Five steps to manage video effectively

Most companies do not have a formal approach to create and manage this video. The lack of a formal approach, a video management strategy, results in inefficiency, confusion, increased costs, lost opportunities, and decreased agility over time says North Plains' George Grippo.

Commentary - Video use is growing rapidly within companies of all types and sizes. Whether for promotion or advertising, internal and external training, product demonstration, or for ad-hoc or formal communication, companies use video to communicate. Audiences are just as broad and include prospects, customers, partners, employees and shareholders each consuming the video on whatever platform(s) fits at the moment (e.g., desktop browser; mobile, IPTV, and more.)

Most companies do not have a formal approach to create and manage this video. The lack of a formal approach, a video management strategy, results in inefficiency, confusion, increased costs, lost opportunities, and decreased agility over time.

Managing video effectively in an organization can be simple and straightforward. A key piece of a successful video management strategy is to employ Digital Asset Management (DAM). DAM improves creative workflows and productivity by providing a common, anywhere accessible platform to manage, locate, repurpose, and distribute video along with related content and other rich media. Once employed, DAM simplifies creation, production and delivery processes, enables new workflows and new business opportunities, while eliminating costs throughout the lifecycle.

The challenge of video
Video poses a set of challenges to companies. Video is:

  • Generated by many different sources within and outside an organization
  • Available in tape and/or digital sources. Quality and formats vary greatly
  • Stored in a number of places (i.e., disks, tapes, file shares, databases, storage closets, etc.)
  • Difficult to locate and access (unless it resides in a central digital repository and is catalogued)
  • Consumed by a broad and diverse audience both internally and externally. Localization and/or re-edits are frequently required.
  • Large in file size
  • Often copyrighted, or has rights associated with it that define proper use and must be adhered to
In addition, businesses are struggling with:
  • Tight budgets and ROI which are forcing teams to do more with less
  • Emerging technologies and their disparate adoption across the business, industries and more
  • Inefficient video production workflows that allow quick/easy reuse, repurposing and distribution of video
  • Lack of control – video is everywhere; lower storage or equipment costs drive ad hoc purchase and use
The recent explosion of Facebook, YouTube, and other social media along with powerful processors, cheap storage, greater bandwidth, and growing user expectations, is rampantly driving businesses to utilize rich media – specifically video as a key communication vehicle.. This trend coupled with emerging technology and distribution options is forcing all types of businesses to maximize and monetize content use. Content and specifically video is now mission critical to the organization. According to Forrester Research, by 2013, with people consuming just one extra hour of video per day, an additional $37.5 billion dollars will be generated for those businesses monetizing content.

Meeting the challenge
What can you do to better create and manage video to gain efficiencies, reduce costs and increase agility?

Do you know what your company is doing with video? Are you:

  • Acquiring it?
  • Producing it?
  • Watching it?
  • Streaming it?
  • Distributing it to traditional broadcast and/or online outlets?
Here are 5 steps to assess your company’s use of video, and how best to begin to manage it.

Step 1: Identify what video means to your organization
Ask your internal users how and where they use video today. What videos are being created, produced, watched, streamed or distributed? Ask them what video needs they might have in the future. Ask your partners and customers what information they’d like to consume in a video format? While there may be some obvious uses among the different kinds of business users, you may be surprised.

Step 2: Identify business requirements
No matter the industry the same approach applies. Within each organizational department, identify:

1. Whether the department has a need for video

2. What video is used for or could be used for (use cases) in the department:

  • Internal communications: corporate training, sales communications, human resources, etc.
  • External communications: sales and marketing, product training, advertising, web
  • Production and/or product development: team and vendor communications and production workflows; review and approval
  • Aggregation and distribution: delivery to web, broadcast, IPTV, cable, etc.
3. What the frequency of creation and distribution is for each case

4. Where is the video coming from (what is the source), who is the audience, and where it is going (how it is delivered) The answers will vary depending on the type of business and whom the business serves but will give you a deeper and clearer picture of your company’s video management needs.

Table 1 provides some examples.

Step 3: Identify fundamental commonalities, workflows and functional requirements
Typically you will find common functions and workflows exist. Most commonly, video is identified and tagged (with “metadata”), stored, searched, edited, reviewed, digitized or transcoded into other formats, protected, rights managed, and distributed. Next, identify what each department requires including rough or detailed workflows, and ascertain how much video they believe they will need to store. Continuing our examples from Step 2 (Table 1), Table 2 provides needs by departments.

