Industry Perspectives: Solving the Video Content Conundrum

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Organisations today face a conundrum when it comes to managing video content for use inside the firewall. While more and more video content is being created every year, the processes and techniques for storing it and making it available intelligently lag far behind. The result is an enterprise video landscape replete with impenetrable silos, wasted resources, lost files, and potentially unauthorised or improper use of assets.

In some ways, the mismanagement of video assets is no different from troubles facing many other classes of content. Every corporate information worker can relate to the frustration of not being able to find a spreadsheet or Word document in a complicated or poorly designed content management system (CMS). Video brings with it extra aggravations. Video files are big, so they frequently get placed in storage solutions that are bolted on to core CMS solutions. This makes it tricky to put video on a par with more text-based content inside these solutions. The culprit, usually, is a lack of metadata.

Enterprise search technologies such as the Google Mini or Microsoft Search Server can crawl text-based content and create an orderly index out of even the most wildly disorganised CMS. Video content is not so easily crawled, given that most searchable terms are not manifested in text form. Poorly searchable and inadequately indexed, a lot of valuable video simply gets lost in a CMS.

Then there is the issue of video content silos. Anyone who has ventured into the world of a large-scale CMS will tell you that content silos are inevitable. Different corporate groups need content management for distinct purposes, so incompatible silos of content arise automatically. Mergers compound the problem. Video, already a stepchild in the CMS, suffers even more from the disaggregation of siloed content. New industry initiatives designed to combat content silos such as Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) can help, but only if the video has clear enough metadata to make CMIS' cross-CMS querying effective.

In human terms, video content faces a challenge from shifting worker behaviours. Like it or not, we are now seeing the rise of the "YouTube Generation" in the workplace. People in the workplace are expecting to interact with video content in a fun, universally searchable, social environment. They expect channels, instant playback, and the ability to write reviews. For most users of traditional CMS solutions, this just isn't the experience they encounter.

There are several video management platforms on the market that enable users to have a YouTube-like experience with corporate video. However, anyone evaluating these kinds of solutions should watch out for the need to migrate content, which is an extremely expensive and organisationally difficult "gotcha" that can stem from deploying a video management platform.

IT consultants love content migration projects because they are typically long, painful, and costly. This is why, if you're the client, you should be afraid, very afraid, of content migration. If you are thinking about moving your video onto a platform that requires that assets be moved off of whatever platform they currently sit on, you will face some severe challenges. Perhaps most serious is the potential for conflict with the entrenched corporate CMS standard.

If you're a CIO, once you've gone FileNet, SharePoint, or Documentum, to name a few, you're invested in that technology for life. It's a rare video solution that will dislodge an IT department from its chosen standard. Whatever video content platform you select needs to be compatible with, and not require migration away from, that standard.

It's not a simple proposition to change the way an enterprise handles video, but today is looking better than yesterday.

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