With the rapid growth of enterprise social platforms on the corporate intranet, more and more companies are discovering the value of having employees and executives collaborate and share information in real time using intranet solutions that function like Facebook.
Microsoft Yammer, Jive, Salesforce Chatter, IBM Connections, Newsgator, and Socialcast, are all solutions playing in this new market.
Like Facebook all of these platforms allow users to upload and share video. Most however are simple file uploads, much like an attachment, the original source video file remains in it’s original format and this will become a major headache for IT departments and Communication departments, as complaints from employees come pouring in because they can’t play the file on their device or because the video streaming experience is less than optimal. For example, if an employee uploads and shares a Windows Media Video file (.wmv) it will play on windows desktops, but not on Macs (without downloading and installing windows media player which Mac users are loathe to do), nor will it work on Android or iOS devices. It’s the wild west and will quickly become unmanageable.
Jive and Newsgator have taken the step of adding a video app to their platforms. Jive has licensed a solution from a company called Twistage which was recently purchased, but not by Jive. Newsgator has technology built by enterprise video software vendor Kontiki, it’s sort of a Kontiki lite.
So, great, problem solved right? Not so fast. Even if your enterprise social platform offers a video app, they are still lacking a great deal of necessary capabilities that various stake holders in your organization will quickly run up against. The Jive Video Module can only stream Flash video at 500K. It doesn’t support true Adaptive Bit Rate HTTP Streaming, so video quality is not great, and some viewers will still suffer from dreaded buffering. It also means that the videos are not compatible with Android and iOS devices. Also these apps are not true media solutions that have the kind of asset management and analytics that the media pros in the corporate communications and marketing departments require. So this will mean that while employees might be able to easily upload and share video with each other, your enterprise social platform will quickly become a silo of those kinds of video assets, while internal media production teams, internal and employee communication, and corporate communication, HR and training stakeholders are forced to use a separate platforms to meet their requirements for asset management, analytics, live video streaming, webcasting and training. They will also be forced to upload videos for employee communications into separate platforms, and multiple times, making their workflows more time consuming and complicated.
These silos also create headaches for IT, since they will be tasked with finding a way to integrate the different solutions, and will have to deal with video assets being scattered all over the enterprise. Here’s a scenario to illustrate what I’m talking about;
I recently worked with a Global Fortune 500 company that had a variety of solutions on their intranet which had some kind of video uploading functionality. SharePoint, IBM Connections, and their enterprise learning solution Mindflash. In addition they had a media production team that was creating videos for executive and employee communications, marketing, and live video events like CEO Town-halls They had video silos all over the place. Videos were being uploaded by employees in different places, and the communications department was having to upload videos into multiple solutions. Live video events were being hosted on a totally separate platform. There was no one place where all of this could be managed. All different types of video file formats were being used, and video compatibility was a major problem with thousands of videos in a half a dozen different formats. There was no way for employees to easily search for and find relevant video content, or to play it on different devices, and they had no way of gathering analytics from all of these different solutions into a single, sensible view of video usage and engagement.
So what’s the solution? The problems associated with the proliferation of video in the enterprise due to the consumerization of workplace technologies, the growing adoption of video as a predominate medium for communications and training, and the growing trends of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) can only be comprehensively addressed by a true Enterprise Video Platform, or Enterprise “YouTube” solution which makes it easy for employees to upload and share video, transcodes any video file format into a standard streaming format which will work accross all browsers and devices without apps or plugins, has the robust asset management, analytics, live video streaming and security functionality that IT, Communications and Media departments require, and can integrate with intranet solutions like SharePoint, Yammer, Learning Management Systems, Enterprise Content Management solutions, and Enterprise Search Appliances.
If your marketing and communications department is like most, you’re creating multimedia content—webcasts, webinars, videos—throughout the year to support your campaigns. But once your library grows beyond a handful of items a unique challenge begins to present itself: How do you aggregate your content in a way that keeps older presentations fresh while continuing to grow an audience for new material?
A multimedia content portal can be an effective way to meet this challenge, providing you with powerful content management and aggregation tools which enable you to increase engagement with existing viewers while continually adding new eyes. They also support a shift from promoting a single piece of content with each communication toward building an ongoing, more integrated content strategy.
