How to Find the Best Video Conferencing Software for Your Business

12 min read
March 15, 2022

Lately, remote work has become an unavoidable component of business communications in general. 

Table of contents

  1. Organisations need enterprise-appropriate video conferencing tools
  2. Common features and themes
  3. Full feature sets
  4. Integration tools
  5. Account representatives
  6. Active tech support
  7. Security
  8. Scalable pricing
  9. A rundown of what a viable option looks like vs a non-viable option
  10. How to find the best video conferencing solutions
  11. The problem
  12. Option 1: Go with the most popular
  13. Option 2: One-stop-shop
  14. Option 3: Trends and relationships
  15. Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Even if your particular organisation has a very limited internal need for video conferencing, staying equipped to communicate with vendors, sales prospects, and contractors who do work remotely has become increasingly unavoidable as a necessity across all business sectors.

Organisations need enterprise-appropriate video conferencing tools

Where's the problem? There are a kajillion off-the-shelf solutions out there.

That is the problem. There are many competing software platforms that unintentionally cause a lot of confusion and redundant complexity in how we communicate. 

How many times have you had to download a bespoke application just to talk to one friend who insisted that this one application was the be-all-end-all undisputed best tool to talk online? You probably have a few chat applications on your phone right now with only one or two contacts on them just for that reason.

On an organisational level, this cannot scale while staying organised enough to be productive or accountable. For these reasons, organisations have to "get married" to one particular platform to handle video conferences and other aspects of accommodating remote workers, whether those remote workers are external or in-house team members.

The real problem is choosing the platform that best fits your organisation's needs moving forward in an era of business that is increasingly online.

Scrutinising what platform is a better fit than the others is particularly difficult; because it's not objectively or universally clear on what's important to scrutinise when weighing options for the best video conferencing application for your business.


Common features and theme

Viable options for video conferencing will have significant overlap. This happens because of two main reasons: 

  • There are certain feature patterns that work, which most software providers will converge on. 
  • All of these platforms have similar technological tools available to them when making their product.

Let's get a cohesive idea of what an enterprise video conferencing option looks like, mostly for the purpose of eliminating confusion about things that may look like options; but are not.

Things that the best video conferencing software options have in common:

Full feature sets

These are the parts that actually make up the software product itself, but do not confuse the feature set for the whole product; it's not. This is only what the software itself can do.

All viable enterprise-level video conferencing solutions can do things like share screens, and files, utilise whiteboards, Q&A, hand raising, green screens, and managed invitation links. The way in which they implement these features will vary; but if there are more than a few features missing from a supposed video conference option, then it is not viable for enterprise-level use.

This guideline may seem vague, but in general, if you notice that most other options can do something that the software you're considering can not; then it's generally because you're considering something that's not meant to be an enterprise-viable solution. 

Integration tools

Enterprises use bespoke software tools to help them manage their work and productivity. An enterprise-level video conferencing application will expect to interlink with other productivity software in some way. Whether that's through plugins, API keys, webhooks, or some other methods.

Account representatives

Institutional clients usually have at least one account representative as their human end-point for managing the institutional relationship with the other software company.

If there's not a business card with a dedicated human being that is responsible for managing a business relationship, and there's really no one you can call to get a hold of the software company, then that's another red flag for a non-option.

Active tech support

Tech support comes in layers of escalation. For many common problems, there are supposed to be:

  1.  A functioning FAQ, and forum where clients can autonomously learn about how to use the software, 
  2. The second layer of ticket submittal or forum posting, where the client waits for tech support to come to resolve their issue, 
  3. Finally, there should be a consultant level where members of the software company are on stand-by availability to resolve urgent issues that important clients have. 

Take note of these tiers of tech support as a way of assessing a video conferencing application option. All viable options have some form of tech support, but not all viable solutions are strong on every tier of tech support.


A security and compliance profile 

The best video conferencing application providers for businesses are all businesses themselves, which means they have to comply with the applicable law and take any potential liabilities very seriously. 

For software products, this mostly means cyber-security. So some significant portion of their day-to-day operation as a business will be focused on digital security. This dedication to safety will be communicated in their marketing material, sales communications, and any formal meetings they may have with your organisation.

