As work settings and communications habits continue to evolve in the wake of the pandemic, IT managers face greater pressure than ever before in getting their video platform strategies “right.” Not only are end users demanding more, managers are pushing for the implementation of better video solutions, as well. Of the 480 IT executives surveyed by WH, 70% agree that “management in our organization is pushing the IT department to make more video communications solutions available to all employees.”
Here are some key issues that IT managers should be thinking about as they evaluate solutions that will allow their users to get more out of video – whether working in-office or remotely.
Delivering on Video — Issue #1: Video Security Is Top Priority
Under no circumstances is it acceptable to implement video solutions that expose the corporate network to external risk. Figure 5 illustrates that the issue of “network security” is cited as a very important influence on streaming technology purchase decisions by 68% of IT respondents — more so than any other administrative technology issue.
It is important to note that this survey was fielded ahead of the 2022 crisis in Ukraine. Geopolitical turmoil triggers even greater worries about cybersecurity than are reflected in even these survey results. For the foreseeable future, concerns regarding the security of implementing video solutions will remain a key priority, and video solutions must be evaluated with these security issues in mind.
It is important to remember that security issues extend beyond the need to protect the integrity of the corporate network. As video is used more extensively — and employed increasingly in strategically sensitive communications — the concept of “content security” emerges as a key consideration, as well.
Any video platform deployment must have systems in place that protect video from being accessed by individuals without authority or with ill intent.
Delivering on Video — Issue #2: Take Care of the Network
While issues of security are top-of-mind for virtually all IT executives taking a serious look at implementing enterprise video platforms, concerns about managing video as it flows through the corporate network is a vital issue of focus, as well. Note that — in the results illustrated in Figure 5 — the three issues immediately behind “security” in the pecking order of IT video concerns all focused on issues related to video’s impact on the corporate network.
For better or worse, video represents a bulky package of data to distribute over corporate networks. On a network that is not equipped to handle video at scale, the process of distributing a live video event to hundreds — or even thousands — of workers at the same time can generate a level of demand for bandwidth that can cripple a corporate network. Among 480 IT executives surveyed by Wainhouse in the fourth quarter of 2021, 73% agree that “streaming video threatens the reliability of internal computing networks.”
And concerns over addressing video networking capacity issues run particularly deep among IT executives as they account for the video consumption habits of recently remote workers returning to the office. Overall, 78% of IT executives surveyed agree that “our organization needs to add network capacity in 2022 to address likely increases in video demand as workers return to the office.”
Delivering on Video — Issue #3: Consider a Consolidation Strategy
For many organizations, implementing streaming technologies can be compared to the construction of the Tower of Babel. Many solutions may have been deployed, but few have the capability to talk with one another. More than four-in-ten of the organizations represented in the WH survey (41%) report that they have implemented three or more technology platforms to support their organization’s distribution of one-to-many streaming video.
Such a scattershot approach can be counterproductive. End users have no single tool that they can learn and master while IT administrators deal with multiple video fiefdoms that offer no single, unified approach to managing and distributing video on the corporate network. Simply put, IT executives crave more control and aspire to implement a single, over-arching approach to enabling video behind the corporate firewall. As illustrated in Figure 6, 59% of information technology executives surveyed by WH say that the ability to standardize usage of a single video platform for managing all live and on-demand content is very important.
One can understand the appeal of implementing a centralized approach to managing video in the enterprise. All content gets stored in a single archive. All video events are distributed using the same video networking infrastructure. IT administrators have a single solution to deploy and manage while end users benefit from consistent and reliable access to video content.
The unified approach also lends itself to identifying the scale of solutions that are needed to fully address an organization’s video platform needs. Viewership analytics from a single-platform solution provide an accurate depiction of video consumption activity on the corporate network, providing organizations a single frame of reference when considering the investments needed to support expanding use of video within the organization. As such, companies unable to develop a cohesive strategy for handling video via a single platform solution leave themselves at a disadvantage in responding to the burgeoning demand for video-enabling solutions on their corporate network.
Delivering on Video – Issue #4: Managing Video at Volume
Beyond worrying about swamping corporate networks with video, IT managers also must be cognizant of the risks that come with generating large amounts of video content without an effective way for users to find content relevant to them.
