As Director of Educational Programs for Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, Nick Goodman is responsible for an impressive library of customer empowerment resources. With multiple educational products to produce and maintain, Nick realized that he needed a better solution for consistent, convenient, and high-quality video voiceovers.
The product that Nick supports is in high demand. Organizations use Snowflake’s Data Cloud to unite siloed data, discover, and securely share data, and execute diverse analytic workloads across multiple clouds. Snowflake was founded in 2012 as the world’s first cloud data platform built for the most critical data workloads, and built to power the Snowflake Data Cloud. The customer base had grown exponentially including nearly 6,000 customers today.
Helping Customers Get the Most Out of Snowflake
With that kind of growth, it’s clear modern businesses are embracing the potential of the transparency into data that a product like Snowflake offers. However, maximizing data storage and analytics is a complex undertaking for companies. Implementing a product like Snowflake has the potential to completely change the way a customer uses data and makes major business decisions, and customers need to feel confident in understanding the tools at their disposal.
Equipping teams to make the most of their investment in Snowflake is where Nick’s team shines. His team manages multiple offerings, ranging from free support resources on the essentials of Snowflake, up to the expert-level “SnowPro Core Certification,” which is a paid product.
Each of the courses they produce has an average of 20-30 ten-minute sessions, and participants can choose from a variety of self-guided or instructor-led tracks. All of these contain video content with voiceover.
A Fast-Paced Production Environment
Snowflake is constantly releasing software updates, and the Educational Programs content has to keep up. In order to build and maintain these high-quality educational modules, Nick’s team needs to produce an average of about 10 videos per quarter. This output is a mix of new material, as well as updating existing modules.
With traditional voiceover, the result was often inconsistent:
“We had somebody who was recording voiceover for a learning module from a home office. One time, they have the mic on the left side of their desk, the next time they move it to the right. Maybe they need to revisit the module a year later and re-record one module out of five, and now that one sounds different.”
Revisions also took a lot of time. Often, an instructional designer would create a recorded module, and then send the material to a subject matter expert for review. Based on that feedback, the designer would need to go back and re-record, sometimes multiple times. Each recording session was an opening for inconsistency and inefficiency.
Looking for a Better Solution
With a background in tech, Nick was already open to an AI voice solution as a possibility. He understood that using a synthetic voice would make updates much quicker and more consistent.
“The agile, more product-driven version of production was appealing to me. I could see the mechanics of update cycles and cost, and the care and feeding of one solution (traditional voiceover) versus another (AI voice). Plus, knowing how quickly our product changes, I could see the ROI on it right away.”
However, the decision to use a product like WellSaid was not based solely on his practical concerns. He needed to get the buy-in on the quality of the voices from senior leadership. Many people think of “AI voice” and imagine a robotic and artificial voice that is distracting and off-putting. Nick needed to vet the AI voices with his team.
The Decision to Try AI Voice
He decided to create a blind test. Nick created three voiceover recordings. One was someone on the team who typically records his own voiceovers. Two were WellSaid Labs voice avatars. He circulated them through his team, only saying that he was evaluating new voice talent and wanted feedback.
“My boss, at the top of our organization, had no idea at the reveal when I said this was a computer generated-voice.”
It was the combination of Nick’s recognition of the ROI from faster edits and more consistency, with his team’s satisfaction with the voice quality that was the tipping point in the decision to try WellSaid Labs for voiceover production.
Updates Made Easy
The Educational Programs staff at Snowflake knows that they will need to update each module at least once per year. But with almost weekly product updates, often there is an update before they have even finished building a module. That kind of speed was impossible with traditional voiceover methods.
“We get our updates out faster. A change comes in, we can update our LMS within 24 hours. That used to take multiple recordings and reviews.”
This has been the area where they see the most significant shift in their workflow since using WellSaid Labs for voiceovers. Now, the visual elements of the updates are the most time consuming part, not the voiceover.
“We used to have to produce the visuals, then record the audio to sync to it. Now, one of those (the voiceover) is just a quick thing that we do, and the other one (the visual) takes up most of the production.”
Flipping this workflow allows the team to focus more on covering the right information, and not spend undue time on the audio revisions. With just three or four WellSaid Studio users, Snowflake is able to maintain revisions on their entire video library.
Consistency Improves Quality and Saves Time
Not only are the actual planned edits faster, but the consistency of the AI voice content makes their work more efficient.
Nick and his team used a trick when recording traditional voiceovers that they don’t have to plan for now. Prior to using WellSaid Labs, they would intentionally write modules with a minimum of two or three voice actors. This was a built-in protection in case they needed to update a video later and a voice actor was unavailable.
Now, with AI voice avatars, the Educational Programs producers know that they will always have access to the voice they used previously.
Besides offering consistent access and quality, the AI voices save time by always being ready for use at a moment’s notice.
“One time, we needed a voiceover from one of our designers, but they had caught a cold. The voice was noticeably different. We had no choice but to simply wait until they were better.”
With WellSaid voice avatars, they never have to wait for the right time to record. Voiceovers are completed at any time of the day or night, with a few clicks.
WellSaid Exceeds Expectations
The predictions Nick made about WellSaid Labs’ voices making edits faster and providing a more predictable outcome have proven to be even greater than what he expected.
“WellSaid has been a valuable part of our operation, a high ROI. We definitely get much more than our monthly subscription back in value.”
At WellSaid Labs, we are proud to provide a product for teams like Nick’s that delivers consistency, convenience, and time savings. Keep creating.