Each year, Wainhouse Research conducts a comprehensive survey to monitor trends in enterprise streaming video. The survey captures quantitative data about usage and deployment as well as attitudes about the technology and services used for streaming and webcasting. The latest results from IT respondents once again reveal the majority of organizations, more than 70%, have multiple video streaming platforms deployed. In fact, more than 1/3 of organizations use three or more video platforms. In an age when efficiency and productivity are the name of the game for IT departments, this propagation of streaming video platforms inside the enterprise creates support challenges. No wonder 90% of IT executives report the desire to standardize on a single streaming platform. But this desire to consolidate, while good-intentioned, is not likely to become reality any time soon. In today’s enterprise streaming market, it’s virtually impossible to find a single platform that adequately meets the requirements for all the popular uses cases of enterprise video. Business stakeholders have painfully learned that video streaming platforms are usually optimized for specific use cases. As such, a platform that does an excellent job supporting executive broadcasts or HR communications will often fall short of meeting critical requirements for global learning and development programs or quarterly earnings calls.
The surprise in the quest for simplicity
So what’s an IT executive to do? Forcing standardization on a common platform can undermine the strategic objectives of business functions and erode the partnership between IT and business stakeholders. Even with hosted video streaming platforms and associated SLAs, the common denominator for effective video communication is successful delivery to the audience. Inside the enterprise, that means network infrastructure plays a crucial role in end-to-end video streaming. And responsibility for the network is squarely on IT. They need to ensure the network infrastructure allows video to reach intended viewers while protecting mission-critical applications from potential network congestion caused by this kind of bandwidth-intensive data. Because enterprise content delivery networks (eCDNs) are network overlays, deploying and managing unique distribution infrastructure to support each streaming platform is an IT nightmare—and fortunately unnecessary. As Steve Vonder Haar explains in this Wainhouse Research video, standardization really needs to take a different form. Rather than focusing on standardizing the streaming platform, IT should look to standardize the network infrastructure. By seeking out common enterprise streaming infrastructure (CESI), a single solution can be deployed to support all the video streaming across the corporate network, regardless of the video source. Not only does this simplify the deployment and management of the eCDN, but it provides maximum flexibility for the future. Even if the quest for a single streaming platform finally becomes a reality, having put a common delivery infrastructure in place will continue to be a good investment.