solution. How much help with the transition is the vendor willing to commit to
providing? What is the vendor’s reputation for working closely with an organization to help ensure a
successful deployment? What about the critical days right after deployment – how much user training and
support can you expect the vendor to provide?

Implementation of new solution. Change is challenging under any circumstances; changing from a
product like NetMeeting can be even harder. Once you have applied the preceding criteria to select the
right solution, it is never too soon to start preparing for the change. Users need to understand how the
change will ultimately benefit them, and they need the proper training to feel comfortable with their
ability to make the change and start realizing the benefits from it. Specific areas to plan for are the
implementation of the new web collaboration solution (minimally it must be available, easy-to-use, and
reliable to make a favorable first impression), and proactive training to familiarize and win over the user
base.

Unleashing the Potential: Life After NetMeeting
Life after NetMeeting takes on new meaning by being rich, and hassle-free. Described below are three
very different organizations from three very different industries that have kicked the NetMeeting habit in
favor of more productive, state-of-the-art web collaboration solutions. Each one took a different approach
to making the transition away from NetMeeting, and each is benefiting significantly from the change.




5
  The potential for increased productivity is significant: A recent study conducted for WebEx, sponsor of
this white paper, by survey.com (“NetMeeting Usage Survey,” December, 2005) indicated that 58 percent
of respondents used in-person meetings as their primary way of meeting with non-company employees.


                                                 9                    Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
Global Electronics Manufacturer: The Gradual Withdrawal Method
Faced with a need to frequently collaborate with larger audiences and realizing the major addiction to
NetMeeting on the part of thousands of its core product developers, this organization chose to move from
NetMeeting to an ASP deployment from WebEx on a gradual basis, phasing out the former and
increasing usage of the latter over time.

Before: Life with NetMeeting. The company has between 27,000 and 28,000 unique users, about half of
whom have historically used NetMeeting at least once a month. Supporting this level of usage required
the resources of one-tenth of one full-time employee (FTE) monthly – plus a few dozen calls to the help
desk. Yet the company has no measurement of NetMeeting usage, and also found NetMeeting to be
unstable for larger meetings. It also refuses to let users include the video capability within NetMeeting
because of the inability to control its impact on other network applications.

After: Life with the ASP Solution. The company’s services manager’s approach to gradually weaning
employees off of NetMeeting has been to start driving its obsolescence, through early change
management. Thousands of users are being trained on WebEx services as an alternative to NetMeeting,
and “once users are trained, they’re converted – they do not want to go back,” according to the services
manager. Usage of the new ASP solution is increasing by 20 percent annually.

The company is seeing significant benefits from its ASP implementation, including the following.

    •    A full 58% of all the company’s meetings of 10 or fewer people also include external partners;
         many of these meetings traditionally required extensive travel. Now the company can use ASP
         web collaboration services for this purpose, eliminating the time and expense of travel to
         meetings.

    •    The company is now able to operate far more productively through collaboration among partners
         in different parts of the world. Application development teams in the US can work with a partner
         in Malaysia that provides system controls, with web conferencing enabling their collaboration
         and driving faster product development cycles.

    •    The ASP solution has allowed the company to hold major large events, including one that
         attracted nearly 700 attendees. In addition, the company is now holding 5,200 meetings per
         month via web conferencing with 40,000+ attendees.

The services manager looks forward to implementing additional web conferencing services more broadly
over time. The company recognizes that conferencing services are not its core competency and it is likely
to continue to deploy the bulk of its web collaboration in an ASP model.

Enterprise Print Management Solutions (EPMS): The “Cold Turkey” Approach
The printing management software company EPMS had a series of disastrous experiences with
NetMeeting that inspired a swift change to an ASP-based WebEx solution.



Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                    10
Before: Life with NetMeeting. EPMS started out using NetMeeting in the late 1990s as a sales tool for
meetings with prospects and customers. The company, however, quickly found it to be unstable and
unreliable: “It would crash constantly during demonstrations,” according to Carol Andersen, chief
executive officer. The company decided to move to WebEx services about five years ago. “NetMeeting is
okay for applications that are not dependent on looking at people’s data – for low-level applications. But
for what we do, no.”

After: Life with WebEx. EPMS uses WebEx about 15 hours a week, or 60 hours a month (not
insignificant for a relatively small company), for sales as well as client training and support. “We could
not conduct our business without this product,” says Andersen.

Financial improvement and enhanced productivity have been the main benefits of using WebEx at EPMS.

    •   Net revenue has been positively affected by using WebEx to sell to companies throughout the US.
        For example, upgrades of the company’s software generate an average of $15,000 a month in
        sales, and because the process can be handled via web conferencing, none of that revenue has to
        be allocated to outside travel costs.

    •   Reducing the cost of sales has increased the company’s profit margins. Its annual cost of sales
        amounted to about $247,000. But by using WebEx to eliminate travel time and costs, the
        company can reduce that by 40%, adding almost $100,000 in profit to the bottom line.

    •   The company also conducts client training frequently, which can be much less costly if it does not
        have to be performed onsite. “We’re actually making money on WebEx,” explains Andersen. “If
        we do a training session and charge $187 an hour for that training, our cost using WebEx is only
        $30 an hour.” Some training still must be conducted onsite, but approximately 40% can be
        accommodated using web conferencing.

WebEx is also increasing EPMS’ productivity by enabling the company to train resellers in the UK,
Australia, and New Zealand without losing valuable time to travel. And its development team holds
WebEx meetings with contract developers located throughout the US.

