This week Procter & Gamble announced http://bit.ly/I262sG that it would ban employee access to Netflix and Pandora in order to save bandwith at the company headquarters in Cincinnati. My first reaction was that banning internet site access never seems to work out like as it is intended. This is true in particular when people can access so much on their mobile devices. Ban Facebook or Youtube? No problem – people will just do in on their smartphone. So often the result of banning just causes a shift in how people access social media and video sites.
As it turns out P & G’s banning access to Netflix and Pandora was more a question of reducing data usage and in fact could save the company money since currently the data spend is as much as $15 million annually. P & G is hardly alone in contending with a skyrocketing use of data at the corporate level that taxes internal servers and slows overall employee productivity.
The recently completed NCAA men’s (and women’s) basketball tournaments displayed the incredible adoption of real-time streaming video. I know this since I signed up for the streaming package from CBS sports for $3.99 and had on the games over the first two days in the background while I worked. Please do not mention this to our IT guy as he is not too keen on streaming video in the office. However somehow I get the feeling he knows anyway. In fact, according to an article in the Huffington Post, a survey released by Modis this past March indicates that increased video streaming during the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball championship greatly slows connection speeds and, in 34 percent of cases, causes the network to crash. In addition, more than two-thirds of the 500 IT staffers surveyed responded that they take steps to “either lessen or block the streaming of non-work content” during the tournament.
I posted last year on the subject of whether or not it’s a good idea to allow employees access to March Madness during work hours – http://wp.me/pJX7l-m2 and I still maintain it’s a good thing for employee morale and making the office more community oriented. However at the same time having employees access Netflix does not seem to be essential to me. Pandora would be fine with me if it were not such a giant data consumer.
Growing data usage is becoming a critical issue at the corporate level. Nobody wants to hear the word censorship, but the expense of larger data streams combined with a perceived loss of productivity will cause situations (dilemma’s) like Procter and Gamble’s to happen more frequently.
What do you think? If you think access should be provided without limitations would you be willing to contribute some of your paycheck to have that access?