Earlier this year I was invited by Media Platform to attend a webinar on Driving Engagement with your Enterprise Social Network. I was motivated to register by the company’s positioning statement:
“In the age of online video and social media, businesses are forced to adapt to the new reality of how employees and customers want to communicate. Older e-mail and web conferencing technologies are giving way to chat, video, and social collaboration tools. Communication is in real time and highly interactive. Video is a major part of this shift. To stay competitive and agile, enterprises all over the globe are embracing these technologies, and the ones that don’t are at risk of becoming irrelevant to a whole new generation of employees and consumers.”
However, having worked in a variety of businesses and industry sectors in the last few years I’m aware that the number of enterprises “embracing” these new technologies are in the minority. The early rush to jump onto the bandwagon was inevitably followed by tough questions about “value for money” and “return on investment”. For a variety of reasons, these questions are not so easily answered:
A study by Gartner in 2013 stated that “80% of social business efforts will not achieve the intended benefits [this year or next] due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology”.
Denis Duvauchelle, CEO and co-founder of Twoodo wrote an interesting piece about Why enterprises (big and small) are slow to adapt social collaboration tools. Duvauchelle cites poor positioning of the tools including lack of sponsorship and ignorance of the broader capabilities, a poor understanding of the cost / benefits equation, lack of user training.
Video as a corporate communication channel
During 2014, a significant proportion of my time was spent producing a series of bite-sized videos. These were designed to build awareness and understanding of and excitement about IT’s changing role in the business. Before joining the webinar, I was questioning the wisdom of putting so much resource into video. I was therefore interested to find that the webinar’s core proposition was that video can be an effective driver of social engagement and networking within businesses …. but you have to do it right.
Doing it right.
The trouble is that user expectations of video are based on their experience with YouTube that offers easy upload and playback, portability across different applications as well as different devices, opportunities for interactivity (rating / commentary), and so on.
However, the standard video capability available with enterprise collaboration platforms such as SharePoint, Yammer and Jive, does not deliver YouTube performance and functionality. More likely, business users are stuck with a highly inflexible format that may or may not play back on mobile devices. It might also put such a burden on the network that it could adversely affect the performance of other applications and it could also present a multitude of storage and security issues.
The Media Platform webinar was promoting their own “Enterprise YouTube Solution” but they first posed the question: Why does video drive increased enterprise social collaboration solution adoption?
The facts they presented were persuasive:
- The average American watches 90 minutes of video a day on a mobile device.
- In addition to being the largest video site, YouTube is also the second largest search engine on the internet.
- YouTube is where many people, certainly where most millennials, go to learn.
Research has shown that video has a much higher adoption ratio in every type of organisation than even the most popular social collaboration solutions with the two key uses being training and productivity. Many studies have demonstrated that video is a more memorable and efficient way to learn than any other media. Using corporate training videos and giving employees the ability to learn when and how they like, participation and productivity both go up.
Media Platform’s demonstration of their Enterprise YouTube solution developed for SharePoint, Yammer and Jive was a useful checklist in what to consider when using video as a corporate messaging channel. However, what I’ve learned over the past year is that simply deploying the equivalent of a familiar and highly popular channel within your organisation is no guarantee of success. As always, the content needs to be relevant and worth the effort. Even more importantly, the channel needs to suit the cultural environment. The increasing prevalence of corporate training videos shows that most organisations already have a platform they can exploit to get the benefit of a tool that is proving to be an effective driver of social engagement and networking.