Pain Points: Why are so many tech managers avoiding video streaming?

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So, what’s your excuse?

Plenty of organizations out there do not use online video as frequently as they could. My hunch is that yours might be one of those could benefit from putting video webcasting to work more often.

Sure, more than two-thirds of organizations surveyed by Wainhouse Research in the past year report that they have used live online video webcasting—with more than 10% of our survey respondents saying they produce more than 100 online video events annually.

The deployment numbers are strong, and they demonstrate progress for vendors of webcasting technologies that have struggled for years to play a bigger role in the enterprise communications mix. Yet, from where I sit, this level of activity is just scratching the surface of how video can be used in the enterprise.

Today’s technology could make it possible for us to take video for granted in the enterprise. Every time a corporate trainer holds a class, capture it in video. When a top executive makes a presentation— whether for employees or external audiences—record it for others to see. And don’t be afraid to put that human resources chief in front of a camera when explaining employee insurance benefits for the year ahead.

We should literally be measuring online video content production in the thousands—or even tens of thousands—of clips, events and on-demand productions per year. So what is keeping organizations using more of a technology that can make communications more engaging and effective?

Wainhouse Research tried to figure this out in a survey of 1,007 executives conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013. We asked about the barriers that keep organizations from initiating or expanding their use of online video.

The results? It seems that everybody has their own excuse for not using online video more extensively. When asked to cite the primary barriers to boosting their use of online video, unanimity was in relatively short supply among survey respondents. Indeed, executives’ outlook towards online video appears to be influenced significantly by their prior experience in using the technology.

These results are important to understand for anyone trying to champion the deployment of technologies enabling online video within their organization. When you’re selling the virtues of online video to your colleagues, the issues that resonate with one group will not always have much meaning with everyone you need to convince.

Indeed, perceptions of online video can vary significantly based on how extensively an organization has implemented the technology in years past. Consider the issue of “complexity of technology.” Only 13% of respondents at companies that do not use online video cite the issue of technology complexity as one of the two top barriers keeping their organizations from boosting online video deployment. In contrast, among executives at companies deploying more than 50 live online video events annually, more than 30% cite technology complexity as a key barrier to expanded deployment. While those who have not used online video may not understand just how complex it can be, decision makers at companies that have implemented the technology clearly understand the “pain points” that come with widespread streaming adoption.

The other issue of out-sized importance to executives at companies that deploy online video extensively is “network security.” Among those at companies that have deployed online video, 21% of survey respondents cite “network security” as a leading barrier. At companies that do not deploy online video, in contrast, only 9% of executives surveyed cited “network security” as a key issue hindering online video deployment.

So exactly what issue is top of mind for those without prior exposure to online video capabilities? Well, it turns out that those without online video experience simply are trying to figure out how they would actually use the technology. One third of survey respondents from companies not currently deploying online video say that there is “no need / no use” for online video in their business. At companies that deploy online video, only 9% of respondents claim that they have “no need / no use” for online video.

The results mark a clear path for those trying to win online video converts within their organizations. If you’re dealing with an online video newbie, simplify your case by emphasizing how an individual executive would put the technology to work in day-to-day business communications. In contrast, when dealing with an individual who has seen online video in action, work to highlight the features of a specific solution that demonstrate its technical superiority.

As the survey results show, anybody can give a reason for not pushing the envelope in online video. But the excuses are nothing more than a safe harbor for the timid. If you’re evangelizing the adoption of online video in your organization, you have to do better than that.

Steve Vonder Haar is senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at svonder@wainhouse.com.

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