Choosing an Enterprise Webcasting Solution

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That certainly is no easy task. Because webcasting touches so many facets of an organization, stakeholders are likely to emerge from every nook and cranny of the corporate hierarchy. Information technology executives will have a say because the implementation of online video can have significant impact on how corporate computing networks are used. Top executives, who sometimes control the budgets needed to authorize investment in sophisticated webcasting solutions, will have some influence, as will functional department executives, who typically are most closely associated with the communications events that employ online video technologies.

This split in influence over webcasting deployment is reflected in who gets the final say over the online multimedia purchase decision (see Table 2). At 44% of the companies that have deployed online video, the final approval for investing in the technology was in the hands of the company’s top executive. In nearly one-third of organizations, the final purchase decision was in the hands of information technology executives, while 24% of companies that deploy online multimedia say that functional department executives had the final say over its implementation.

Table 2

Essentially, the only rule that can be assumed in the corporate webcast purchasing process is that no traditional standards exist for guiding the deployment process. However, this does not give the executive wielding final purchase authority carte blanche in the buying process. While other disciplines within the organization may not have final say over the purchase decision, each should be assumed to have some level of influence in shaping the final choice.

Information technology executives must be cognizant of how the solutions they select will impact the communications activities of functional department employees. And those outside of the IT realm must account for the technical issues that result from the implementation of online video.

In some cases, executives even have to take a webcasting census of sorts, developing an understanding of how departmental-level webcasting solutions have already been deployed and figuring out how this existing technology can be integrated with the new online video technologies that they are considering.

It’s all part of getting organizationwide buy-in on a proposed webcasting solution, says Brian Berlin, the former vice-president of sales for webcast technology vendor IVT, Inc. who now serves as president of Straightline Strategies, Inc., a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that works with both sellers and buyers of advanced technology systems.

"A lot of these groups within a company have a lot of clout, and they don’t want some other department telling them which webcasting solution they are going to deploy," Berlin says.

"If you’re a decision maker, the key task is gaining consensus on solutions that all departments can use effectively," Berlin says. "That’s actually the hardest part of the job."

Even with the best of intentions, however, consensus can be elusive. Typically, a small group of employees—or perhaps even a single executive—emerges as a leader within the organization for promoting the initial adoption of the technology and evangelizing its broader implementation over time.

In many cases, the evangelization requires more than just building corporate awareness of online multimedia solutions. Successful implementation relies on more than just a vision for the future. Webcasting evangelists ultimately succeed by clearly demonstrating the financial returns that can be realized from the deployment of the technology.

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