Portals offer a number of key benefits:
- Presenting a variety of content types (webcasts/webinars, on-demand audio or video clips, and supporting resources for download) in a single, branded experience creates a true “destination” and unique experience for viewers.
- Single sign-on access to all content in the portal means viewers aren’t repeatedly asked for their information, easing discovery of all the events and clips available.
- Event- and portal-level reporting allow you to track users’ activity across multiple content sets, providing meaningful feedback on which pieces are resonating most with viewers.
- Custom branding ensures the look and feel of your portal is consistent with the rest of your campaign, your existing web properties and corporate identity.
- Working with your webcast provider to create a multimedia content portal eases reliance on your own internal IT and web development teams, and provides a faster path to market, than creating a similar infrastructure on your own company website.
- Creating compelling content costs time and money—a multimedia content portal can help you get more out of that investment by extending the shelf-life of your multimedia assets.
- Cross-promoting older videos or webcasts by presenting them alongside newer, related content can help increase engagement for viewers looking for more information and deeper insight.
- A portal acts as a complete repository for your content—from webinars and webcasts to video clips, podcasts and PDFs—enabling you to tell a compelling story for viewers that goes far beyond a single event.
This is an excerpt from the MediaPlatform Whitepaper by Dan W. Rasmus. For the full Whitepaper on SlideShare: Embracing Employee Generated Video for Organizational Learning
“Americans like watching video. According to the The Nielsen Company American adults watch an average of 35.6 hours per person, per week. From August 2009 to August 2010 ComScore analysis reveals a 20 percent Year-over-Year increase in YouTube engagement, while Hulu was up 13.7 percent. Yet at work, we insist that people write down what they know, and file it away in online databases. Most people’s lives revolve around e-mail. We know from personal experience that much of that written content is abandoned some after it is placed into the repository, if it is every looked at in the first place.
With an aging workforce on one hand, and a high-turn over prone millennial workforce on the other, perhaps it is time to actively add video to the arsenal of tools that help people transfer knowledge within organizations.
The Crumbling Barriers to Personal Video at Work
Barrier One: Professional Video The first barrier to crumble between regular individuals and video is the thought of: Why me? Why am I important enough to be on video? Historically, moving images were professionally produced, and they featured world leaders and athletes, politicians and entertainers. Home movies put the recording of life into the hands of individuals, but those films were mostly for the capture of family memories, not for sharing knowledge. And for the most part, they didn’t include sound. It wasn’t until the 1976 release of the Video Home System (VHS) by Panasonic and JVC that video became instant. Sharing became as easy as popping a tape into a friend’s VHS player. Although some stigmas still exist about appearing on camera, popular culture is quickly eradicating those. Students in dorm rooms, group outings and family pets are now common subjects for video. Over 7.5 million viewers on average watch ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos to see crazy animal antics and human pratfalls. And reality stars, from the Kardashians to Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame have become celebrities themselves, by mostly being themselves. Although many “reality” television shows aren’t all that real, they have clearly removed the requirement to be a trained professional before getting in front of a camera.
Barrier Two: Access to Recording Technology
Along with the onslaught of video programming over the air, on cable and through the Internet, technology has nearly eliminated the next barrier to video: access. Mobile phones commonly come equipped with video cameras, increasingly two of them: one for shooting video and the other for video chatting. According to CTIA-The Wireless Association, America reached a 96-percent penetration rate for wireless subscribers in 2010. Almost everyone now owns a video camera.
In fact, according to eTForecasts, PC penetration is at over 95 percent. As notebook computers replace desktop computers, and monitors come equipped with cameras, most people buying new devices will have a video camera pointed at them all the time. Prices of High Definition (HD) cameras that record at 1080p have dropped near, or in some cases under, $100 US, the price point at which a technology becomes generally accessible to all consumers.
Storage Anyone who has managed film, video or floppy disks libraries knows that storage was expensive, both in terms of media, and in terms of time. With storage costs for 2 terabyte hard disks reaching the $100 mark, storage has become a commodity. A 2 terabyte drive will hold over 200 standard DVDs or over 40 high quality Blu-ray equivalents. Much of the video shot, however, is of lower quality, making the storage limits even more impressive. Of course, you will probably need at least two drives, because you will want to backup all that video.
