Podcasting Gets Enterprise Play
Opinion: Podcasts are the latest tool in flattening out the enterprise.While Apple is fighting trademark wars over the term "podcast," corporate America is finally embracing it. Last week, Apple began circulating cease-and-desist letters to companies Apple thought were unfairly using the term. Apple has its own issues, but lets face it: The word "podcast," which already is included in the dictionary, has joined the select groups of brands that have become part of the vernacular of everyday products, such as Kleenex (tissues), Band-Aid (bandages) and Xerox (copying). But whatever you want to call it, podcasts (digital audio downloadable content) are the latest tool in flattening out the enterprise. Take IBM, for instance. Executive Editor Stan Gibson reports that IBM is one of many companies using podcasting to reach out to employees, customers and partners. The digital audio files are easy and cheap to create, manage and use, and replace boring and nasty meetings and memos. But the bigger (and probably unintended) payoff is what podcasting is doing to corporate culture.
In IBMs case, podcasting is "lowering the center of gravity" by enabling lower-level managers to create and publish their own podcasts for their own employees and customers. "IBM has a history of hierarchy and bureaucracy. We want to break that down," Ben Edwards, manager of new-media communications for IBM, told Gibson. "New media can play an important and catalytic role. Its desirable because people increasingly trust individual voices over institutional and corporate voices."