How Video Is Changing the Mobile-Powered Enterprise
With the mass ubiquity of mobile technology in the workplace, video creation is the new global language — at least according to Michael Kada, CEO of Redmond, Washington-based QuantumVerse, a company that provides video platforms for companies to share knowledge and network. First there was oral communication, then the written word and now video, he says.
Kada knows the language well: He’s a 13-year veteran of Microsoft, where he managed Microsoft Academy, a social-learning program where employees created and submitted their own videos to exchange best practices and knowledge. The program encompassed 12,000 videos that generated over 1 million views per year. Now he’s trying to further expand the adoption of video in the enterprise with QuantumVerse.
We caught up with Kada to talk about how video is changing the mobile-powered workplace, its benefits, and how companies can best support it.
Video has been around for decades. What’s happening now with video for business?
Kada: Video is the new text for a new kind of work and communication. Because technology is making so much progress, video is having a more and more prominent role in conveying messages, in knowledge transfer, in communicating in the enterprise.
There are a couple of things which are supporting this trend. First of all, the devices to record video are becoming less and less expensive. You can use your phone to record your video and upload it. You have Do It Yourselfers in an organization who just do it themselves, and that’s dramatically increasing because the devices are getting cheaper and easier to use. The other thing is the commoditization of video. Even if you need professional help to produce a video, the costs are coming down dramatically. Even just a few years ago video was considered elitist and a very expensive way to communicate and broadcast out your message. The demographics are changing. The Millenials are so much more into this kind of communication. There are no barriers to use it both in private life and in daily work.
What are some examples of video making a real impact on productivity?
Where it is a real productivity booster is where you have many branches or a highly distributed workforce. This company I was talking to in Holland, they have a number of body repair shops. The challenge they have there is quite often they have a situation where a technician is not able to fix something and get some guidance, and is far away from somewhere to get some help. Now they just record the problem with a mobile phone, upload it and walk it through with an expert who has had similar experience.
What I’ve also seen in a completely different area is with the Walmarts, the Safeways of the world. For very basic training tasks such as how to change the paper roll in the cashier machine, they have tablets where a new employee can look at the video — and a video says so much more than a manual — and just open it and see it. It’s a productivity accelerator because they can learn it by themselves and can visually see what they need to do to make it work.
How can companies get started?
Video as a standalone is not very powerful. For example, you are given an email with a link to a video — you don’t have the time to watch it right then. A week later you remember, but you won’t find it again. One key rule is you need to create a video repository, a video library where it’s easy to navigate, easy to find, even if you just remember the keywords. Another key rule is videos need to be short. Video shouldn’t be more than 3-5 minutes. It forces you to be crisp in conveying a few key messages. Another thing: If you embed video on other portal sites — for example the homepage of your company — then you accelerate the adoption of video and drive up the number of downloads and views dramatically. There’s also the notion of creating a channel where you have a certain topic area, and everything about, say a certain product or initiative, they are all grouped and bundled within one channel. What happens is you watch one video, you get interested, and then it’s convenient to see related videos. The number of downloads literally multiplies.
When I talk to companies or system integrators they see the explosion of video and need to manage it somehow. They are always talking about which devices to support. One thing I usually recommend is you define the goals you want to use videos for. What is the use case? Observe employees and see what they’re using it for. Ask people. It’s a good exercise to see how employees are using it, and think about how to enforce it or incentivize it. There’s best practice sharing, training, problem sharing — those are huge productivity accelerators.
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