Consumer trends in storage extend to the enterprise, where disk space is becoming nearly limitless for most practical purposes, either through huge corporate server farms or through pay-as-you-go cloud services. Storage is cheap and organizations that want to start capturing video won’t have a problem finding a place to put it.
Bandwidth Bandwidth, like storage, has become relatively inexpensive, and its quality has improved. Although consumers still complain about dropped calls or inaccessible cellular data services, when they do have a connection that connection is usually good enough to stream video. Those with home-based broadband have no issue streaming video to Internet enable devices. Large enterprises also have big pipes, often optimized for streaming video internally, as well as from external sources.
Incorporation The four barriers to the use of video in enterprises leaves one more barrier: the willingness to incorporate video into the lifestyle of the firm. Having people sit in front of a computer and talk to themselves, or schedule time to be interviewed may be far from common practice. Organizations that recognize the value of video will accept it through clear use by management, by managers sharing their own knowledge, and regular requests for video as a means of fulfilling a knowledge request from all levels of the organization. The formalization of video as a tool for knowledge capture creates permission for its use.
Making the Case for Capturing Knowledge via Video
Video has many advantages over other formats. It is not ideal for capturing all forms of knowledge, but it clearly has advantages over text, images or audio. Here is a list of video’s advantages.
Sensory-Rich Context Video permits people to capture events, processes and practices with sound and images. Experts can watch them and comment on what they are seeing, in person, or as an audio overlay track. Many aspiring directors and film buffs know that if they want to learn about how movies are made, the audio commentary by a director on a DVD proves a source of invaluable insight. The sensory-rich clues in the action prompt the director to return to the emotional state that better traces their memory than if they were to recall something cold. Video creates rich context.
Control Video provides the ability to view portions of a process or practice over and over, including slowing down the action, and rewinding to review detail. Depending on how much video exits, and the sources of the narratives, it can deliver multiple perspectives, including points of view at various stages of a process, comparisons across applications in location or time. Even the most astute viewer or process recorder is likely to miss something if they are jotting notes at the pace of an activity. Video allows for multiple viewings of the same event so that every detail can be gleaned.
Convenience Some firms have found that a switch to mobile video increases use because it recognizes the reality of placeless work, permitting people to view and learn anywhere, anytime. Video can be delivered to any Smartphone or media player, PC or tablet. Unlike text, video can also be a multiple person experience, which can include a review of meaning and implications as part of the experience. Video creates a much more intimate and immediate venue for learning than does the review and later discussion of text-based documents. And of course, neither approach is mutually exclusive.
Non-Invasive Video cameras can be set up to record work practices without the invasiveness of interviews. They can capture a field of view for physical processes, which can be important to augment steps not recalled or accurately described by the participant. They can also passively capture meetings, so that those meetings can be replayed by absent team members, or studied by people transferring into a new role.
Deep Historical Record Learning is not static. As organizations continue to evolve, video creates a benchmark against which to test theories and confirm data. When video combines with written or audio recollection, the combination is more powerful than either form of media alone. Video plays an important role, both as a prompt for people sharing their thoughts about what they are viewing, and as a new artifact in its own right.
Stories Although video can capture factual dissertations that dryly recount steps in a process or a list of lessons learned, video, unlike most business writing, lends itself to storytelling. If those who use video start with activities like teaching back, 20 questions, task analysis, event recall or walking through a case study, then they will imbue their stories with more detail, and therefore more knowledge. Even seemingly difficult to record experiences like solving an equation can be captured using “protocol analysis” that asks the participant to think out loud about what their brain is doing, including any missteps or trace backs. These can be very enlightening to people learning something new, and they can also be valuable to the expert in evaluating their own approach. With multi-layered production, the expert problem solver could record a video track that discusses the original problem solving video, creating yet another level of insight. (See the sidebar Capturing Knowledge from Retiring Employees for more detail on knowledge acquisition techniques)
Rethinking Knowledge Management
Knowledge management suffered from two major flaws when it was introduced. First, it was too focused on altruism as a motivation. Second, knowledge management relied on the technology of structure to envelop the disclosed knowledge. People had to record what they knew, and then place it into repositories rich with curated metadata.
