Your archive, for example, may well be stored on LTO tapes. Over the years, tools may have been used to archive content in a proprietary way with projects filed across multiple tapes which is so complicated that unpicking it could be a real drain on time and money. Ally that to the capital investment in tapes and drives – and all the other hardware and software involved in running a media business – and the challenge of moving away becomes daunting - to some.
As an industry, broadcast, has got used to the idea of simply layering one solution on another to achieve advances because that was the only option. Need to migrate to HD? Update the router, buy more servers, change the transcoders.
Taking a step back and redesigning the whole way you handle your core business can seem to be too much to consider. Once we move one process to the cloud, goes the thinking, then we have embarked on a road and it will be difficult and costly to turn back.
Part of this is changing the way of thinking. The arguments about capex and opex are regularly rehearsed, but it can be tough to contemplate such a massive change in the foundations of the business. You need an impartial eye to talk about how to restructure, how to genuinely evaluate total cost of ownership, including all the energy, and how to guard against runaway costs.
You also have to set the shift in financial fundamentals against the boost to productivity. Cloud solutions give you agility. That means you can respond to changes in demand, delivering productions far more quickly and beating the competitors to market for new services.
Why is Support Partners – an organisation which is valued by its clients to deliver business change through insight, process, expertise and technology – so convinced that the time is right to migrate to the cloud? My answer is that, given the huge competitive challenges facing everyone in the industry today, you need to get an edge wherever you can. That is measured not just in direct costs, but in the way you add value to everything you do by making the best use of your data.
There is a simple but very important point to keep in mind. Computers are very good at dull, repetitive tasks; people are good at creativity. That is how you should design your workflows. An editor might take a day to create a great promo video, but if she then has to spend another week or so churning out all the different versions, you are wasting talent and demotivating the editor.
Machine learning is advancing the definition of the dull repetitive task. Given sufficient processing power – and in the cloud we have effectively infinite processing power if we want to pay for it – then you can automate a huge range of tasks, allowing you to boost quality while keeping your staff focused on where they are really needed.
Intelligent systems can transform your workflows and your productivity, making your business more agile and adaptable, responding to changes in the market and in the audience as they happen.
You can add these new, intelligent processes by implementing them in the cloud. The challenges of hybrid solutions – with some processing on premises, some remote – are readily understood today. Planning for a managed transition answers the questions around the cost of egress and the appetite for technology transformation. You control the progress towards cloud-centric, at the speed your requirements and available budget dictate.
Remember, too, that once operations are in the cloud you can add functionality that you never had before. You have the resources to analyse the data generated by your operation, recognising trends and generating actionable insights. Whether that is tweaking workflows or balancing revenues against costs for individual services, it makes you a better business.
The automotive industry, for instance, uses predictive analytics to predict the best pricing of car parts against vendor reliability, delivery time and more. That feeds back into future designs, making them cheaper to build, more satisfying to drive and easier to repair. Substitute programmes and advertising for tyres and exhausts and you see how it works.
The route to the cloud will be different for each organisation. It could start with the cirrus solution of simply putting the archive online. But the aim should be the cumulonimbus: the all-embracing multi-service cloud solution that will wash away the competition.