Imagine a company that runs its own private YouTube for its employees. The CEO shares the quarterly update not in an e-mail but as a video. An engineer shows off a new prototype on screen and solicits comments. New employees don’t have to gather in a conference room to hear about retirement benefits; they just watch a video and type in their questions.
With video easier to create and share than ever, shouldn’t it be pervasive in the workplace? That’s the theory behind Kaltura’s MediaSpace application and environment, which lets organizations instantly launch a videocentric site — either hosted or on-premises — where employees (and customers) can search, browse, watch, share and upload videos and video presentations, with full management and moderation options. To date, 150,000 companies have signed on.
“Video has become a productivity tool. It can transform how people work and interact, and transform workplaces,” says Michal Tsur, co-founder and president of Kaltura. “It’s becoming much more common to produce and consume, and it’s clear to everyone that it’s very effective.”
It’s a cultural shift, says Tsur, in which adopting video internally as a form of knowledge sharing and collaboration creates a more social enterprise with “many to many” communications. Video need not just be produced centrally. Any employee can open a video channel and have others follow it and join in. The bottom line: “Using video cuts costs for things like training, increases productivity, is perfect for engaging customers, and has a very clear and measurable ROI,” she says.
How can video become a central focus in a socially oriented enterprise?
Think of video as just another internal document.
“In our company we communicate and collaborate with video the way we do with memos, e-mails, and PowerPoint. Video has become a basic type of office communication,” says Tsur. It’s a growing trend. In a recent Forrester study, 25 percent of IT decision makers said they were already adopting video solutions for internal use, while another 20 percent said they were planning to do so. The theory: if you say it with video, more people will absorb the message.
Add video to workgroup systems you already use.
In social enterprises, communication is evolving from the one-to-many format (the CEO’s e-mail to the troops) to the many-to-many format (think Facebook, Twitter, and Yammer). So far it’s happened mainly with text, but video can be grafted onto the types of workgroup software that businesses already use. For example, Kaltura offers a plug-in for Microsoft SharePoint, and customers are asking for a similar plug-ins for Jive, Salesforce.com, and IBM Connections.
The demand for more video in the workplace is a bottom-up phenomenon, a sort of offshoot of the consumerization of technology that finds employees wanting to take advantage of their smartphone or tablet’s video capabilities at work as much as they do at home. And, as Tsur notes, everyone prefers consuming videos over other formats, whether it’s live content, high-production-value content, or a simple smartphone video that lasts only a few seconds.
Of course, control and management is a concern, so Kaltura MediaSpace gives its users the power to segregate videos into channels with specific access controls, moderate comments, and open channels up to viewers outside the organization with as much moderation and control as they think is necessary.
Transform your training.
The most obvious use for video in the workplace is for training. Virtually every company that uses the Kaltura platform uses it at least in part for this purpose, says Tsur. On-demand training at any time on any screen is far more efficient than classroom training, especially classroom training that requires travel. The cost savings and productivity bump can be huge as trainers can “take attendance,” create pop-up quizzes, and drill into analytics to measure the success of individual students.
Companies as large as real estate giant Coldwell Banker have latched on to the virtual university idea, using video to deliver standardized training to its 88,000 employees spread across more than 3,000 locations in 50 countries. Groupon is on board as well, using Kaltura’s video system to train more than 12,000 employees.
Invent new kinds of collaboration.
Just as YouTube encourages comments, Kaltura’s video system allows not only conversations appended to videos but also moderation of those discussions and time-stamping so commenters can point to a particular moment in the video.
“Most enterprises are not very social, so how do you make it easy for them to be social?” asks Tsur. This kind of animated conversation is one way.
In fact, says Tsur, queries about internal video platforms tend to come not from IT but from the managers responsible for building more social enterprises and finding ways to enrich idea exchanges and brainstorming. They’re looking for ways to augment the workgroup systems they already use, capture and share ideas for best practices that can come from anyone in any corner of the business, and provide a forum for responses.
Use video for customer outreach and lead generation.
Video in the workplace can also reach beyond the office walls and connect with partners, clients, and customers. “Video is great for lead generation,” says Tsur. “You can set up a video portal and share case studies or product tutorials. If you have the means of producing a lot of video, it’s a really good attention-grabbing way to engage with potential customers and to answer questions that your current customers may have.” One good example: retail site Zappos, where product videos are used to bolster sales and decrease product returns.
“Video can transform the way people interact, and it can transform workplaces,” says Tsur. Maybe it can even make the workday a little more fun.