Diane Hammonds, the Branch Manager for Sain’s Louisiana [...]
The concept of using online collaboration for meetings has been out there for several years. In fact, we’ve been using this method effectively since 2007 at Sain Associates. It comes in handy especially with federal projects.
This often involves teams of highly skilled individuals who are usually at the top of their specific field, such as contractors, subcontractors, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, civil/site engineers and others. The problem is that we’re not usually all located in the same city, which means it’s very difficult for everyone to come together in for an in-person meeting.
But with online tools, such as GoToMeeting, we can very cost effectively come together. We bypass travel expenses like airline tickets, and we also save a lot of time that would be involved with traveling.
The type of collaboration we need to do involves designing a plan or drawing you would normally lay out on paper and look at. A lot of people have the perspective that you can’t do that effectively on a conference call, and I agree. But the online collaboration tools we use are so much more than just a conference call. We have the ability to look at what we’re designing on a screen, trade control back and forth between team members, move the cursor around, make changes and have discussions while looking at the actual document. It’s really almost as if we are in the same room, and it’s been very effective for us.
While our situation of bringing teams together that are made up of people from multiple states may be a bit unique, I’m surprised that I don’t hear about more people using online collaboration. I think it’s definitely something we may start to see more in the future, and it’s a method we’re happy to continue utilizing at Sain Associates.
Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.