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Forrester: Video aids collaboration, social media strategy success

A Forrester report explains best practices for integrating live streaming and on-demand videos for internal use in an organization’s overall social media strategy for more effective business.

As organizations look to become more collaborative and improve business efficiency by developing a social media strategy, many are incorporating live streaming and on-demand videos for internal enterprise use. To help smooth the way, Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., has recently released their findings on the practice.

According to the report, Best Practices: Leveraging Live Streaming and On-Demand Video in the Enterprise, companies can benefit from live streaming and on-demand video in numerous ways. In addition to saving costs by streaming large virtual meetings over the Web rather than using teleconferencing or videoconferencing, organizations can use the technologies to drive engagement among remote employees, improve communications from leadership, expand training and encourage employees to share best practices.

Improving communication and employee engagement are two of the most compelling reasons for adopting live streaming and on-demand video and making them part of an overall enterprise social media strategy, said Philipp Karcher, a Forrester analyst and one of the three authors of the report.

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“[They] are really related,” Karcher said. “Executives want to be able to look their employee in the face when delivering a message. … It is a very social technology, and organizations swear that’s a priority.”

While geographically distributed organizations looking to connect employees might benefit the most from such video and streaming practices, they are valid communications channels for any company.  Whether globally dispersed or located in one office, organizations that value social media and keeping employees engaged and collaborating on projects can benefit from live streaming and on-demand video, Karcher said.

Telus, a Vancouver-based telecommunications company, started using live streaming video in 2008. In 2010, it introduced on-demand video to employees and launched Habitat Video, which enables anyone in the company to create videos housed in a library. So far, that library has amassed more than 1,200 videos.

Dan Pontefract, the senior director of learning and collaboration at Telus, uses the videos constantly.

“Simulating that live experience that you otherwise could only get face to face” is one of the best advantages of live streaming and on-demand video, Pontefract said. He said that was especially true in a company that expects 70% of its 35,000 employees to be mobile by 2014. 

At Telus, for example, videos communicate formal messages from leadership, offer virtual live coaching sessions, present guest speakers and provide monthly two-minute video updates from the human resources department about benefits and other HR matters. Giving employees the ability to create and share their own videos is also an invaluable tool. Some field service workers have created videos about methods for fixing company telecommunications equipment. “People are empowered to give back and to share, creating a culture of collaboration,” Pontefract said.

To get to that point, the Forrester report recommends best practices aimed at helping companies avoid problems. They include expanding IT’s role to include coordinating video initiatives, using different video platforms for different needs, managing internal and external distribution requirements, making sure proper content management practices continue and integrating video into business processes.

“I’d start right at the beginning with a coordinated video initiative,” Karcher said. “A lot of organizations are doing different things with video, and I think having a coherent strategy starts with bringing everyone together in the same room and having a consistent strategy.” Many of the pitfalls around the subject arise because people often don’t know where to start when they begin leveraging live streaming and video, he added.

For its part, Telus has been adapting smoothly to an enterprise video culture, Pontefract said.

“It’s certainly easy to access; it’s accessible anywhere, whether it’s live or recorded,” he said.  “We’ve done a pretty good job of educating new hires that come into the office, in terms of using the software” with both informal and formal learning practices.


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