Increased
video output

Decreased
production time

Improved
engagement with video content

Decreased
production costs

Every day, billions of people connect with their favorite brands to shop online, play games, share ideas, manage money, and so much more. They may not know it, but Akamai is there, powering and protecting life online. Akamai’s suite of leading security, compute, and content delivery solutions help global companies make life better for billions of people, billions of times a day.

 

Akamai leverages Socialive to remotely record, produce, and distribute virtual events to its far-flung employee base. With nearly 9,000 employees dispersed over 40 locations, these events are critical to keeping employees informed and engaged.

Industry

Technology

Solution

Remote production

simon gerzina

“We went through an evolution through much of 2020 and even 2021, figuring out how to get really good at doing things remotely that we'd been fairly good at doing in the physical world. Reaching out to Socialive was another step in a process of trying to find tools, technologies, and processes that helped us do that — but actually worked the way that we needed to work.”

 

Simon Gerzina, Senior Global Events Manager, Digital & Production, Akamai

CHALLENGE

 

Scaling video production across a global enterprise

The pandemic exacerbated the challenges that many large enterprises with global workforces and customers face. “For a distributed company, we relied very heavily on the ability to do things in person,” Gerzina said. At the beginning of 2020, they had just built a new headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts intended, among other things, for people to gather face to face and attend in-person events.

 

And then, of course, the rest of 2020 happened. Akamai was already accustomed to producing videos to share with its global audiences. But the organization could no longer rely on physical production studios or even the ability to sit two people down across from each other to create content. Gerzina’s team was forced to start working very differently.

simon gerzina

“As someone who's been webcasting for a very long time, the norm has always been encoders that you can reach out and touch and control in front of you. But the reliance on on-premises technology has increasingly felt like the point of failure in the events that we've run. We wanted a solution that was more resilient, especially considering the majority of production was also placeless. So moving streaming into the cloud — end to end — was a really big priority for us."

 

Simon Gerzina, Senior Global Events Manager, Digital & Production, Akamai

Like many other companies at the time, Akamai began to explore virtual event solutions. “We had a series of false starts in which we learned what wasn't going to work,” Gerzina said. For example, many virtual solutions don’t solve for varied time zones. Creating content with a dozen people located across very different parts of the world created scheduling headaches.

 

Additionally, Akamai’s events team struggled to maintain consistent quality and branding from afar without overly complicating the user experience. After some trial and error, Akamai turned to Socialive. “Once we found what was going to work, we put ourselves on a journey of getting really good at using those tools, “ Gerzina continued.

SOLUTION

 

Socialive powers the growing middle

Akamai leverages Socialive for internal-facing use cases, including sales kickoff meetings (SKOs) and all-hands meetings. The global events team relies on our platform to:

 

  • Remotely create repeatable, professional-looking, and on-brand videos that live up to Akamai’s reputation as a leading technology solution
  • Democratize video content creation so more employees across the organization can contribute video content
  • Remotely record speakers across time zones, which can then be edited together for the full broadcast
  • Produce high-quality content with little user friction
  • Move away from on-premises technology with a cloud-based solution
simon gerzina

"Socialive takes what can be very complex features and makes them accessible. We now have the ability to enable more people to become creators of increasingly more sophisticated video content."

 

Simon Gerzina, Senior Global Events Manager, Digital & Production, Akamai

Akamai has found the sweet spot with Socialive. As a large enterprise, the tech company typically has multiple options to solve for a particular need. And when it comes to creating video, “I always think of us as having three tiers of options: low, middle, and high. We have very few people using the options at the highest tier, which includes hiring production companies, booking soundstages, sending out multi-camera crews, and spending months in pre-production and creative development,” Gerzina said.

 

“At the bottom end of the scale we have people using business tools to create video content. They're jumping to Zoom or WebEx, and they're self recording a demo or a tutorial or a webinar. These are the people who are very used to creating video remotely, doing it with great agility, and being self starters. So for us, deploying Socialive was actually more about developing a middle tool that was accessible yet higher quality than the low tier,” Gerzina continued.

 

Akamai found it was relatively seamless to get employees who were already accustomed to recording videos in the bottom tier to start embracing the middle tier. With Socialive, these users can continue quickly and easily recording videos in an intuitive platform. But now their content looks more polished thanks to Socialive’s drag-and-drop layouts, overlays, graphics, and lower thirds.

