Web Conferences Slash Costs, Expand Reach

 
 
By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-03-06
 
 
 
Greg Simpson
VP, Online Services
Drake Beam Morin
Philadelphia, Pa.
www.dbm.com

MANAGER'S PROFILE: In charge of remote services and technologies for the 500-employee outplacement consulting firm. The privately held company, known as DBM, provides training and services to 250,000 laid-off workers at more than 7,000 organizations annually.

HIS PROJECT: DBM held 4,000 Web seminars last year attended by 50,000 people, using Microsoft's Live Meeting service. The company offers a core curriculum of 25 courses—such as interviewing and resumé-writing skills—and other sessions, such as how to use its JobScout search site.

MEETING MIGRATION: Before Simpson's team began dabbling with Web conferencing in 2001, all of DBM's sessions were held in person, at 230 offices worldwide (60 of which are in the U.S.). Now, about half of all client interactions are conducted via Live Meeting. DBM has found that many recently laid-off employees prefer the Web format, because it's more convenient and provides a level of anonymity. "This tool revolutionized our industry," Simpson says. "It's allowed us to meet our clients where and when they want to."

SAVING A BUNDLE: DBM has also shaved millions on travel and payroll expenses. Simpson estimates Web conferencing saves the firm $2.5 million per year in consultant salaries, because it's more efficient to have an instructor lead a virtual class with 15 participants than conduct a one-on-one meeting. "The cost-savings are phenomenal," he says.

NO VOICE-OVER-IP: The firm uses traditional teleconferencing services, provided by Sprint, along with its Live Meeting sessions. Why not use IP-based voice? Because, Simpson says, most DBM clients access meetings from home: "I can't guarantee that they'll have speakers and a microphone at their PC."