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The question of whether or not lines of business should help build a video strategy is interesting because it speaks to the range of possibilities with today's video technology. To a large extent, the answer depends on the role IT is willing to play in supporting certain video strategies. In cases where IT still maintains tight control over technology use and management, the video strategy will likely remain centralized, rather than fragmented by lines of business, or LOB.
A centralized video strategy is certainly practical. One reason for such a strategy would be economies of scale, where IT can get the best pricing, quality, features, add-ons and terms of service by deploying on a companywide basis. An equally important reason is to provide a consistent service that works the same way for all employees and can be managed by the same team within IT.
As neat and tidy as that sounds, it's getting much harder for IT to do. Control has been shifting toward end users for years, with shadow IT a prime example of how employees are taking matters into their own hands. IT is no longer the gatekeeper of communications technology, and video has evolved to the point where employees can deploy a variety of options on their own.
Lines of business no longer have to rely on costly proprietary hardware or dedicated rooms for video conferencing. As LOBs discover the power of desktop and mobile video, as well as a growing range of cloud-based applications, employees can create their own video conferencing strategy. Some departments will have internal needs that don't require HD-quality conferencing, but customer-facing units need a great user experience.
A key driver for LOBs' video strategy will be the need for custom features or integrations with other applications. If IT can't cater to these needs, the LOB decision makers will find another way.
When developing a video strategy, shadow IT is more common these days, and IT needs to be realistic about its role. If an LOB wants to pursue its own video strategy, that should be fine; but IT should also be involved to ensure these initiatives don't create islands where each LOB stands apart from the organization as a whole.
Ultimately, business value should dictate the video strategy for each LOB. But without a guiding hand from IT, there's a real risk of creating some confusion that will undermine video's effectiveness.
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