Professional Services and You: What Do Professional Services Do, Anyway?
April 18, 2017
Larger organizations who adopt video must integrate this technology and its capabilities with their business processes and internal policies. Doing so is instrumental to getting buy-in from IT, and acceptance and adoption from end-users. However, it’s a challenging task. While internal IT knows its own structures very well, sometimes specialist knowledge is required to integrate the complex systems involved. This is where Professional Services group comes in. At Kaltura, the Professional Services (PS) team works with our larger clients to ensure a smooth integration of video into existing IT processes, and provide the on-ramps for successful adoption of video by users.
This post describes the types services provided by Kaltura Professional Services and provides a list of considerations to help you consider whether a Professional Services engagement is right for your project. In an upcoming post, we’ll review tips and best practices for engaging with a Professional Services organization.
What does a Professional Services organization offer at a company like Kaltura?
Professional Services organizations provide a clear value proposition to purchasers of complex business applications: CRM, ERP, HR, and many other mission-critical business applications come with large Professional Services engagements. These engagements ensure that the business application integrates with the purchasing organizations’ existing technical infrastructure, business processes, and policy requirements. In other words, buying Professional Services is the most cost-effective way for a large organization to get started with a new business application quickly and smoothly.
The services provided by Kaltura’s Professional Services team are designed to allow your organization to get started with video quickly, integrate into existing business tools, and minimize compliance risk.
Professional Services Offerings
For most PS organizations, services can be roughly split into four types of offerings:
Migration: Whether through a homebrew system or another vendor, you may already be doing the thing you’re getting a new service to manage. If so, you’ll need some way of migrating your existing data and processes over to the new system.
Example: Most companies already have at least some video content. The Kaltura PS team helps move existing video content and video workflows onto Kaltura’s platform. Having the existing content already on Kaltura when it launches internally creates a seamless experience for users as they begin to use the new platform.
Integration: Today’s companies use multiple software platforms to handle all kinds of use cases, from scheduling, to customer support, to marketing automation. There is increasing demand for different platforms to integrate with each other. Automated integration allows data to be passed smoothly from one platform and department to another – reducing manual effort, avoiding costly mistakes, and providing traceability. Setting up all the integrations for a new service, though, can be a huge hassle. Professional Services makes sure your new installation plays nicely with all your existing platforms.
Example: Kaltura offers dozens of integrations with other business applications, from Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Blackboard or Moodle, to social business software like Jive or Sharepoint. During integration engagements, our Professional Services team works together with the internal administrators and IT staff to enable, configure, and secure these integrations to achieve the organization’s desired use case. We also design and develop bespoke integrations into home-grown systems, or into systems that aren’t a component of our product suite. For clients with in-house software engineering teams, we can take a consultative role and assist those teams with successfully integrating video into applications or websites they are developing.
Customization: It’s common for clients to have specialized requirements that aren’t available through the out-of-the-box features of a product suite. In cases like this, Professional Services can work together with your business to design, build, and deliver custom capabilities inside their products.
Example: Kaltura’s Professional Services has a vast amount of experience building new video-ready components, designing new product features screens, and deploying new integrations.
Training: Last, but not least, user training is frequently an integral part of a successful deployment. A well-designed training package can “supercharge” users’ ability to begin effectively using the platform by sharing industry-specific best practices and quickly guiding them to the parts of the software relevant to their business function. Training packages are especially important to administrators, content moderators, and other super-users who need to know the ins and outs of the system.
Example: Kaltura’s Professional Services team provides training services for both end-users and in-house administartors, ensuring that they have the knowledge and support to become effective with video as quickly as possible.
When do you choose PS, and how much PS do you buy?
Whether to use Professional Services—and how much to use—will be one of the most important decisions you make as you embark on a major organizational software deployment. Your organization’s unique use case should drive the questions you will need to ask yourself to decide whether Professional Services are right for your project. Here are the key questions we encourage our clients to consider when making this decision in regards to deploying video capabilities:
Does my organization need to integrate video capabilities with other systems to drive use and adoption?
If you’re planning to use MediaSpace, Kaltura’s online video portal, you should strongly consider whether it needs to integrate with your organization’s Single-Sign On (SSO) system. Some IT organizations mandate that all intranet services work with the company’s identify management service via SSO. But even if your organization doesn’t mandate this, consider whether remembering an extra username and password may be a hurdle to smooth video adoption for your users.
Integrations into other business applications — a Learning Management System (LMS), or an intranet portal such as Sharepoint — can also simplify users’ workflows and allow them to get started with video right away. Due to the complexity of these applications and need for close coordination with enterprise IT, a short Professional Services engagement is required.
Product integrations are a great way to get started working with Professional Services and receive fast ROI. Consider your needs and try to plan for these kinds of integrations upfront.
How will my organization achieve “first value” from the use of video?
What is the leading use case for video that will bring your organization a return on its investment? Focus on this use case first, and consider whether a migration, integration, or customization service will help you arrive there more quickly and with less risk. If so, an engagement with our Professional Services team is a safe bet. However, you may find that you can achieve “first value” without external assistance. In that case, you may want to show ROI first, and use that success as a springboard to bigger and more complex engagements. With a quick-win under your belt, it will be much easier to secure a larger budget and more internal buy-in, which will allow you to pursue more ambitious projects together with our team.
Identify your project’s success criteria and map a realistic path to their realization. The complexity and difficulty of this path should serve as a primary input to the decision of whether a Professional Services engagement is the right way to go.
Does my organization or industry have unique compliance or policy requirements around the use of video?
Larger organizations in complex industries — banking, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, and so on — are governed by a wide range of policies and regulations. The reach of these may extend to how video is created, managed, and shared within your organization. Some examples include policies mandating how content is archived for legal discovery, regulations regarding the distribution of marketing materials, or privacy directives that control collection and access to employee data. Global organizations are especially affected, due to the number of regulatory frameworks within which they operate.
Maintaining compliance is a common reason to engage with Professional Services. Our team regularly works with clients to adjust Kaltura’s product suite for this purpose. In many cases, such as with internal security policies or data protection regulations, a consultation to review and adjust product settings may be all that’s needed. More complex scenarios sometimes require additional software customizations, and thus a larger Professional Services engagement.
Determine the policies and regulations that will apply to the use of video within your organization. Different use cases — e.g. internal training vs. external marketing — need to be considered as well. Your legal and IT departments can assist with compiling this list. Reviewing this list during the sales process will quickly determine which of your organization’s requirements are addressed out-of-the-box, which may require bespoke product configuration, and which (if any) may require additional development.
Choosing Professional Services
In this blog post, we reviewed the most common services provided by Professional Services teams at a company like Kaltura. These are: migration, integration, customization, and training. Whether to engage Professional Services into your project is an important decision with implications for your budget and timelines. You can structure your decision-making process by considering the following: the systems and business processes into which you are integrating new capabilities; the path to realizing ROI; and what steps must be taken to keep your organization compliant when new technology is introduced into your existing IT mix.
Kaltura's mission is to power any video experience. Our wide array of video solutions are deployed globally across thousands of enterprises, media companies, service providers, and educational institutions, leveraging video to teach, learn, communicate, collaborate, and entertain.