I've been hosting a lot of global meetings recently. I've found that 7AM EST works best for the global team, which includes Cork, Cairo, Tel Aviv, St. Petersburg, Bangalore, and Beijing. If the topic is of interest, we'll have a team member from California join in at 4 AM PST.
Usually on my blog I write about building solutions for customers. I'm writing this post as a user of global collaboration tools.
First I chose LiveMeeting for content sharing, and then I used my conference call ID. I set up a recurring Outlook meeting. And off we went. The URL for LiveMeeting was wrong, so I changed it. This did not go smoothly.
Next I tried to record certain meetings. This involved opening my LiveMeeting account and typing in a cryptic sequence of numbers and hash keys. I came in 30 minutes before my meeting to try and get it working, but I could not. I figured out what was wrong and came in 30 minutes before the next meeting and tested it again. It worked. I recorded the meeting, but when I went to listen to it, there was no audio. It turns out that the connect ratio is about 50%. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I haven't been able to get it to work yet.
I tried to schedule Telepresence for any rooms around the world that were available at the time. We would open the recurring meeting and add the Telepresence rooms as a resource. Every time we opened the meeting invite and saved it, a second Outlook meeting was created (and then a third, etc). Deleting any one of them would cause my remote co-workers to lose track of the meeting completely.
One time, however, I was able to reserve all six Telepresence rooms. I needed to dial in the seventh member of the team because Telepresence was not available in their geography. I attempted to add an audio line to the Telepresence session. This worked, but it broke the Telepresence connection, because I did not read the manual telling me to "push the Conference key" one more time.
One day I will learn how to juggle all of these balls while spinning a plate balanced on a stick on the top of my head. If I can get it all to work three times in a row I may retire. It's harder than writing the RAID algorithms.
In the meantime I am working closely with EMC IT to evaluate "collaboration as a service". My requirements are that my co-workers see a picture of my face at 7AM EST, click on it and say "Join". I, on the other hand, right click on my face and say "Start and Record".
I don't want to know whether it's LiveMeeting, or WebEx, or what the passcode is (at least for all of my Enterprise-internal meetings).
The good news is that better tools are coming, and we live in a great world to be able to be able to see each other while we collaborate.
The bad news is that it still takes about 20 minutes out of my day....provided I don't have to touch Outlook!
Director, EMC Innovation Network