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Is YouTube for the Enterprise Ready for Its Close Up?

For several years at least, experts have predicted that so-called “YouTube for the Enterprise” will be the next big thing in corporate communications. There are plenty of offerings in the space, but what do actual workers think of the idea? In broad research looking at use of video at work in several contexts, including videoconferencing and quick, YouTube-type (s goog) videos for demonstration and training purposes, Forrester found 72 percent of those surveyed “don’t want desktop videoconferencing at work” and generally concluded that many workers have a weak appetite for video — including “YouTube for the Enterprise.” So is the technology ever going to live up to the hype and make a real impact on the way we work?

Paul Miller, founder of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, for one, believes that when it comes to sharing short videos with organizations, the answer is yes. Speaking to WebWorkerDaily about the recent success of the IBF 24 event, he used the occasion to make a prediction about video:

In three years time we will see YouTube for the enterprise be something that’s well established and well used in all major organizations for training, for communication, and it will be available and being used through smart phones and so on.

Miller went on to argue that “YouTube shows that videos capture interest and attention that words simple can’t,” and that “video is always popular because it’s dynamic and fresh.” And to those who are concerned about the governance and quality issues that unleashing an army of employees with Flip cameras might produce, Miller suggests that a natural learning process will solve these issues:

Governance around publishing standards eventually caught up with the written word on the intranet — and the same will happen with video. You want to publish, great, but here are the quality standards — technical specs, quality content levels it must meet, questions that you need to answer “yes” to before it will go live – and some best practice videos that show what “good” looks like.

The future, according to Miller, involves video as the answer to everyday business issues and the challenge of sharing knowledge in a dispersed workforce. “How should cabin crew on British Airways flights remove coffee machines that get stuck on long haul flights – watch this clip for 60 seconds and you have your illustrated answer. What is the best way to handle an angry caller to a call center at AXA – here is a call center manager talking you through the best approach,” he offers as illustration. But Forrester paints a very different picture of reluctant employees resisting top down efforts to push video a work, saying “the workforce overall has little interest in and access to desktop video.”

Whose perspective do you find more convincing?

Image courtesy Flickr user Artotem

5 Responses to “Is YouTube for the Enterprise Ready for Its Close Up?”

  1. Gerry P.

    I agree with Charles that video use will become more widespread once production becomes more feasible in terms of cost and time. Not sure that the reluctance for videoconferencing is really the same as a reluctance for video altogether though. After all, I think going on YouTube is a little different than going on Skype. I’d rather watch a how-to on YouTube because it’s on my own time and I can pause. I really think there’s something to video in the workplace — it just needs to be done right. The CEO of my company actually just wrote a blog post on the subject, and references this one. Here is the link if you’re interested:

    http://www.brainshark.com/ideas-blog/brainshark-articles/how%20does%20youtube%20fit%20into%20the%20enterprise.aspx

  2. We’re more convinced by the perspective that video will gain a firm footing in the enterprise in the near future (or else we wouldn’t be in this business!), but we can see why workers are still wary of desktop video conferencing. Many of them are still chained to their desks eight hours a day in cubicle land where video conferencing may not be appropriate, but these same people are also asking for more workplace flexibility and the tools to do their jobs remotely. At LifeSize (http://www.lifesize.com), we believe video technologies will play a big role in making this possible.

  3. What does the term “YouTube for the Enterprise” mean? Are you simply talking about video in for enterprise? Cisco has been pushing that hard to drive demand for faster network equipment, but looking at their bottom line it has not gone well.

    That said, video clearly has a role and I believe has been used for training purposes since the advent of VHS. So what really has changed except for a better distribution system via the World Wide Web (unless you are Hulu or one of the other geoblocker mafia ……ok i could not resist a dig at geoblocking:):):) my bad.

  4. Charles Hamilton

    Jessica,

    As video gets cheaper and easier to produce, there’s no doubt that its use is becoming more widespread. The sorts of demos described in your quote from Miller are certainly appropriate uses.

    But I think video can be overused. I’m seeing too many instances where, for example, a startup throws a quick video onto their website because they can’t write a compelling description of their product. So anyone who can’t access video because of workplace restrictions, physical disabilities, or the limits of technology will be unable to find out what the product is about.

    Video should always be used in association with — not instead of — strong written materials.

  5. AdamV

    Video at the work place is huge. I work for a major newspaper and twice this week our IT department has sent out emails telling people to stop watching unnecessary video because it is killing their bandwidth. Also I make training videos for various systems, it is the best way to teach people, plus they can refresh their training when ever they wish.

    “The workforce overall has little interest in and access to desktop video.”, that is goofy.