Author: David Mario Smith Date: September 10, 2014
Topic: Content Management Research Note Number: 2014-34
Issue: How will content management support new technologies such as video?
Summary: Enterprise network, storage and ECM systems are challenged by the increasing quantity of video that enterprises are producing. Many enterprises should upgrade their infrastructures and deploy dedicated video content management systems.
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Video consumption is growing rapidly, as it moves beyond the entertainment sphere and people access it in nontraditional ways such as the Internet and on mobile devices. The millions of clips on YouTube prove that they also enjoy creating and sharing video as much as watching it, since the learning curve and cost of time, preparation and equipment have gone down to consumer levels.
Now that they have the means and opportunity to do so, people are also bringing video into the workplace, and this can impose cost and other burdens on enterprise infrastructures (see Note 1). In many enterprises, user-generated video content is increasing beyond IT’s ability to manage it. However, this content is actually being used for business purposes. Therefore the answer is not to ban it, but to find a way of providing some governance. In this research note, we discuss the benefits of using dedicated video content management (VCM) even if you have a traditional ECM system (see Research Note 2014-12, Aragon Research Globe For Video Content Management).
VCM systems are explicitly designed to handle the capture, storage, cataloging and analytics that enterprise video requires. The other major benefit the VCM system will provide is that of a video portal or “enterprise YouTube” that gives users a central place to search, access and stream or download video content.
Take Charge of the Video Life Cycle
The six functional elements of the video life cycle include creation, capture, storage, management, streaming, sharing and optimizing. The VCM platform provides a complete set of capabilities to manage video content throughout this life cycle (see Figure 1).
- (1-2) Creation and Capture
In many cases the creation and capture can be done with tools provided by the VCM provider, but best-of-breed tools from Adobe, Apple or Avid may be more capable or easier to use. However, the VCM tool should accept all video files and convert them to standard formats if needed.
- (3) Managing Video
This involves both file management and a search function that can locate a specific event within a video. Finding the right part of the right video is a fundamental VCM function. Providers use different search techniques, but they should be evaluated based on how accurately they can find a specific scene. As video use grows, video search will get smarter.
The Power of Analytics
Searching within video files requires capabilities that generally go beyond a traditional ECM’s standard feature set. You may need to search for and go to specific points in a video. You may need to convert speech-to-text and search for specific words. You may also want usage data and analytics about who watched a video and for how long – valuable in training and marketing applications. Such requirements call for either special tools or a dedicated VCM installation.
Video usage analytics can provide insight about user needs and behaviors that can aid management decisions. It can also empower employees to find and share content for a wide range of use cases inside and outside the enterprise, such as sales, training and community building.
- (4-5) Streaming and Sharing
Playing or streaming video is another core function of a VCM system. It includes both live and on-demand delivery of video or interactive content that includes video. This is an area that separates VCM from traditional ECM platforms. Enterprises should evaluate VCM products carefully to be sure they can stream all the formats to all the platforms you support.
The Power of Community
We mentioned communities earlier, and there’s no question that video has unique power to forge social bonds among its audience. While everyone who reads a given document has something in common, video viewers share an experience as well as information. The result can be far greater engagement with both the content and others who share that experience – particularly if they interact during and after the event.
This insight can be used to improve learning retention, brand affinity, and other socializations that benefit sales, marketing, training and CRM. Enterprises that track and classify viewers, segment and target content, and integrate video portals with social networks will strengthen and empower their internal and external communities.
- (6) Optimizing
Users can become impatient if video is slow to load or pauses during playback, so enterprises need to ensure the highest quality streaming for both live and on-demand content. Due to its large footprint and high network impact, video should be optimized for different endpoints and environments, internal, external and mobile. This may require several strategies, including multiple delivery formats.
Video encoding and transmission is constantly improving, but the “latest and greatest” may not work at every endpoint. One approach is to offer low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth versions of your content, but advanced systems can monitor performance and adjust output dynamically. In remote areas, third-party transmission specialists like Akamai Technologies can help.
Business Use Cases for Video
The entertainment value of video is so great that it’s easy for users to get caught up in the experience and let it become a time sink. To avoid this risk, enterprises should make video investments that pay for themselves with solid business value. When planning VCM solutions and video portals (so popular that we call them “enterprise YouTubes”), focus on specific business use cases that deliver positive revenue outcomes. Examples include:
- Corporate Communications
- Corporate Learning
- Content Marketing
- Sales Communications
- Customer Support
Sales, marketing, advertising, and all lines of business are using more video than ever before. The use cases are varied and are focused on people and business outcomes. The big opportunity for video is in specific business applications and processes.
Video enabled business applications (VEBAs) are emerging to address key areas where video can achieve real business results. For example, the healthcare and manufacturing industries are using huge quantities of video for collaboration. Capturing this video as content multiplies its value for learning and training.
Example: Learning in Healthcare
In hospitals, for example, recording a surgical procedure and storing it for replay can be useful to train other physicians on specific procedures. Managers and peers can review the same content for quality control and process improvement.
Video can also be archived to document treatment of patients and retrieved to as a record of patient history for future treatments. If the same or similar patients return to the hospital, physicians get the full context of what has and hasn’t worked in different scenarios.
The use cases are unlimited. Policies must be put in place for consistent capture, protection and future use of video content. This calls for a complete video content management strategy that should include the legal team’s involvement. This becomes even more crucial as new use cases are discovered.
- Evaluate video content management offerings that can complement your ECM platform
- Ensure the VCM system will handle streaming, capture, storage, search and analytics requirements and video portal capabilities.
- Focus VCM efforts on business outcomes in specific areas such as sales, marketing and HR.
Video is already being utilized in most enterprises to some extent. The era of pervasive video has arrived, and with it the need to manage video holistically across the enterprise and throughout its lifecycle. Developing a proper strategy for management and governance can yield a competitive advantage especially when it is focused on key business outcomes.
Note 1: Video’s Impact on the Enterprise
Key problems include storage and bandwidth. Video files are far larger than document or image files, and even relatively short videos can tax enterprise content management (ECM) systems. While some ECM providers (e.g., EMC, IBM, Open Text, Oracle) can address these issues, in many enterprises these are legacy systems that IT strategies don’t target for further large investments.
In addition to its bulk, video demands speed. Video servers not only need to be larger, they have to read and write faster, which drives up the cost of video-related storage investments. This is one reason to investigate cloud storage and VCM services, to outsource that aspect of video’s impact.
The network effect is a broader issue, because most video is not downloaded and opened locally like a document. Instead, it is streamed: played directly from the remote server and decoded on the fly, much like a traditional broadcast. Within a narrow buffer zone, each frame of video has to arrive in the right order and with precise timing: viewers will notice a delay as small as a tenth of a second.
Unfortunately, IP networks were not designed for this. Quality of service (QoS) schemes can help by giving video priority on the network, but that forces competing traffic to wait.
Some of our clients have lamented that the recent World Cup soccer tournament triggered so much video viewing that it crippled their enterprise networks.
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