The Tech Industry’s Secret Productivity Tool: Video
Ask people to name a word that describes the tech industry today and one you’ll likely hear over and over is “fast”.
It’s easy to see why. Now a generation into the promises of Moore’s Law, hardware today is operating at a pace that has been known to literally melt servers. Broadband WiFi has been adopted faster than any communications technology in history — even television or the internet itself. An array of devices now inhabit our pockets, our homes, our workplaces, our cars, and our hands.
Software, in turn, has played the part of opportunist — launching web services, apps, APIs, SaaS solutions, and countless billions of other tools to help people connect, direct, optimize, and measure their lives. This incredible array of opportunity has sparked a near-instant global obsession with quick connectivity, both technical and social.
Scale and efficiency are now the two biggest hurdles to success in the tech industry — and pointed questions for every VC, IPO manager, and CEO in the field. That’s because fundamentally, technology can be only as smart as the people who design it. If a company can’t effectively grow its internal expertise, it won’t be able to keep up in the market for long.
In a world where getting big quickly is essential and complete understanding of complicated technical architecture is a must, tech companies need a secret weapon to make continuous growth possible.
Fortunately many have already found just such a tool: video.
How Are Modern Technology Companies Using Video Today?
Capturing and Retaining Subject Matter Expertise
Today virtually every organization in the tech industry — big or small, startup or established — relies on subject matter experts to develop, manage, maintain, and enhance components of their internal processes or product architecture. Generalists are no longer the norm in technology — even a company as large and established as Microsoft has noted that it every one of its employees is a subject matter expert in something.
This reliance on experts, however, creates its own problem — when an expert leaves the organization (whether for lunch, vacation, or with a new job elsewhere), their expertise walks out with them. Often that wisdom can be almost irreplaceable, especially in the short term — losing just one key expert might mean a tech company no longer knows its own channel strategy, the maintenance process for its overseas servers, how its authentication system integrates with its service offering, or any number of other potential crises that must be faced while a replacement is found and trained.
Video, however, offers an easy solution. As the New York Times has noted, asking experts to record what they know — demonstrating processes, showing best practices, sharing tips and pointers — is an easy way to ensure their institutional knowledge is safely stored for reference. Such social learning videos can even help your experts become more efficient — freeing them from answering the same questions over and over as other employees can instead just watch a quick video to find the expertise they need.
Documenting Processes and Architecture
For many technology teams, “documentation” can be a five-syllable four-letter-word. The process is painstaking, often requiring book-length description of even simple processes — documenting more complicated products or processes can quickly become an endeavor on par with writing an unabridged encyclopedia. And what’s worse — all that work is for naught the minute any part of it is fixed, improved, or otherwise updated. No wonder some tech companies leave documentation to the interns — if anyone at all.
Here too, video offers an efficient solution. Even with nothing more than a screen recorder and webcam or smartphone camera, technology teams can easily record themselves documenting any and every aspect of products, processes, and more. Other employees instead rely on the videos as guides they can access on-demand whenever they have a question.
Better still, video is fast and easy enough that companies don’t need to pass off documentation anymore — experts can just click record and walk through the project in minutes. Modern video platforms like Panopto can instantly make the resulting video shareable with anyone inside an organization, as well as searchable by any word spoken or shown on-screen during the recording. It’s no wonder why ITBusinessEdge has recommended video as a strategy for enhancing documentation.
Enabling Informal Knowledge Sharing
As long as people have been going to work, they’ve been trading ideas, tips, and best practices with each other. We’re just now, however, coming to learn just how vital — and prevalent — this information exchange has become. Studies now estimate that 70-80% of on-the-job learning comes from this social learning rather than formal training. That’s with good reason — research from Indiana University has shown employee productivity and problem solving capability are improved more by social learning than by innovation.
Teams in technology companies are absolutely filled with valuable know-how — process and architecture information to be sure, but often almost as useful, expertise on simple issues like how to build a SQL query, how to access an API, how to modify CSS, or just how to refill the coffee pot. Organizations that enable employees to record and share this expertise often find they build vast and valuable internal video libraries, with answers ready for just about any quick question that may come up.
Making On-Demand Training Available Anytime, Anywhere
With the rise of remote workers and time-shifted schedules in the tech industry, it’s never been more difficult to be sure essential training information is shared with every employee. A mountain of schedule conflicts and distance issues have created an environment where tech companies are forced to choose between asking their trainers to repeat the same session over and over, or allowing some employees to simply skip out of training classes.
It’s a problem that only worsens as the importance of the session rises — most companies can’t afford to allow their people to miss compliance training or key technical demonstrations.
Here, however, is where video is arguably strongest. Recording training sessions and making them available on an internal video library is an easy way to ensure this essential information is available to everyone. Panopto even helps tech companies take accessibility a step further, automatically transcoding every video to be viewable anytime on any device, meaning employees can catch up on their training while on their morning bus ride, in the evening after the kids are in bed, or anytime in between. And thanks to detailed video analytics, tech companies can know what videos are being watched, and whether any given member of the team has completed any particular video.