This is a very important aspect of enterprise video conferencing providers, and as a general rule of thumb, the extent to which they talk about security is approximately proportional to how much of their total operation is composed of security.

If you don't see cyber security or compliance mentioned by them, then that's a red flag.

Scalable pricing

Providing these software products with the accompanying support services all require a business overhead. The best video conferencing software options are not free; they are all businesses themselves. There may be free trial periods, free demos, or free pricing tiers; but these companies all make money somehow, and they are not weekend passion projects.

Typically, the pricing for the best video conferencing applications will come in tiered pricing that scales with use or service demands. Human beings like account representatives, developers, and tech support people are very expensive. Infrastructure use is fairly cheap and scalable until you are using a lot of it, and then it becomes expensive.

These are video conferencing software products designed to accommodate even the most demanding institutional-level clients who may have high human resource demand and extreme infrastructure usage. However, these video conferencing applications often also serve customers all the way down to the individual consumer user level, who have minuscule infrastructure demand, and little or zero HR demand. 

The best video conferencing applications also accommodate everything in between those two extremes; hence, they usually have flexible pricing structures that clearly indicate how they're monetised.

If it is not clear how a video conferencing application is monetised, and it's "free" – then that is a major red flag that it is not appropriate for institutional or enterprise-level use.


A rundown of what a viable option looks like vs a non-viable option

A good video conferencing option for businesses will:

  • Demonstrate that it has a full feature suite.
  • Include integration with other software
  • Have sales teams & account representatives
  • Have some answers for all three tiers of tech support
  • Be very forward and proactive about security
  • Be available under a clear, scalable pricing model

A non-option for professional video conferencing will:

  • Have features missing, or seem like they are behind on feature development
  • Make no mention of integration with other business software systems
  • Be difficult or impossible to get a hold of a real human to talk to
  • Have tiers of tech support missing
  • Not mention or be vague about security practices
  • Be available "for free" or otherwise be unclear about pricing

How to find the best video conferencing solutions

The problem:

The "Top X software solutions for this year" lists will always be a matter that is up to interpretation, and the conclusions will always be some heavily biased opinion– usually in the form of a suggestion article or a software review. Furthermore, there is a litany of lists and resources that all paraphrase the same standard features that we've already mentioned above.

The goal here is to serve as a guide for organisations to make the best decision possible for them when committing to a video conferencing application. That's a serious decision that merits genuinely careful consideration.

Facts and data change over time. They are not static. Principles and virtues do not. 

If there's going to be unavoidable bias in how we consider options to decide on; let the bias be towards considering the best decision-making process, rather than focusing on what happens to be the present options.

So, rather than generate yet another list of the current popular software options, let's take a look at what kinds of virtues make decent decision-making processes and then work backwards from there to find current software options that fit those virtues. We can then discuss what tradeoffs we have to make in order to settle on those conclusions.

We'll put aside repeating the details of software (since the details are all available on their own pages, and change over time anyway) because this guiding process should really be about suggesting software options to you, rather than suggesting you software options. There is a big difference.

Option 1. Go with the most popular option

This mentality can work! If it didn't work and worked well as an option, it wouldn't be popular! Furthermore, this is an easy decision. You're effectively outsourcing that decision to the wisdom of the crowd – and even if it ends up having consequences; you won't be worse off than any of your peers.

This decision-making mentality right now looks like it points the most at Zoom. Zoom, after all, is trendy right now.

But the most popular decision and the best decision are almost never in agreement. McDonald's is the most popular restaurant chain in the world. In fact, the same virtues that make McDonald's popular also make Zoom popular. It's a very convenient, easy decision to make; and it's remarkably consistent.

But would you say that McDonald's is the best restaurant? If a great and honourable guest of yours was coming to your town, would you take them out to eat at McDonald's? Surely some people might!

Zoom has that same problem. You are just a number to them. You are getting generic services and solutions to some practical problems that you have.

Furthermore, popularity can be highly circumstantial. This is actually most likely the case with Zoom specifically. Due to a global pandemic, literally, billions of people suddenly had to make a choice on how to video conference. Unsurprisingly, when you have to make a decision quickly; looking around to find what's most popular is a popular tendency.

A lot of this popularity stems from the circumstantial fact that a lot of people had to settle on a decision really quickly.

