Perceptions of Online Video in the Enterprise

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By: Steve Vonder Haar

When it comes to online video in the enterprise, beauty still is in the eye of the beholder.

At least that’s one conclusion that can be drawn in reviewing the results of a survey of 1,007 corporate executives conducted by Wainhouse Research in the fourth quarter of 2013.

When asked to cite the primary barriers to initiating or expanding their organization’s use of online video, unanimity was in relatively short supply among survey respondents. Indeed, executives’ outlooks towards online video appears to be influenced significantly by their prior experience in using the technology.

These results are important to understand for anybody 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 to implementing online video more extensively. 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 organization. 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.

Or, if all else fails, the other alternative is to just go back to the single issue on which seemingly everybody can agree: money. At companies that have deployed online video, 40% of respondents cite the issue of “cost of deployment too expensive” as a key barrier to boosting usage of the technology. Among those at companies not using online video, 41% of respondents cite the same issue.

So perhaps we should add a caveat to the statement I made at the beginning of this column. When it comes to online video, beauty still is in the eye of the beholder – unless you can negotiate a really, really good deal.

Steve Vonder Haar is senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at


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