Getting started at any organization is no easy task for a new hire. For new employees coming into a tech company, it can be an almost impossible maze — technology to learn, processes to pick up, culture to inculcate — there’s a reason why 1 in 4 new hires who quit within six months cite failure to provide adequate onboarding as their reason for leaving. Yet for tech companies, who often pride themselves on having a “just jump right in” culture, structuring a 90-day onboarding program can be a completely foreign concept — with no one available to lead it anyway.
When it comes to onboarding, video can be a tool that makes it easy to take just about any organization’s onboarding programs to the next level. With video onboarding, tech companies can rest assured knowing that new hires are getting a complete overview of the organization and their new teams, detailed looks at the company’s products, processes, and competition, and even inside expertise on how to best succeed as part of the organization. And because video is always available, setting up the kind of long-term onboarding process that correlates with improved learning and enhanced retention is as easy as setting up an automated email.
For 15 ideas for enhancing the new employee onboarding process with video — and a simple guide to creating an onboarding program that works — download our free onboarding white paper, “Make Every First Day A Great One,” today.
On-Demand Product Training For Sales and Support
Sit in with the sales or support teams at most tech companies, and one of the phrases you’ll hear often is “I didn’t even know we did that!” For many in the tech industry, a key challenge in everyday business is just figuring out how to help those employees charged with interacting with customers — sales, support, marketing, and others — know the product as well as the engineering or development teams do. Especially for B2B tech companies, where the buyer is likely to be just as technically proficient as the developers, ensuring that the service teams can speak the same language is a must.
Rather than dedicating part of the development team to “Tier 2 Support”, many tech companies are finding that the same video that helps teach new developers the finer points of product architecture can be used to teach other business units the details of how the company’s offerings actually work. Best of all, because a modern video platform like Panopto indexes the content spoken and shown in each recording and makes it all searchable, customer service or sales reps can actually search through video while in the middle of a discussion with a customer, to provide instant expertise.
Broadcasting Events and Announcements
Especially for the larger members of the technology industry, events have become an essential part of organizational thought leadership and communication strategies. One need look no further than Apple, Google, or Microsoft’s annual developer conferences to see the potential inherent in using an event as a platform to share a message. And that value doesn’t need to stop with external communications — many businesses rely on internal events to get the message out on new ideas, new features, new markets, and more.
Events, however, have one serious limitation — they’re really only valuable to those who can attend. That’s no small issue — or small expense, for businesses paying to fly their own people out to the event location.
Here too video offers a solution. Panopto enables businesses to webcast video of conference sessions live online, allowing an audience of even tens of thousands around the world to attend events virtually. Likewise, recording event sessions and sharing them on a central video library enables anyone in a targeted audience to get the experience of attending the event anytime — even if they couldn’t make the original.
Event recording doesn’t have to be a massive, complicated production. Using only laptops and webcams, Siemens PLM software division recorded more than 30 sessions at an internal event and made the resulting video available to everyone in the company in less than a week. See how they did it, in our Siemens event video case study.
Boosting Marketing Activities
In the technology industry it can often be difficult to get a message across. Website visitors are notorious for skimming text, meaning anything that can’t be conveyed in a tagline is generally unseen. For an industry that deals in complex technologies, boiling down a marketing message to six words usually results in meaningless generic phrases — and little hope of hooking new customers.
Video, however, is a proven antidote to the scanning affliction. Up to 85% of people are more likely to buy a product if they saw an explainer video first. Even just including the word “video” in an email subject line increases click-through rates about 10%. In an era where most customers won’t go so far as to read the sub-headline on a website’s homepage, they will stay tuned for a 30- or 60-second video message.
And while the marketing power of video is most commonly associated with television ads, that’s only skimming the surface of what video can offer marketers. Video demonstrations are easy to shoot and vastly more engaging than traditional product brochures. Just look at how Blendtec, the masterminds behind the now-famous “Will It Blend” video series have tapped video to deliver a product message no flyer can reproduce. Video can be a valuable tool at almost every point in the marketing funnel — even across the entire customer lifecycle — providing a more engaging way for tech companies to make themselves heard.
To Maintain a Central, Secure Library of Video Assets
No matter how any given tech firm uses video most often, in the end, nearly every one creates a robust library of video files in the process. Panopto is the only video platform that integrates best-of-breed recording and webcasting with a secure video library. All of your Panopto recordings and live webcasts are automatically uploaded into the library and converted for optimal viewing on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Pre-recorded videos can also be uploaded and converted for playback on any device.
And as the video library grows, Panopto provides a unique video search engine that makes finding information inside your videos as easy as searching for content within email and documents. Simply enter a phrase or world like “API” into Panopto’s video search engine – you’ll find every relevant recording in your collection and be able to fast-forward to each point in your videos where the term is mentioned (click here to try the search yourself).
Try It Yourself!
Panopto is a video platform that enables you to incorporate multimedia presentations, live broadcasts, and other video content into your communication, documentation, and training strategies, helping your technology organization operate smarter, act more productively, and scale more efficiently.