Tim Burton at 7fivefive explains how cloud economic models can deliver a plethora of long-term benefits

Tim - 7fivefive

Up until recently, the media and broadcast industry has been tied to infrastructure solutions that required significant upfront expenditure every three to seven years.

Traditional infrastructure meant that broadcasters and post studios were stuck in a cycle of investing in technology that was not guaranteed to meet requirements further down the line, and certainly couldn’t evolve with them.

Worse still, as their estate grew, the systems had integrated technology which was at various stages of its lifecycle. Some elements of the infrastructure were nearly new, and other parts were due for a refresh, making it difficult to find a good time to hop off the treadmill.

With the introduction of cloud-based systems and spin-up/spin-down workspaces, companies have significantly more flexibility and huge potential to scale solutions.

Setting the Scope

It’s natural to want to know what you’re buying into. So, teams will work in-house to develop a project scope they are comfortable with and clearly define their objectives before putting a Request for Proposal (RFP) out to vendors.

But when you’re so close to the day-to-day, it can be tough to see all the potential system pitfalls and process challenges.

In the new world of cloud and hybrid media systems, the possibilities are becoming endless. That’s great on the one hand, but also incredibly daunting on the other.

It’s no wonder that so many media companies stick with familiar on-prem set-ups, rather than venturing into unknown territory.

It’s completely understandable to want to keep the brief tight to avoid a spiralling budget. But in doing so, there is a danger of missing out on new cloud economic models and virtual workstations that can deliver long-term cost-effective workflows for post-production teams.

An Outdated Model?

Often, media companies feel compelled to develop completely bespoke solutions, with a belief that extensive customisation is required to integrate solutions with existing infrastructure.

Or there are concerns over the impact of widespread change, which means media companies play it safe and hang on to legacy systems in specific areas.

But cloud-based technology has been designed with a component philosophy, so it’s possible to tailor solutions to specific requirements using some off-the-shelf tech.

That means there’s no need to over-customise and overcomplicate workflows.

The key is to select a technology partner that is not tied to proprietary systems or restrictive end-to-end workflows. Then you can be clear on user requirements but stay open to the continually evolving potential of new technology.

Flexibility in the Framework

By changing the fixed parameters of an RFP to a more open dialogue around what new technology can facilitate, broadcasters and post studios can get so much more out of a project.

The traditional RFP approach puts broadcasters at risk of the “exactly what you wish for” technology trap. While taking an adaptable approach enables them to “wish for more wishes”.

A Proof of Concept offers broadcasters and post studios the chance to test theories, correlate cost models, and learn if what they’re building is really what they want.

If they are wrong about something fundamental, it can be discovered early on. Mitigating risk on a project is not an on-paper exercise, it’s done where the rubber meets the road.

Tim Burton is managing director at 7fivefive