(Photo: Dell employees record a video using My Mediasite by Sonic Foundry. Credit: Lawrence Grafton) 

Companies are increasingly engaging employees with video for corporate communications and trainings. They’re fast-tracking their sophisticated enterprise video strategies and putting the power of content creation into the hands of their employees.

Find out how Dell achieved return-on-investment, increased communication and realized efficiencies by championing a small video project and turning it into a large-scale, mission-critical, transformative communication platform.

Building deeper connections
It all started about two years ago at Dell’s annual sales meeting in Las Vegas where remote employees gather for training, corporate strategy sessions and to learn about the latest Dell products in a giant expo center.

Some of our sales team located around the world made videos about their success stories, which were played throughout the day at the expo. While it was fascinating to see how Dell products were making it into customers’ hands, the videos left a lot to be desired –recorded with laptops at awkward angles and poor lighting.

I stayed up all night editing the videos, and I started becoming familiar with these individuals. The next day as I took the finished video to be played at the expo I walked right into one of the people in the video. I said, ‘Hi John, how’s it going? Congratulations on the big deal that you had with that hospital in Canada. I hope it went well. By the way, love the house! The family is wonderful. How are things going?”

Because of the power of video I had created a personal relationship with this person who I had never met. That’s called para-social interaction – when one party knows significantly more about the other in a conversation.

It made me realize just how powerful video is. I thought, “Wow, this is how video is going to start getting people to connect with trainers.” It’s no longer just voice over slides. You can actually see the face, see the expressions, see how people talk, get their messages across and build relationships.

A new idea was formulating. I knew Dell had Mediasite gear, trainers and an audience. I just had to figure out how to put it all together.

Talk about an elevator pitch …
The expo had 3,309 rooms stretched across 44 floors and dozens of elevators. So imagine my surprise when my elevator door opens, and there’s Michael Dell. Before I knew it I was saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great idea about how we can use video with Dell’s infrastructure to solve a lot of the corporate communications problems we’ve been having.”

I knew that rich media was being created all across Dell. But it was coming from all directions without a centralized distribution solution. Nobody knew where to go to get that one critical piece of information they needed, which resulted in chaos in our messaging, and in business, chaos equals burning money.

For example, our training organizations were doing weekly live video presentations to about 4,000 employees. That cost $750,000 annually. Other departments were doing live presentations to smaller groups of employees, which drove the price up astronomically. We needed to bring everybody together into one single video solution to significantly reduce costs.

Enter DellTV
We built the enterprise video initiative DellTV with Sonic Foundry’s My Mediasite, the personal video capture tool to encourage user-generated content among employees. The Mediasite Desktop Recorder within My Mediasite is really what drove the adoption of DellTV.

DellTV unifies corporate messaging to the more than 100,000 Dell employees and ensures that everyone, no matter where they are in the world, is speaking the same language. In the past year it’s taken on hockey-stick growth within the organization.

This column first appeared in Streaming Media. Click here to finish reading.

Lawrence Grafton is the creator of DellTV, a communications medium that utilizes Mediasite and Dell infrastructure to create a collaborative network facilitating cooperation with multiple organizations within Dell including external customers. Lawrence is also a field marketing manager in Dell’s Global Division working to develop the data center strategy in some of the world’s largest companies.