Case Study: Meeting the Enterprise Video Distribution Challenge
Cushman & Wakefield, the largest privately held commercial real estate services firm in the world, needed a way to consistently reach its 15,000-strong employee base with confidential communications from senior management. But it knew that it wanted to use a more dynamic, compelling form of messaging than email. After all, most people in the business world don’t even open most of their emails, according to Brian Jensen, managing director of Cushman & Wakefield’s global corporate communications, who cites studies that show a measly 27% open rate.
With 25 years of experience as a TV sports reporter and anchor, Jensen was of a more visual camp. He understood the value of getting in front of people with a "headline type of message" if your goal is to pique and maintain interest. Add to that "a little production value to make it interesting," and you’re golden. Jensen knew that the company needed to communicate via video, but how does a company do that without sending out an email blast asking employees to visit a webpage and download a piece of content?
With that in mind, Cushman & Wakefield took on the task of distributing rich media content and large video files to its employees, who are spread out across 221 offices in 58 different countries. Without a third-party solution because of bandwidth differences, the firm’s only option was to develop several different videos to target different offices depending on where employees were located. The problem was that those in limited-bandwidth areas wouldn’t receive as rich of a message. The firm knew it needed to look for a solution that would allow all staff members to receive the same message at the same time in a secure manner without taxing IT and bandwidth.
Starting on the Wrong Foot
A false start came with a content delivery partner Cushman & Wakefield hired more than a year ago. That CDN initially took care of some of the firm’s tasks, but it didn’t entirely fit the bill. For one thing, when videos were delivered, there was a noticeable difference on the network. "The last system we tried, you could tell that we were delivering things," Jensen says.
For another, customer service was severely lacking. For a nontechnical firm such as Cushman & Wakefield, having a vendor that would make sure the firm’s IT staff was prepared to implement and service the solution was a must-have. While the system worked, for the most part, Jensen says, "The customer service side was deficient. We needed a company that could bring us a content delivery solution and the customer service that goes with it. We are real estate people. We needed a company that would help service the solution so that we weren’t left out on an island trying to figure out how to best work this solution." So, in May 2008, the firm switched to a new vendor.
Getting Back on Track
That vendor was Ignite Technologies, Inc., a content delivery solution provider with a focus on the enterprise. Ignite’s solution has been deployed to serve hundreds of thousands of users around the globe at companies such as Accenture, BearingPoint, Bank of America, Sabre, and Procter & Gamble. The company’s content delivery solution, a suite of software products and networking technology, enabled Cushman & Wakefield to deliver its video messages to employees through content parsing and P2P technology without creating additional load on the firm’s corporate network or the feeling that they were stranded on an island.
"The implementation, working with IT to make sure the system would work with our system, and making sure IT knew how to implement it and service it has been tremendous," says Jensen. "They’ve really helped us along in making sure that it was a smooth deployment. They have figured out how to be good corporate citizens."
Ignite’s solution worked without network or connectivity constraints whether employees were sitting in their cubes sipping soup from a paper cup or cruising at 30,000 feet in first class. In addition, the company’s solution was flexible with in-your-face force views or at-your-leisure options. This meant that if Cushman & Wakefield had a crisis situation, it could target play-on-receipt videos to employees’ computers. But in most cases, the firm would give staff members the option to choose when to watch. When a machine receives content, a pop-up box notifies the user that content is ready and waiting to be watched, whether they want to watch immediately or hit snooze for hours or even days.
Cushman & Wakefield first rolled out Ignite, branded as CWTV, to deliver a confidential, time-sensitive video announcement of a CEO change to a targeted set of employees—those in Canada. The 6-minute video was delivered directly to employees’ desktops and timed to pop up on their machines at 12 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 7—no following instructions, no visiting webpages, no downloading.
What the firm’s management discovered from the solution’s robust reporting and analytics astounded them: Being able to provide that effortless end-user experience was priceless.