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eBay Embraces Enterprise YouTube

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All employee-generated content is uploaded without system-side moderation, though Qumu’s system does offer this functionality. When I asked why eBay wasn’t moderating, Burnham responded, “eBay is community governed and we rely on community input to moderate content. To date, there have been no issues, though we may look into a flagging system to identify inappropriate content. Anything that is published as official corporate content is always reviewed by corporate communications management first.” That said, all content can only be viewed internally, and Burnham felt that there absolutely would be moderation if any of the channels were ever made public.

In terms of viewing, Burnham estimated that more than 95% of the content in the system is available to all employees, even in other divisions, with obvious exceptions of legal channels or executive meeting channels. Inter-divisional viewing is encouraged, Burnham explained, as employees are expected to find new opportunities and synergies within the eBay Inc. portfolio of products and services. 

Viewing the Content

Employees view content in the Qumu portal, called HubTV, which is separate from eBay’s internal portal. Burnham is part of a team responsible for eBay’s internal portals, and over the next 12-18 months they will be working to unify eBay’s intranet and video experiences. With so much content available, Burnham shared that “discoverability” was a key issue, and one area where eBay was investing outside of the Qumu portal.

As Burnham explained, much of the top-down content is driven by email. For example, when eBay schedules a live webcast, the system generates a URL and all relevant employees are notified by email. Fifteen minutes before the event starts, a calendar reminder notifies the relevant audience. Local employees can attend in person or watch over the network. Employees who are not at a facility can login to the portal as well, with video delivered via Akamai to ensure high-quality delivery outside the firewall.

Other regular video uploads, like the aforementioned "PayPal in 90 Seconds," are also announced via email, and within the eBay system, employees can subscribe to these emails and be notified when they’re available. Beyond this, eBay relies upon the portal to expose employees to available content relevant to them. Though the Qumu portal offers the normal search and similar functions, eBay is investing outside the portal in two areasL curation and social feed. Both of these concepts rely on Qumu APIs, and both are inspired by best-of-breed functionality delivered by third-party sites.

For example, Burnham points to the TED Talks website as an example of excellent curation, where videos are categorized into different groups based upon multiple definitions, like Latest Stories, Environment, Hidden Gems, or Impact of Ideas to expose visitors to content relevant to them. eBay wants to deliver a similar curation function with categories most relevant to eBay employees.

For the social feed, Burnham pointed towards Facebook and Yammer. “Social feeds will allow our employees to see which videos their co-workers have uploaded, have watched, or are watching" he says. "Many times, for many employees, this is a much better indicator that the video is relevant to them than an email or memo.”

What It’s All About: The ROI of Enterprise YouTube

At this point, our conversation turned to ROI and the benefits the Qumu enterprise YouTube delivered. At a high level, Burnham pointed towards communications and engagement. “eBay is a 24/7 business in over 31 countries in many different languages," Burnham says. "We’ve found that video has become the preferred method for keeping tabs on what’s happening; it’s much more effective to produce a short video or a live event than to draft a long memo. Video makes the concepts easy to consume, and easy to grasp, and our employees can finish up and go about their business.”

I asked if the younger employees in the eBay workforce were driving this shift from memos to video, which led to a broader discussion about engagement, and how technology trends are driving how eBay wants to enable their employees to interact. “It’s not just that the millennials in our workforce are more used to communicating with video, it's that video is a better form of communicating. Outside of our work environment, all of our employees are producing and consuming much more video, even the grandparents among us.”

“Think about it,” he says. “Ten years ago, it was a major hassle to produce a single video; you had to shoot with an expensive camcorder, edit with sophisticated software on an expensive workstation, and upload to a complicated web server for delivery. The only place you could watch the video was on a computer. Today, these functions have been democratized, and you can do all of that in ten minutes with an iPhone and YouTube, and watch the video anywhere you would like. These are the types of experiences that our employees are used to, plus the discoverability aspects we discussed a moment ago.”

“And these are the types of experiences that all employees—not just millenials—expect from their enterprise system. The bottom line is that we just can't sit idly by and say our current tools are sufficient; that just doesn't work anymore. We have to continue to invest to make our internal systems match the external experience, and the Qumu enterprise YouTube functionality is a significant piece of that investment.”

Author’s note: During our discussions, Burnham made it clear that he was speaking as an individual and not on behalf of eBay.

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