During COVID, more organizations have become digital video packrats, assembling larger and larger archives of video content. More than one-fourth of all organizations represented in the WH survey (26%) report that they are recording and capturing at least 25 hours of video content monthly. In 2019 – the last full survey year prior to COVID – only 21% reporte3d archiving video at a comparable rate.
But more video can translate into more problems if end users cannot find the video they need. Indeed, frustrations with video search are palpable among those at organizations with comparatively large video archives. Among survey respondents working at organizations with 100 or more hours of archived video content, 72% agree that “when searching for content that I need, relevant on-demand videos are harder to find than text documents.”
The challenge for IT administrators is to implement technology platforms that help the right piece of video get to the right person at the right time. Typically, this means embracing video platforms that offer AI-based automated speech-to-text solutions that make it possible to convert the audio tracks from a file into digital text suitable for searching. The searchable text makes it possible for users to enter a query on a specific phrase and jump directly to a video passage where that phrase is used by a speaker.
IT administrators appear to be highly interested in solutions that can enhance the searchability of video files. As illustrated in Figure 7, a cumulative 67% of IT executives surveyed agree that “our workers would use video archives more frequently if provided the ability to use specific search terms to find and retrieve targeted, relevant video passages.”
The ability to get relevant video in front of end-users should be a key priority for IT administrators considering the next steps in implementing video platform solutions. Just like the tree falling in a forest that is not heard if no one is around, a snippet of video generates no business impact if it goes unwatched. And watching video is impossible for workers who cannot find the videos they need. As the volume of archived video continues to surge as individuals embrace video in post- pandemic work settings, it is incumbent upon IT teams to implement solutions that help users find needles of relevant content hiding in their digital video haystacks.
TIME TO TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR ORGANIZATION’S VIDEO STRATEGY
When it comes to video in the enterprise, IT managers are standing on the cusp of an entirely new era – with an entirely different set of end-user expectations and a largely untested playbook for addressing burgeoning demand for video in a rapidly changing work environment. No
time is better than now to evaluate your organization’s current video technology footprint and formulate a strategy for implementing solutions that can address the emerging challenges of enabling video at scale. Here are some basic first steps that you should take as you start this journey:
- Take a Look Around: Assess how video demand has changed in your organization during the pandemic. Is video being used more broadly? Have increases in security threats prompted you to evaluate how video information is being shared? What remote work policies are being implemented by your organization and how is that likely to impact the overall demand for video from your end users?
- Identify Prospective Video “Power Users”: Figure out who’s likely to be using video the most extensively. Not all video adopters are created equal. Those working in information-intensive disciplines (i.e., finance, human resources) are likely to be using video more frequently
than those on the manufacturing line, for instance. Align your implementation strategies to prioritize end users who have the greatest need for using video.
- Evaluate Video Solutions Now in Place: Once you’ve identified the likely demand for video within your organization, take the time to analyze the weak links of your existing video strategy. Do you need better content management solutions, more detailed viewership analytics, or maybe a more unified approach to handling video across the board? Do you have adequate safeguards to make sure only authorized employees can access a specific video? An honest self-appraisal helps your team address issues before they become critical chokepoints in your efforts to leverage video more effectively.
- Solidify Your Video Distribution Strategy: Shore up your corporate network to address the traffic spikes that can be associated with widespread viewership of business video behind the corporate firewall. If video cannot move from Point A to Point B, employees will never see the videos and the content will generate no impact on business outcomes whatsoever. Networks equipped with the proper infrastructure for disseminating videos can help ensure a reliable viewing experience for workers while forestalling the data bottlenecks that create implementation nightmares for network administrators.
- Build with an Eye on the Future: Where possible, build for scale while still early in the implementation process. Video demand is doing nothing but increasing. History shows that viewership only increases over time as individuals develop experience with – and awareness of – video communications technologies. The right infrastructure can help you better manage how workers access videos as adoption grows. The pandemic has unleased the video genie from the bottle. Don’t plan for the capacity of today, plan for a platform that supports sustained growth in video usage over the course of the next three years.