The Enterprise Video Hype Cycle – Where Are You At?


New technology goes through a cycle where everyone thinks it will solve all problems, then frustration sets in when we discover it doesn’t, followed by acceptance of what is really possible with the technology. Gartner refers to it as the hype cycle for emerging technologies and shares examples of new technology they are tracking. The use of video in the enterprise is going through its own hype cycle now. Where do you think we are on the spectrum? What are you finding in your organization?

Gartner’s phases, in chronological order, are: “innovation trigger,” “peak of inflated expectations,” “trough of disillusionment,” “slope of enlightenment,” and “plateau of productivity.” Speech recognition is in the “plateau of productivity” phase, meaning that its capabilities and limitations are well understood and widely deployed. In contrast, gamification is in the “trough of disillusionment”. Many recently thought you could “gamify” anything and it would succeed, which has proven not to be the case and as a result some are disillusioned with gamification.

Now consider enterprise video. While not explicitly tracked by Gartner, that’s going through a hype cycle, too. The period of great expectations from this innovation has passed. Conventional wisdom for enterprises was, “If it’s a video, people will love it; it will ‘go viral.’”  As a result, organizations invested in video content management systems, “corporate tube” video portals, networks of (underutilized) video conference rooms, and related technology to create a fragmented strategy and disintegrated video enterprise infrastructure. Many organizations are in the period of disillusionment now. Their investments in enterprise video technology are underutilized, or worse, shelfware.

Some organizations have learned a lesson that unfortunately we must learn over and over. Technology alone doesn’t solve problems. Technology in the hands of those who understand how to map it to business strategy and develop sound programs and planning around the technology are the ones who will generate returns from their tech investments.

So, what can you do with enterprise video investments? You need to find and apply expertise to make the program successful, including business strategy, IT integration, presentation skills, audience acquisition and engagement, measurement and analysis, production and support. At INXPO, over the past decade of working with global enterprise clients, we’ve learned that the most successful video investments are part of strategic communication programs that leverage video as a way to reach and engage audiences. Those enterprises driving a high ROI with video have realized they can’t just “set it and forget it.” They know that video is a dynamic medium for communicating to large, distributed audiences – really, it’s almost better than appearing live in person when you factor in the audience engagement data available.

I predict that as more enterprises learn about the advantages of video technology in their communication strategies, the “plateau of productivity” for video is just around the corner. And then enterprises will wonder how they ever did business without it.