Travel and expense management firm BCD Travel is making a move that might seem counterintuitive: The company, along with its consulting practice, Advito, just struck a deal with Cisco to develop a virtual collaboration service provider.
In layman’s terms: The companies are partnering to develop ways for corporates to communicate virtually, instead of physically traveling to conduct business.
“Virtual collaboration solutions can now effectively replace travel in many circumstances,” said BCD Travel Senior Vice President and Advito Managing Director April Bridgeman in a statement published on Friday (April 15). “We see a new discipline emerging that uses a holistic and strategic approach to deciding which trips drive value and which meetings are best handled by virtual collaboration.”
Together, the companies would develop solutions to boost virtual collaboration availability to corporates, like video conferencing, in an effort to help companies spend more wisely.
According to the head of Cisco's worldwide collaboration sales organization, Andre Smit, the benefits of avoiding corporate travel are numerous.
“Travel avoidance is an obvious benefit of using video, but the benefits go far beyond not having to catch a plane,” Smit stated. “Since nearly 45 percent of communication is visual, increasing the number of times you connect face-to-face improves communication."
“On a quality video call, the people involved feel like they are actually together in the same room; it helps drive the relationship,” he continued. “This is critical for remote workers, for meetings with partners and clients, for interactions with vendors and suppliers.”
The joint venture will aim to help corporations set spend goals to spend more wisely on corporate travel and cut costs on unnecessary trips. It will also consult businesses to help determine whether employees actually need to travel for a meeting or can go to one remotely, with a broader goal of reducing corporate travel time.