Companies with a digital foundation in place have been able to move swiftly to new ways of working. But even those that weren’t as prepared are finding ways to adapt — some temporarily, while others are seeing the benefits of making their new ways permanent.
Even as a digital transformation company, we had to make changes due to COVID-19. When faced with the realities of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, we had to figure out how to move our Adobe Summit online — yet give our customers everything they love about a live experience, such as Q&A sessions and the networking and face time with speakers, peers, evangelists and experts.
In a mere three weeks, we dug in, looked at potential new technologies to use and worked very long hours to transition this huge, in-person live event in Las Vegas to be entirely virtual with numerous keynote presentations and 100+ breakout sessions. All of which were filmed from the presenter’s sitting rooms. But like all things done in a short amount of time, we ran into challenges.
“We quickly realised that producing the same high-quality videos we always do would be impossible, given the current situation,” says Sergio Claudio, senior director of Adobe.com enterprise at Adobe. “And doing them live added all kinds of risks, like interruptions or running too long.” So, we pivoted to pre-recorded videos, which we could edit. There was also another benefit to pre-recording the videos — we could translate them into other languages, including Japanese, French and German. For questions and chat, we used a combination of a live handoff and AI.
We also had to consider how people would consume the content. We determined flexibility was key. Rather than long presentations, we created shorter videos they could watch at their convenience, with chapters so they could jump to the content they needed most.
We learnt a lot in the process. “By adapting the presentations to be virtual and free to everyone, the event was instantly more accessible to more people,” says Claudio. “Yet we also learnt that people want live presentations and interactivity. So, we’re looking at a hybrid approach for our next event.”