Adopting video in the enterprise

I recently wrote a post on my personal blog about how we now use YouTube to answer problems rather than asking that practical friend who we used to trust. Why bother a friend when you can watch someone on video doing the thing you want to do? Why don’t we do the same in our workplaces?

YouTube isn’t the only video platform available of course, but for much of the world, it is the ubiquitous one. Video isn’t just a standalone capability either and is becoming pervasive in many of the social platforms that we use every day, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all increasingly video based.

In a post on Facebook’s quarterly results and community update, released on 1st November 2017, Mark Zuckerberg said:

“Over the next three years, the biggest trend in our products will be the growth of video. This goes both for sharing, where we’ve seen Stories in Instagram and Status in WhatsApp grow very quickly, each with more than 300 million daily actives, and also for consuming video content.”

That’s a lot of video, and it’s not all about cats, some of it is quite useful.

Video also produces higher levels of interaction, we like and comment more when there’s a video.

The corporate world generally lags in such social changes and the use of video is no exception. The use of video in business is only just becoming mainstream for corporate communication and training activities, but barely registers in many organizations collaboration and social networking environments. I am, of course, generalizing, and I’m sure that some organizations are already exploiting video as an effective part of day-to-day operations.

The video content management market is full of organizations that provide a YouTube-like experience within the enterprise, the lack of consolidation in this market suggests that it still has a long way to go before it becomes truly mainstream.

Video capabilities are available in large enterprise collaboration platforms, with Microsoft Office 365 having Stream and enabling video streaming from OneDrive for Business, and Google G Suite providing integration into YouTube and supporting video in Drive. Facebook’s Workplace also provides video support, in much the same way as Facebook itself, which isn’t surprising, but even here I suspect that video is less prominent than in public Facebook.

So why are enterprises slower to adopt video? I can think of a few, but I’d be interested to hear yours, these are mine:

  • Networking – Video requires high capacity network links and many organizations want to save the available bandwidth for business operations. This, of course, implies that video isn’t part of the business operations, when it may well be.
  • Physical space – Open plan offices make the production of video content problematic, and quiet space is often at a premium. There are also physical security considerations in some organizations.
  • Equipment – Apart from the communications department, most organizations don’t prioritise video capabilities in the equipment that is provided, including software. Imagine an organization where on your first day they provided a laptop, a smartphone, a video camera and a copy of video production software. The laptop camera is rarely a good video camera, but many smart phones would do nicely as a video camera alternative.
  • Doing real work? – I suspect that within some organizations the production of a video still isn’t regarded as “real work.” The production of video can be time consuming and the benefits not always immediately visible.
  • Inertia to change – Documents and meetings have been our primary mechanisms for doing business for hundreds of years. The way that we do business changes slowly, most of the time. Social change happens at a different pace and generally ahead of changes in the business environment.

Video has several drawbacks compared to other forms of communication, such as:

  • It’s difficult to make edits to a video.
  • It’s not always easy to find something in the middle of a video.
  • Video presents different accessibility problems.

But the advantages are exactly the same as they are in the public space:

  • Clearer communication
  • Faster resolution
  • Increased interaction

The reality is, though, that the world is changing, and the use of video is expanding rapidly. Video is already being adopted by communications departments, but the use of video in everyday business operations is going quite a bit slower.

Perhaps I should have done this blog as a video? Perhaps next time?


Graham Chastney

Graham Chastney is a senior principal technologist in DXC. He has worked in the arena of workplace technology for over 25 years, starting as a sysprog supporting IBM DISOSS and DEC All-in-1. Latterly Graham has been working with DXC’s customers to help them understand how they exploit the changing world of workplace technology. Graham lives with his family in the United Kingdom.

Twitter: @grahamchastney

Comments

  1. I sometimes think video has the same asymmetry as XML – easy to produce, but hard to consume. It’s perfect for that complex thing you’ve never done before (and will only do once) like stripping down a laptop to clean muck out of the fan (most recent personal example I can think of); but most cases I’d rather read – but it takes more time and effort to craft a blog versus spouting a stream of consciousness vlog.

    There’s also (I think) a special case here for screencasting. It’s less bother to record, easier(ish) to edit, and improves on just slides by adding commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree video is often more difficult to consume, but it produces a significantly higher level of interaction and quite often the value of the video is in the stream of interactions that follow it.

      Like

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