- The best, most urgent technologies demand to be controlled, not driven.
- Business video can deliver enormous benefits both to change business models and to enrich collaboration, but the demand needs to be more obvious.
The use of video in business applications continues to gather momentum, and not only amongst the technology suppliers with a vested interested in promoting them. Indications are that use of room-based and desktop video solutions are increasing slowly but surely. And it’s easy to see why, as the quality, capability and—crucially—application integration are advancing in impressive fashion.
But I do still worry about the concept as a high-value, must-have solution in many business circumstances. Here’s why: The truly game-changing technologies and solutions in business have always taken on a life of their own, forcing themselves into the collective, mission-critical consciousness of IT and network managers with a tenacious urgency that simply could not be ignored. Think PCs and business productivity applications in the old days, or then e-mail and internet connectivity. And, of course most recently, smartphones and tablets. These are just the most basic, obvious examples.
You often hear, however, that business video suppliers like Cisco and Polycom are spending a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money to help their customers drive the use of the technology within customer organizations. Their interest in helping customers prove ROI is very straightforward and uncomplicated.
Certainly there are strong cultural and productivity-enhancing reasons why IT and network managers, as well as technology and business executives, like the positive energy surrounding business video. In theory, video should help form bonds between co-workers that are increasingly in separate locations, for example, and video-enhanced collaboration should yield better, faster product development, to cite another example. But often IT managers find themselves working very hard indeed to use video solutions that are enabled.
There are two key drivers for the increased use of business video at the moment. First, there is the capability to use video to alter a business model dramatically, to create new ways of solving a problem that are disruptive and provide competitive advantage. These are driven down from the top, often by business leaders, and deliver uncompromising ROI. The other is video-enabled collaboration, which is an entirely different concept and that also can deliver true benefits along lines of the aforementioned cultural and productivity improvements. The ROI is a tougher sell, though, and will always be that way until the demand for video becomes a deafening roar that is impossible to ignore.