The Australian Businesswomen's Network (ABN) has deployed web collaboration and communication portals to allow Australian regional members to participate in its seminars. The ABN will host six online events over the next three months on topics including Web 2.0, customer service, sales strategy, branding and marketing based on member feedback.

The online seminars connect remote members to industry experts and facilitates real-time document and video exchange and question and answer sessions between participants. ABN national general manager, Suzi Dafnis, said the company provides business support and information to more than 19,000 businesswomen each year.

"We're using [the portal] to hold our Business Success events as an online seminar series because we have lots of members in remote and regional locations who can't always commit the time or expense required to travel to seminars," Dafnis said.

"This initiative gives women access to relevant knowledge from business experts regardless of their geographic location [and] attendees only need Internet access and a phone line to participate. "The online seminars also allow us to hold the events without the associated set-up costs so we can redirect resources into improving our information, services and mentoring ."

The ABN has further deployed the WebEx solution as part of its Mentornet national mentoring program for women.

"Businesswomen want to stay abreast of best practices in areas covered in the series but they don't necessarily have the resources to identify the professional development opportunities or read all the books," Suzi said.

WebEx's regional director for Australia and Asia, Kevin Mackin, said the use of online seminars is popular for connecting remote users for one-to-many communication.

"The ABN is really thinking outside the square when it comes to communicating with its stakeholders," Mackin said.

"The adoption of webinars for this type of one-to-many communication has begun to take off and is becoming a standard part of the marketing mix."