 

With a growing middle tier, Akamai has been able to cut down its number of top-tier productions. As a result, their team can redistribute budget and resources to produce even more high-quality videos in the cloud. “The middle has to have elements of the tiers that surround it,” Gerzina said. “It has to have as much of the quality of the band above it as possible. But it also has to have the ease of use of the band below it. The middle isn’t its own space — it’s the best of the things that surround it.”

Getting busy executives, customers, and partners to participate in a 15 minute video recording is a win as it is. But getting them to adopt a new tool that requires significant training is often simply unattainable. With Socialive, Akamai’s speakers can join from their smartphone or desktop browser with no prior video production expertise.

simon gerzina

"The idea that we can have a preferred tool that can work in almost every way we work has been really important. In the year plus that we've been using Socialive, most of the other video acquisition tools we use have become backup solutions for extreme exceptions. And I think that really alludes to how flexible Socialive has proven to be for us."

 

Simon Gerzina, Senior Global Events Manager, Digital & Production, Akamai

OUTCOME

 

The ability to say “yes” more

Since switching to Socialive, Akamai has been able to better scale remote video production across its global enterprise — without sacrificing quality. Results include:

 

Streamlined post-production and shorter timelines: “Things that felt like momentous wins a year ago are status quo today,” Gerzina said. It used to take Akamai’s global events team about a week to record speakers and complete post production ahead of the company’s all-hands meetings. After switching to Socialive, that five-day turnaround quickly became a two-day turnaround. So Gerzina’s team keeps setting the bar higher: The two-day turnaround has now become a same-day turnaround.

simon gerzina

"The ability to mostly eliminate post production and have more and more of our content becoming live to tape with a really light post production process has dramatically shortened our turnaround times for creating recorded content."

 

Simon Gerzina, Senior Global Events Manager, Digital & Production, Akamai

Higher output and increased scale: “One of the ways I've looked at the value Socialive has provided us is that we can continue spending the same amount of money and just do a lot more stuff. For us, there's always been more appetite to create video than we had the resources to create. And a lot of that is a human bottleneck. The more time you spend managing logistics and post production, the less time you spend creating content — and the less content you create. The ability to create efficiency everywhere in that process has allowed us to simply make more things,” Gerzina said. As a result, Akamai is hosting larger scale virtual events and creating more content inventory from those events. “No one I report up to has asked me to shave off spend. They’ve asked me to be able to say ‘yes’ more. And now we can,” Gerzina continued.

Better reach: With nearly 9,000 employees distributed across the globe, Akamai consumes a lot of internal video content. Video is a significant component of its onboarding, enablement, communications, and learning programs. Since becoming a more video-centric organization, Akamai has expanded its reach. “A good example is our internal all-hands programs. We used to fly executives around to major offices worldwide to go on a whistlestop tour over the course of two or three weeks. They might be in six different cities in pretty rapid fire in order to engage groups of a few hundred employees at a time. During the pandemic, that became a virtual program. As a virtual program, we had much better adoption because we could actually touch everyone. We went from only being able to get in front of maybe 50% of our population, to being able to get in front of 100% of our people with the recording and 80% live,” Gerzina said. Because of the success of this program, others have begun to follow suit. To reach more individuals across the organization, many meetings are becoming webcasts. And written content such as case studies are becoming video first.


More inclusive: Moving away from on-premises technology and embracing the cloud has enabled Akamai to include more of its people in the production process. “One of the things that's been really important, and maybe unanticipated, in how we're using Socialive is the ability to bring more people into the process. As a very diverse organization, it’s important we actually hear from diverse voices. But who got to be in the room and whose voice was represented used to be restricted to geography. In using Socialive, we've been able to hear from more voices and started to involve more people as collaborators and content creators both in front of and behind the camera,” Gerzina said.

simon gerzina

 “Our content is being shaped by more collaborators who perhaps would have been excluded from the process a couple of years ago. And that's been really, really exciting for me as both a content creator and as a beneficiary of that content.”

 

Simon Gerzina, Senior Global Events Manager, Digital & Production, Akamai

Increased
video output

Decreased
production time

Improved
engagement with video content

Decreased
production costs

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