If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Organizations of all sizes are finding that video can collapse distances and dissolve cultural boundaries by enabling collaboration among far-flung teams. It also has the potential to transform business processes, reduce costs and environmental impacts, and create competitive advantages.

That’s a lot of value packed into one technology.

Research firm TechAisle recently conducted a global study to determine the impact of video on small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and midmarket companies. According to 67 percent of survey respondents, “building trust and positive relationships” among internal teams is the top benefit of video collaboration. Additionally, 63 percent of respondents said that video promotes customer intimacy by “facilitating stronger customer relationships and engagement.”

Sixty-one percent of organizations surveyed said that video collaboration helps accelerate decision-making, and 60 percent said it increases productivity by “keeping teams focused and minimizing multitasking in meetings.” Video also enhances the value of meetings by helping participants retain complex information, according to 59 percent of respondents.

Video conferencing traditionally required expensive, room-size technology that could be tricky to set up and use. Today, video conferencing can be accessed from virtually anywhere via desktop and mobile devices. Setting up a video conference is as easy as making a voice call, enabling workers to conduct virtual meetings with other employees, partners and customers around the world.

While desktop and mobile video is convenient and cost-efficient, “telepresence” solutions create the sensation that all participants are in the same room. Such realism is accomplished via high-definition video that’s almost life-size, multiple microphones, and directional, multi-channel speaker systems. Of course, all of this comes at a price — telepresence solutions are much more expensive than basic video conferencing applications.

In order to choose the right solution, organizations should consider the role video might play in the overall success of the business. Who has access to it? When is it appropriate to use video versus other means of communication? How do you manage video and integrate it into your business processes?

It’s also important to ensure that the IT infrastructure is robust enough to carry video. Wireless LANs that were designed for data or voice only may not be capable of handling video traffic. The network may have to be reengineered so people feel comfortable using their mobile devices to make a video call.

Once the proper infrastructure is in place, organizations should look at the end-user experience. Video will be successful only if it’s easy to access and use, so inviting participants and launching a video conference should be as simple as pressing a few buttons.

More and more organizations are looking to utilize video to trim costs, enhance customer service and increase competitiveness. It’s not sufficient to simply install a video conferencing solution and expect to reap these benefits, however. In order to maximize the value of video, organizations need to consider what they’d like to accomplish with it, and ensure that they have the right tools and infrastructure in place to provide a high-quality user experience.