In the era of social media, altruism is replaced with a market, and with relationships. Motivation comes from reputation; it comes from quid pro quo. We need not create artificial monetary incentives that try to get people to share what they know. In a social media environment people share what they know because they receive value from the sharing. This however, presumes that organizations permit the creation of knowledge markets and that those markets create their own rewards.
It is true that not everyone participates in the social media experience, and it may well be the most knowledgeable people will shun the new experience at its onset. The effort turns then, not to getting people to share what they know, but to engage in the social environment. E-mail and other technologies of isolation help keep people in silos. Social media helps get people involved in sharing what they know as part of their day-to-day work. Knowledge transfer becomes part of routine communication. People’s need to belong creates motivation as the fabric of new knowledge moves into the social environment. By focusing on learning and sharing knowledge through the mediation of technology, rather than using technology to capture the knowledge, people may find the contextual, human-to-human exchange its own incentive.
Creating enterprise “YouTubes” is a key technology requirement for the video-enable social enterprise. These internal video sites need to easily facilitate the upload of video, along with tagging and searchable text that describes the video. But rather than turning these new video artifacts over to librarians, individuals will code them with tags and descriptions they feel are appropriate. As the video is encountered by others, they can augment its search terms to make it more discoverable. If people have a passion for what they are sharing, they will take the time to make the content easy to find. In the long term, software will be able to extract meaning from audio, video and textual documents so that the organization of content becomes much less labor intensive.
Social media is not a single channel technology. Ideally, as on the Internet, videos or conversations in one channel will prompt recognition in another, as when a video goes “viral” with its link being posted on Facebook, Twitter, StumpleUpon and other sites. Video can play a role in change management by helping people visualize future states. Knowledge need not be limited to current practice, but can include knowledge about envisioning the future of an organization, a function, practice or a technology. Organizations need to avoid asking its workers to create “viral videos” but rather watch to see what does become viral and understand the meaning of that social phenomenon within the organizational context.
Much of knowledge management, however, remains about a specific piece of knowledge, required at a specific moment—a moment that seldom seems to coincide with the capture or creation of that knowledge. But that is changing. In formal systems with managed repositories, the attempt is made to anticipate and forecast what knowledge will be required and make sure it is available. With social enterprise, search may be less about typing in the right keywords and more about knowing the right people. Asking a social network for information may lead to more contextually precise content, including appropriate video material, than would the same query posted to a search engine. And unlike search engines, people can provide more definitive statements about what does and doesn’t exist, which may prompt the creation of a video or document just-in-time. Many knowledge management implementations focus on answering specific questions from others, which ties a specific instance to an answer, creating metadata and context passively. The ubiquity of video capture devices offer a good alternative to typing out an answer or otherwise documenting a solution. Video is ideal in situations where props or physical examples would augment the answer.
Venkatesh G. Rao, of Ribbon Farm, suggests there is a war brewing between Millennials and Baby Boomers over knowledge management and social media. Baby Boomers either see knowledge management as a failed 1990s discipline or continue to adhere to its ideological roots that steep it in terms like expertise location, knowledge capture and communities of practice. The action oriented Millennials want to get things done and move on, in a fluid, organic and dynamic virtual environment. Millennials don’t resonate with the creation of knowledge artifacts left lying around for others to consume. In most circumstances, Millennials would find little value in history. For them, the innate complexity of today’s working environment means that looking backward translates to being wrong. Only by asking in the moment does one get the most current and useful answer.
The reality of the need for enterprises may lie somewhere between these extremes. Deep, highly managed repositories have not always paid off for those trying to justify initial investments through the reapplication of the knowledge they hold, but the Millennial propensity to look at all knowledge as fleeting and ephemeral may prove inadequate for really tough problems that require historical perspective or deep knowledge about a product or process. Social media and video may prove the best technologies for bridging this chasm between business need and willingness to engage. Social media creates the channel for those answers of the moment, but it also permits the sharing of existing content when it is relevant—helping balance the need for innovation with the need to reduce risk and maintain context.
And with the ubiquity of video capture devices, and the ever lower cost of bandwidth and storage, more of that knowledge is likely to be captured in video, where the future may encounter not only the knowledge it needs, but to also understand the context and the personalities of people who experience that knowledge first hand.”