Are these circumstances going to remain eternally true? While it is popular that Zoom may remain popular forever (who can tell?) – the circumstances that gave rise to its popularity will probably change over time.

Option 2. The one-stop-shop

This is another way of making a justifiable decision! Organisations don't have one need for only video conferencing; they use all kinds of different software tools! Why not look for a software provider that can cover most of your company's needs? 

If you go this route, then you'll have tools that work well together; you'll probably spend less time and energy getting everything to mesh together, and you'll ultimately have fewer vendor relationships to manage.

There are actually a couple of options that fit this description. Microsoft's ecosystem has Microsoft's video conferencing app. Apple has its solution as part of its ecosystem. But who really goes after this niche for businesses is probably Goto.

Regardless of which of these you consider committing to, ultimately, you are committing a significant portion of your business to one provider. All of your eggs are in one basket.

It better be a very good basket, too because that basket isn't yours—They're just your eggs.

If any of these ecosystem providers make a change or potentially stop service. You'll be in for a rough time that's out of your hands to mend. 

Hopefully, they give you plenty of lead time in their changes of service – and there will be changes of service over time. Hopefully, there aren't exploits that are discovered anywhere in their entire suite of services that they provide – many of which you don't even use or may not even be aware of but could deeply compromise you anyway through no fault of your own.

There are many, many moving parts to these ecosystem software providers in order for them to deliver a one-stop shop to you. That's a lot of trust that you're consigning over to their end of your business.

Option 3. Trends and relationships

Another option that consistently works is to accurately assess what trends now are going to extend into the future, and what relationships you should make in order to respond to those upcoming trends.

This may sound vague because consistently doing this is very difficult to do. Essentially you're evaluating where your organisation is, and where it is going, while simultaneously evaluating where another software company is heading, and seeing if those two trends align well, and then you're making decisions on how strong of a bond you should have with that company based on that.

Very difficult since no one has a crystal ball (that works) to see the future with. To be clear, this is how the visionaries of our modern world actually think. It's just very hard to do. This is also the part where our bias at Digital Samba comes in.

Digital Samba virtual conferencing technology

This is how we see our company, product, and customers. To be fair, we are not the only ones. In fact, everybody probably makes decisions like this in some way on some level.

The advantage of this process is that you get the best outcome over time if you do it right. When you get this right, you will make the relationships you need to have in order to go in the direction you set out. It's actually a means of thoughtfully navigating the future.

The downside is that this takes a lot of careful consideration to make these decisions – and necessarily, you sort of have to pick and choose what does and does not merit such consideration. 

Is what video conferencing platform your organisation uses really that important? For some people, surely it's not that big a deal and the decision can be made lightly. For businesses and organisations that include remote work, webinars, or online learning– this is probably not a light decision!

Digital Samba has been a developer in virtual conferencing technology for over 19 years. Currently, we're the global market leader for white-label conference software applications. Call us and talk to us. 

The way we perceive where the future of our industry is headed is what we see as an era of integration, where video conferencing will be a nearly ubiquitous utility that technology has, rather than being just a discrete application.

It will be something similar to how CSS and Javascript just became integral parts of the web. Not quite the same – but we think a lot of software processes and applications will have the ability to be able to collaborate remotely with others in real-time. This process will be seamless and frictionless. That's what we're developing.

Who we align really well with are institutional-level software users, like universities. We also align very well with other technology companies that are developing next-generation services and applications that involve live video in any capacity.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

We've learned about the problem of businesses adapting to an increasingly online world on all scales, and we've also identified a sort of solution space for that problem – what a solution looks like, vs what a non-solution looks like.

Finally, we looked at some viable ways of navigating that solution space in order to settle in on some options that will fit you, the reader.

We can only work with our priors, and those priors carry biases with them.   We honestly identified our prejudice towards our way of doing things at Digital Samba.

There are no wholly right or wholly wrong answers.   In a sense, the customer's decision determines "the winner", but not everybody is playing the same game with the same goals in mind. There are many 'winners' – and the ones that do are the ones who are happy with the relationships that they've made.

If we've convinced you to take an interest in what we're doing here at Digital Samba, the next step after reading this is to reach out and book a demo.

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