Telecom consulting company Software Advice recently published results from a survey they conducted. They looked at employees from companies of 50 or fewer employees who use web conferencing at work. Response statistics are based on a screened sample size of 148 responses. You can access the report findings without registration or download at this URL:
This is an interesting segment of the market that does not get much statistical analysis from the big enterprise webinar software vendors. My personal bias is to think of these very small companies as typically being concerned with price first, ease of use second, and advanced functionality farther down the list. They often cannot afford license contracts with the enterprise-class webinar vendors I spend most of my time working with. This is a segment where low-cost/no-cost solutions such as Google Hangouts and Skype become very important, sometimes by necessity. I think that is borne out by the first reported graph, showing adoption rates for different types of conferencing:
When Video Conferencing ranks that high, I have to assume respondents are thinking mostly of person-to-person "video calling" services such as Skype. These can be great for prospect, client, or employee conversations.
The same kinds of clues are present in charts showing opinions about what is important to these users. They tended to respond in terms of speed of starting a meeting and convenience in quickly joining, which are more important for person-to-person and ad-hoc collaboration than for more formally scheduled webinars and webcasts.
When asked about features and functionality, respondents indicated frequent use of features related to scheduling and daily work administration, with things such as email scheduling, file sharing, and calendar scheduling receiving showing highest use frequency. To be honest, I'm not sure how I would have interpreted this question if presented with it in a survey, since "Webcasting" is included as a function on the same order as "Raise Hand." The two items don't really seem comparable to me:
But the final graphic in the report shows the danger of making assumptions. It turns out that my belief that these companies are mostly doing ad-hoc quick collaborative sessions is not supported by the data. Users indicated that planned and scheduled meetings had a much higher use frequency than quick one-on-one collaborative sessions. So I've learned something as well!
Software Advice has done us a service by focusing attention on a segment of the business market that may not generate as much revenue for the big web conferencing vendors, but represents an enormous potential volume of business for the companies that want to address these needs. It's worth reading the full report summary, as there is more information than I have highlighted here.