Communicating with your clients: Skype v WebEx v GoToMeeting

It is, perhaps ironic, that we arrived at the choice for GoToMeeting after first using WebEx for a while in conjunction with a software vendor. We also tasted AccuConference through connections with a past client and looked at a couple of other options. In an admittedly rather un-scientific manner, though cost was a consideration, we ultimately decided that GoToMeeting offered all we needed in terms of supporting and connecting with our clients – or rather, the combination of GoToMeeting together with our Skype account gave us the full scope of inter-communication functionality that we needed for our business in servicing our clients ~ the only reason that we exist as a business in the first place!

At MISSI (Management Information Systems Solutions & Initiatives) for the past several years we have been using “GoToMeeting” very reliably to provide direct technical support of clients as well as for other more general communication pc-to-pc purposes such as for webinars and have found it easy and very effective for our purposes.

It is, perhaps ironic, that we arrived at the choice for GoToMeeting after first using WebEx for a while in conjunction with a software vendor. We also tasted AccuConference through connections with a past client and looked at a couple of other options. In an admittedly rather un-scientific manner, though cost was a consideration, we ultimately decided that GoToMeeting offered all we needed in terms of supporting and connecting with our clients – or rather, the combination of GoToMeeting together with our Skype account gave us the full scope of inter-communication functionality that we needed for our business in servicing our clients ~ the only reason that we exist as a business in the first place!

Mark Suster (@msuster) has just posted a very informative blog based upon his own experiences in this realm and prompted by the recent announcement of a $10M funding for “Huddle” which, according to Mark’s digging, intends to include amongst it broad scope of offerings, yet another version of this type of client communication tools. It would be hard to disagree with the fundamental points that Mark makes about the choices currently available within this developing arena. Certainly Skype has come a long way in the past few years and has very broad, even impressive, capability.

One of the subsequent commenters, Jan Schultink (@JanSchultink) made the following observation which sums up our own experience on this topic; quoted verbatim since it says all that we would say in drawing our conclusion for now:

“Ultimately Skype will be an unstoppable force in screen sharing.For the moment though, how sophisticated is their client? I use Go2meeting a lot for long distance meetings and am always paranoid to share only the things I want to share. Not my email inbox, not the directory with all my client names for example. Go2meeting let’s you control these things very well. But hey, if Skype does not have these features yet, they are easy to code.It is interesting to see how screen sharing is hugely important for a productive long-distance meeting, and video (of a talking head) is actually not. “

Aside from the discussion in his blog regarding the relative merits of these tools and, more specifically, whether there was still any future for WebEx or any of that type of tool given the advances made by Skype along with their huge user base, was a statement by Mark that we heartily subscribe to since it fits with our philosophy and our recommendations to our own clients and it bears repeating because it applies to business focus and development in the broadest sense and is worthy of a separate blog on of it own: To wit …

“I always worry about companies that spread themselves too broadly.  I believe that you need to have product excellence in order to scale to being a really big business and that’s pretty tough when you have such a wide remit.  An amalgamation of other people’s services might win business with some companies (there is an age old debate between “best of breed” versus “integrated solutions”) but in the end I doubt a business that goes “a mile wide and an inch deep” can be a huge company.  So my advice was to focus a bit more.”

Could not have put that better ourselves. We’ll have more to say on that in a later blog. Meanwhile, we are very happy that we have the option to use either or both GoToMeeting and Skype as and whenever appropriate. Thank you for following.