Step 4 – Empower Productivity and Efficiencies
Once you have defined video use, and identified common processes, workflows and functional requirements the next step is to increase productivity by providing tools and capabilities to optimize creative processes and capitalize on new revenue opportunities.

Digital Asset Management enables productivity and efficiencies. It plays a key role to provide order, streamline workflows and increase efficiencies across a business. The DAM system facilitates coordinated activities, and allows adoption of tools that can quickly make a positive impact. Simply, DAM is the “tasks and decisions” associated with ingesting, tagging, transcoding, annotating, cataloging, storing and retrieving a video and other related media including documents, photographs, images, audio, or other files deemed to be an “asset”. Digital asset management is the strategy and technology platform to successfully manage video.

Aligning your requirements to an appropriate Digital Asset Management solution that can scale with your business, is the next important step. It is imperative that you choose a solution that not only works today but will grow with you tomorrow. Not all DAM systems are created equal: some manage video better than others. In your selection process, you’ll need to carefully consider your requirements, use cases and key features that each of your users and stakeholders need for their workflow, and align them with the capabilities of the DAM and the DAM vendor. The right DAM will scale to provide the business value at each step, and will expand that value as your use grows.

Therefore, if you have an existing system evaluate it for the key functionality you identified and then define how best to add features or extend its utility and capabilities. If you currently use a file structure on a server, take a hard look at what you learned in Step 3. To manage video effectively the best tool to use is one designed to support a basic set of core video-centric capabilities most of which are inherent in any video competent DAM including:

  • Video acquisition and ingest
  • Transcoding and interoperability
  • Metadata creation, management and search
  • Creative workflows and tools (e.g., online editing)
  • Review and approval
  • Retrieval and play
  • Delivery and distribution
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Secure storage and archive management
  • Easy-to-use interface, with localization and/or branding
  • Security, with user, group and role-based functional permissions
  • Reporting
As a productivity platform, DAM inherently provides the backbone for coordinating and executing creative workflow processes from creation and collaboration, to integration, repurposing and distribution of assets to the web, broadcast, publishing and other points of distribution as required by the business. Video capability is one feature set of the DAM.

Step 5 – Maximize utility and return
The platform solution you selected in Step 4 should enable improved video workflows and interoperability with edit suites and delivery systems right out of the gate. By utilizing a DAM, users will benefit from more options and capabilities.

  • Across organizations and industries, the ability to create, produce, edit and distribute video is becoming commonplace. The value of a DAM can be seen by:
    • The studio who delivers a one-hour show five days a week on time and to spec. The production team overcomes the difficulties of meeting intense deadlines by its ability to edit video, accelerate the assembly process and compile Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) in the DAM for final edit and packaging which frees up valuable time. The team eliminates long legal “OK” turns by rights management handled by the DAM and provides turnkey review and approval workflows with no physical locale limitations.
    • The marketing team who was required to publish multi-media product packages every quarter. Contending with multiple systems and process across a global enterprise, isolated creative asset development, and varied technology adoption and use hindered their efficiency and delivery. A DAM resulted in reduced frustrations, decreased costs, little to no rework or recreation due to misuse of licensed material, brand compliance, and clear marketing messaging with consistent copy and graphic use.
    • The broadcaster who needed to digitize its tape archive while producing and distributing new content. Implementation of DAM helped the broadcaster define workflows to capture metadata early in the process improving the ability to quickly access the right tape and/or clips. With a staged ingest process for archived content the broadcaster was able to quickly monetize “valuable” assets that had not been well catalogued, nor easy to locate before. Furthermore the DAM’s ability to interoperate with the edit suite as well as other devices circumvented playout issues. Automated workflows now recognized these devices and required formats every time.
    • The retailer who was shifting internal marketing and creative processes to not only manage costs but reach customers more effectively. A DAM immediately eliminated the cost of dubbing and shipping tapes, and provided one place for its Agency and internal teams to work together. More exciting was the Retailer’s ability to automatically transcode and deliver content in the right format to web sites, editors, promotional web sites and more. Time to market was reduced significantly, workflow and collaboration was streamlined, costs were reduced, sales improved and morale shifted significantly.

      Once ingrained in an organization, DAM becomes even more powerful and provides momentum for new advances, creativity and opportunities all leading to increased productivity and payback. Companies who have employed DAM often find that they can do so much more than they first envisioned, and do it even more effectively: especially for video.

      Video is a format that requires attention. Its production and consumption is expected to grow. Follow these 5 steps, and managing video effectively today can be simple.

      George Grippo is vice president, Media Asset Management at North Plains Systems which provides digital-asset-management solutions.

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