Large Equipment Manufacturer: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
After “hitting the wall” with NetMeeting – inability to scale, to increase meeting capacity, to collaborate
with external partners – this multi-billion dollar company turned to WebEx services to deliver the
capabilities to meet its needs.

Before: Life with NetMeeting. The company began using NetMeeting when it was introduced in 1996 as
a way to limit the need for extensive travel in the wake of the company’s global growth. Its NetMeeting
infrastructure eventually grew to two Databeam T.120 servers and, at its peak use, it was accommodating
550 concurrent users. The problem was that the company desperately needed to increase meeting capacity
and increasingly wanted to include external participants in meetings – neither of which it could do with




                                                 11                   Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
NetMeeting. At that point, the company brought in WebEx to accomplish scale and handle external
meetings.

After: Life with WebEx. Since the company moved to an ASP-based implementation based on WebEx,
web collaboration has grown from hundreds of concurrent users and low millions of minutes per month to
thousands of concurrent users and well over ten million minutes per month.




                                Figure 5 Growth in web collaboration usage 6

The company enjoys diverse benefits from the move to WebEx web collaboration.

      •   According to the company’s Data Conferencing Manager, NetMeeting was constraining the
          growth of web conferencing within the company – and WebEx “took the lid off and let it grow.”
          More web conferencing means more productivity, especially when more external meetings can be
          held in this way, without the time and expense of travel to meet with partners or customers.
          External meetings now account of 30% of all the company’s meetings, with a total of 20,000
          external meetings a month using WebEx services.

      •   The WebEx service is supported within the company by a staff of two to three people. A CPE
          alternative to NetMeeting that had been researched would have required about 10 to 15 people
          working internally to support it.

      •   Since implementing WebEx, the number of support tickets per million minutes of meetings has
          dropped by 80%. As the number of minutes per month continues to increase, economies of scale
          will add to this advantage.




6
    Source: Customer data

Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                    12
The Data Conferencing Manager anticipates that the next surge in web conferencing will come from an
increase in ad hoc usage. The company is aggressively deploying IM integration with Windows
Messenger, and there are plans to integrate WebEx web conferencing with Live Communications Server
later in 2006. The manager also emphasized a key factor: the increase in collaboration with participants
outside of the company makes access to an external network infrastructure with the capacity to scale very
important – and a key factor in their choice of a service provider.

Conclusion
While NetMeeting has played an important role in the early adoption of web conferencing – primarily by
being a “free” component of Windows that fulfilled early data conferencing needs – it has at least two
major shortcomings as identified in this paper that can severely limit the adoption of web collaboration in
organizations. The fact that Microsoft has discontinued the product, combined with the reality that the
industry now offers second generation web collaboration products and services with very competitive
flat-rate pricing, provides further incentive for NetMeeting users to switch sooner rather than later. As
shown in the three illustrated cases, removing the constraints of NetMeeting can unleash adoption –
enabling organizations to begin to realize the full potential of the latest web collaboration solutions for
increased productivity and competitive gain. Those who wait to make the transition are being penny wise
and pound foolish.




                                                13                   Copyright © 2006 Wainhouse Research, LLC
About the Authors
Andy Nilssen is a Senior Analyst & Partner at Wainhouse Research, where he is a consultant to rich
media conferencing vendors, network infrastructure vendors, end users, government agencies, end users,
and venture capitalists. Andy is a co-author of WR's annual three volume series Rich Media
Conferencing, the firm’s thorough analysis of the conferencing industry, is co-lead analyst for the
Wainhouse Research WebMetrics web conferencing research program, and leads the WR web
conferencing and IM & Presence practice. Earlier in his career, Andy managed the planning and
launching of PictureTel's Venue and Concorde group videoconferencing systems. Andy has 25 years of
experience in high-technology product marketing and market research, earned his MBA and BSEE
degrees from the University of New Hampshire, and holds two ease-of-use related patents. He can be
reached at andyn@wainhouse.com

Alan Greenberg is a Senior Analyst & Partner at Wainhouse Research. Alan has worked in the
telecommunications, videoconferencing, software and services, and multimedia arenas for more than 20
years, holding marketing positions with VTEL, Texas Instruments, and several Austin, Texas-based
startups. He has conducted research into dozens of distance learning and e-Learning programs and covers
managed services, 3G wireless conferencing, and management software for WR. He is co-lead analyst on
the Wainhouse Research WebMetrics research program, and has authored many research notes on web
conferencing and e-Learning vendors at www.wrplatinum.com. Alan holds an M.A. from the University
of Texas at Austin and a B.A. from Hampshire College. He can be reached at
agreenberg@wainhouse.com.

About Wainhouse Research
Wainhouse Research (www.wainhouse.com) is an independent market research firm that focuses on
critical issues in rich media communications, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and streaming media.
The company conducts multi-client and custom research studies, consults with end users on key
implementation issues, publishes white papers and market statistics, and delivers public and private
seminars as well as speaker presentations at industry group meetings. Wainhouse Research publishes a
variety of reports that cover the all aspects of rich media conferencing, and the free newsletter, The
Wainhouse Research Bulletin. WR’s subscription content service can be found at www.wrplatinum.com.

About WebEx
WebEx (www.webex.com) is the leading provider of Web communications services that enable greater
productivity and cost-efficiency across the enterprise. Powered by the industry’s only globally distributed
information-switching network, specifically designed for the delivery of multimedia Web
communications. WebEx’s online meeting and Web conferencing services include WebEx Meeting
Center™, WebEx Event Center™, WebEx Training Center, WebEx Support Center, WebEx Sales Center
and Presentation Studio.




Kicking the NetMeeting Habit                    14

				
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Description: A Two Step Program