The Four Problems of Enterprise Video

Have you heard? Video in the workplace is taking off.

Not surreptitious sports streaming, not sharing the latest viral sensation, not clicking through on the latest YouTube hit — real, valuable business video with real, valuable business ROI.

In organizations around the world, video has become an essential tool to expand employee learning and development while reducing training costs, improve engagement with executive and human resources communications messages, enable and encourage social learning and collaborative innovation, standardize and scale onboarding and sales enablement, and so much more — on top of the existing traditional business uses in marketing, sales, and customer service.

Yet for all it’s opportunity — and all it’s pervasiveness — too few businesses have taken steps to support video in their enterprise IT ecosystems.

Today Forrester reports just half of large organizations have implemented an enterprise solution for video. The data is of even greater concern for smaller and midsize organizations, where only 2 in 5 have addressed the unique challenges of video.

Too many organizations are content to treat video like any other content — and allow employees to use it however works best for their needs. In principle, it’s an approach that embraces flexibility and technical evolution — in practice, however, not having a comprehensive plan for enabling employees to use video generally leads to four serious problems:

File Size — “The SharePoint Problem”

Mobile File Size - Panopto Enterprise Video PlatformEven short videos from webcams and smartphones quickly exceed the max file size of the most widely used enterprise content management system.

Just 60 seconds of video recorded with an iPhone 5s yields an 80MB file. The same video taken on an iPhone 4 results is even larger, coming in at 150MB. Those both already exceed the 50MB default maximum file size for SharePoint.

Of course, your organization can increase your SharePoint’s max file size, but only to 2GB. Even that only allows for a 25 minute video from the iPhone 5s — not nearly enough for a 30-60 minute training session, quarterly update announcement, technical process demo, or most other common business video use cases.

It’s a problem not unique to SharePoint, either. The same problem applies to the LMSs many organizations use.

Cornerstone has a 100MB max per file. Docebo is limited to 128MB. Moodle can allow for 200MB, but depending on the file type, may limit you to quite a bit less.

Discoverability — “The Google Problem”

Inside Video Search Explainer Video - Panopto Video PlatformVideo is the one type of enterprise data that not even Google has figured out how to index and search. Sure, Google and many enterprise systems can search the additional data you manually add to a video file — titles, descriptions, creators, tags, and comments — but they aren’t able to look at the actual content of the video.

This problem is amplified in an organizational setting, where videos commonly run 30-60 minutes, and significant parts of a corporate video library include 2- and 4-hour training sessions. There is simply no way all the concepts discussed in that video can be captured, indexed, and discovered by a regular search engine looking only at manual metadata. Which means anything not noted in those tags is effectively lost.

And even when traditional search does succeed in finding a relevant recording, it still can’t help employees find the exact moment they needed. Imagine having to hunt and peck through the timeline of a two-hour-long training video to find the 5 minutes covering the specific topic you need, and you can quickly see how frustrating (and inefficient) this can be.

Governance — “The YouTube Problem”

Video files are big. Many employees who record video as part of their roles find that simply saving those large files to their desktop (a common end result for many video and screen capture solutions) quickly creates a problem with storage capacity.

Video files are also almost always created to be shared. Most employees who record videos for work seek to find a way to share them with colleagues the moment they are ready.

Whether the goal is storage, sharing, or both, employees left unguided will upload their videos wherever it’s most convenient. And where they do so is almost never the best option.

In many cases, employees will elect to upload a file to an existing company shared drive or network LAN. These sites are seldom optimized for video however – they’re not built to support massive video file sizes, they don’t effectively stream video to laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and they don’t allow the video content to be searched.
Confidential Meeting - Panopto Enterprise Video Platform
In other cases — especially when the files are too big for internal file share sites — employees default to the public sharing sites they already know. Sometimes it’s YouTube. Sometimes Dropbox. Sometimes it’s one of the dozens (if not hundreds) of other public storage sites. The problem remains the same — your internal, potentially confidential organizational information is now outside your walls, where competitors, press, investors, or anyone else may find it.

Format Incompatibility — “The Flash Problem”

While we like to think new technology must always accommodate old, we know that’s not true — Apple as just one example famously does not support Flash video on any of its iPhones or iPads. That in turn presents a real concern for organizations with an archive of flash-encoded videos — how can you make those accessible to the likely 50% or more of your employees who carry an Apple device?

File Types - Panopto Enterprise Video PlatformOf course, the iPhone’s lack of support for Flash merely scratches the surface of the problem.

The matrix of available and in-use tablets and smartphones, and their respective recording and viewing capabilities, is huge — and has the potential to grow with every new device.

Nor is the problem limited to mobile devices — many types of video common in the enterprise cannot be watched without a proprietary player. Default WebEx-encoded recordings, many types of screen recordings, and other specialty videos may not play back even on a standard PC, let alone an iPhone or Android tablet.

Your employees will use any device they see fit both to record and to view your business videos. In the enterprise, now is the time for someone to make sure all those devices can exist in harmony — and that employees aren’t locked out of critical training or communications video just because of file compatibility issues.

An Enterprise Video Platform — The “Corporate YouTube” Solution

None of these problems are insurmountable.

Your organization could ratchet up max file sizes and manually encode video files so they fit under that limit.

You could invest in video search technologies like optical character recognition and speech-to-text, and build a script into your internal content management system to use those tools when indexing video content.

You could set up firewalls to prevent access to sites like YouTube and DropBox.

You could even build scripts that take a range of existing video file formats and convert them into mobile-ready formats.

But for most organizations, the reality is that the upfront costs, time, and ongoing development and maintenance required to reactively accommodate video are simply too steep — especially in the age of lean IT organizations.

In the past few years, though, a new type of enterprise software has emerged that addresses these and other challenges associated with organizational video. The market calls it a Video Content Management System (VCMS) or an Enterprise Video Platform (EVP) — although just as commonly people refer to it as the “Corporate YouTube.”

A VCMS is a content repository that is built for the specific needs of video. Located either in the cloud or installed on a server behind your firewall, a VCMS can help you solve the problems of enterprise video, by:

  • Supporting massive multi-GB individual video files and even more massive, multi-TB video libraries
  • Enabling search that indexes the actual content of your videos — every word spoken, and every word that appears on-screen (along with traditional video metadata, of course)
  • Not caring what file type (container and codec) your videos come in, or what device you’re delivering video to. It provides a universal way to translate existing videos into mobile-friendly formats – to standardize video for any device
  • Allowing you to stream video to mobile devices regardless of how much hard disk space you have on your device, and what connection speed you’re using
  • And as video file formats evolve, VCMSs simply release updates to support the new formats so that you don’t have to worry about them

CIO Enterprise Video Whitepaper - Panopto VCMS
Find out more!
See how an enterprise video platform can help organizations manage video, improve security, reduce costs, and more in our white paper, “5 Reasons Why Every CIO Needs A Video Content Management System”.

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Published: September 11, 2014