Is your team stuck using Microsoft Stream for your internal content distribution?
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has force-fed its video platform Stream to IT departments and leaders in the Office365 eco-system for years. But with a lack of features, support and news that Microsoft is sunsetting its platform’s “Classic” version, it might be time to switch.
Luckily, there are plenty of options for enterprise and mid-market businesses looking for an easy-to-use and secure video hosting platform.
Doomed from the Start: Microsoft Stream Lacked Product Strategy
Microsoft Stream is one of the most popular enterprise video platform services out there. With millions of users already using apps like Outlook, Teams, and Sharepoint, it would seem a no-brainer for companies to make Stream their go-to service for content hosting.
Unfortunately, Microsoft Stream lacks the advanced features found in many of its competitors—things like custom reporting and robust security protocols—which has left many users feeling disheartened.
The platform’s lack of product strategy hasn’t done it any favors either: updates have been few and far between, while questions posed to the Microsoft Stream support team have gone unanswered.
When you look at the timeline of the product, you can see it’s never been a priority for Microsoft:
2015 – Microsoft Office 365 video
2017 – Microsoft Stream
2019 – Microsoft Steam Classic and Microsoft Stream 365
2021 – Microsoft Stream (on SharePoint)
2023 – (just kidding) Stream Enterprise on SharePoint that runs on Azure
The product lacked direction, commitment, and investment. Therefore it has suffered a loss of functionality over time – limiting users to a basic feature set while competitors have leapfrogged the product.
Use Cases for a Microsoft Stream Alternative
Back in 2020, when the pandemic first hit, the need for remote collaboration skyrocketed. Zoom meetings became the norm, and remote work was no longer an inconvenience but a necessity.
With that came a dire need to easily share and disseminate information with colleagues, customers, and partners. Enter enterprise video solutions for internal communications, training, and more.
The main use case for enterprise video for employees is typically for internal communication and collaboration. Enterprise video platforms are often used to share information and updates from leadership, deliver training and onboarding content, and facilitate team meetings and presentations.
Microsoft Stream seemed like the perfect tool to alleviate newfound information-sharing struggles. It had some exciting features, such as automatic closed captioning, aka ML-based transcription, that was powered by Azure. You could live stream events, upload and share videos, and integrate with other Microsoft tools like Office 365 and SharePoint.
However, in practice, Stream was clunky and difficult to use, and users could never find the content they needed.
Video content should capture knowledge and expertise from subject matter experts and be easily accessible to a broader audience. This can be particularly useful for organizations with a decentralized workforce or remote employees.
Your internal videos should also create a sense of connection and community among employees, especially when remote work is more prevalent. This can include things like virtual town hall meetings or employee-generated content.
Another great use for video in enterprise settings is for e-learning and training of employees or performance evaluations; video can be used to create engaging and interactive learning experiences, improving retention and understanding of the material.
With the right tools, Corporate Communications Managers, HR Departments, and Sales Leaders can easily distribute consistent messaging with just a few clicks… but Microsoft Stream creates gaps in the workflow regarding user engagement, content searchability, and more.
What is an Enterprise Video Solution?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, enterprise video solutions are web-based platforms for hosting and distributing corporate videos. They often include features like analytics, security protocols (e.g., encryption), and configurable user permissions to control who can view or share content.
These tools enable companies to quickly and easily disseminate information, such as product launches, company updates, training materials, etc.
The best enterprise video solutions come with features like live streaming, powerful security settings, customizable branding options, and integrations with other popular business applications like Salesforce, Slack, or Zoom.
Why Microsoft Stream Doesn’t Work as an Enterprise Video Platform
Microsoft Stream is a well-marketed enterprise video platform that is included in Microsoft 365 and offers a range of features for managing, sharing, and tracking videos within an organization.
However, like any software, it has some limitations and potential downsides.
Some of the demerits of Microsoft Stream include the following:
Limited Customization: Some users have reported that the platform’s customization options are limited, making it difficult to fully brand and tailor the platform to their organization’s specific needs.
Limited Integration: Microsoft Stream is integrated with other Microsoft products, like Office 365 and SharePoint, but it may not integrate as seamlessly with non-Microsoft tools and systems.
Limited Analytics: While Microsoft Stream offers analytics on how videos are used and viewed, the data is not as robust as other enterprise video platforms, making it difficult to understand viewer engagement and fully make data-driven decisions.
Limited scalability: for large enterprises with a huge number of employees, videos, and content, it may be difficult for the platform to scale to meet the organization’s needs.
Limited support: some users have reported that the support options for Microsoft Stream are limited and that getting help with the platform can be difficult.
However, other enterprise video platforms, such as CircleHD, Kaltura, Brightcove, and Vimeo Enterprise, offer similar features and benefits and might better fit certain organizations.
If you are evaluating different platforms, we have put together a checklist and RFP template you can use to see which one fits your needs.
How to Choose the Right Enterprise Video Solution for Your Company
When choosing an enterprise video platform, there are several factors to consider. Some important considerations include the platform’s scalability and security and its ability to integrate with other tools and systems within the organization.
Additionally, it’s essential to consider the cost and support options available for the platform. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a platform that doesn’t have the features you need or adequate support when an issue arises.
Finally, it’s important to evaluate how easy the platform is to use and customize. The video platform should be easy for employees to adopt quickly so they can use it effectively immediately.
4 Reasons to Choose CircleHD as a Microsoft Stream Replacement
CircleHD is a full-featured enterprise video platform; it’s important to evaluate all options and choose a solution that best fits the specific needs and goals of your organization.
Scalability, security, integration, and cost should all be considered when deciding.
1. CircleHD offers better video quality.
Microsoft Stream’s streaming quality is often subpar, resulting in choppy, pixelated videos. CircleHD, on the other hand, offers smooth, high-quality streaming that users can rely on.
2. CircleHD is more user-friendly.
Microsoft Stream can be difficult to navigate, with a clunky interface and inconsistent user experience. But CircleHD is intuitive and easy to use, making it much more enjoyable for users.
Plus, with full integration with single sign-on solutions, such as Azure Active Directory, Okta, or OneLogin. It’s easy for your users (no matter their level of technical skill) to log in, access content, and learn quickly.
3. CircleHD offers a better learning experience.
Microsoft Stream doesn’t do a great job tracking and reporting user engagement with videos. CircleHD, however, has powerful analytics tools that help you understand how users engage with content and make data-driven decisions. And with a simple interface, leaders can easily create courses tailored to job functions and roles.
4. CircleHD is more affordable.
Microsoft Stream can be expensive, with its monthly subscription plans ranging from $5 to $15 per user. CircleHD, on the other hand, is much more affordable for scaling and growing enterprises.
Getting Started with a New Enterprise Video Solution
Changing your video platform is no small task – it can seem daunting, especially if you have a large library of existing videos. That’s why choosing the right vendor and platform for your organization is important.
Once you’ve chosen an enterprise video solution, create a plan for migrating your content and ensure that everyone is properly trained on how to use the new platform.
Finally, take advantage of all the features available within your new platform. Enterprise video solutions like CircleHD offer exciting ways to share data with your team — you just have to make the switch.
If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD can help support your training and team enablement efforts, we’d love to speak with you. Get in touch here.