Continuous Digital Transformation Through a Cloud Media Integration Platform
By Emilio L. Zapata, founder Tedial
The M&E market is undergoing an accelerated process of digital transformation at both the technology and corporate levels. Digital transformation is the ability to continuously change and evolve the business, transforming products, optimizing operations, engaging with customers and empowering employees. It’s important that the industry doesn’t make the mistake of assuming that digital transformation is just technology that we need to make changes to today. Technology is the enabler of the ability to continuously change, but the success of digital transformation requires more ingredients to be taken into account. These include:
To choose the technology we should follow a top-down approach, identify the objectives and then select technology that gives us the necessary flexibility and an open integration framework to be able to build and evolve a solution by combining and/or changing different products according to business needs.
Digital transformation can be challenging if people, are resistant to change. Therefore, it is very important to have a change management program in place to facilitate the progressive incorporation of people, starting with the most proactive.
An M&E market that demands faster and faster change needs a methodology that is agile. The traditional methodology of detailed planning is a waste of time and resources. Agility is not a choice or a preference, it is a necessity.
How do we implement agile methodology? By using prototypes and involving business people, the desired solution can be built progressively. The best way to start designing a solution is to think of simple processes and start implementing them, then make adjustments to the prototype. A prototype verifies that the business ideas work, we analyze how to improve the prototype and can define additional functionality as needed. In this way, ideas can be expressed quickly and transferred to the solution.
Total Cost of Ownership
Media and Entertainment (M&E) marketers know that the quoted purchase price is not the only cost involved in obtaining and using an application, solution or service. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is an assessment of all costs, direct and indirect, related to an item (application, solution or service) over the lifetime of that item. The inclusion of all other known cost factors allows a more complete picture to emerge. This includes:
- Incurred costs: These are known or can be accurately estimated. Incurred costs include the cost of using each component of the solution or transactions between applications.
- Performance factors: They assess the performance of the solution, its scalability, quality and service or maintenance requirements.
- Strategy factors: These analyze aspects that affect business strategy, such as customer experience, business agility, interoperability, self-sufficiency and capacity to implement new processes, among others (continuous digital transformation).
- Financial factors: They introduce financial predictability, visibility, and accountability.
As media processing workflows and media storage extend to the cloud, companies in the M&E market are looking for an application and media services integration platform that provides the agility, efficiency, and scalability demanded by today’s business environment. In addition, when every task executed (human or automated) has an associated cost, it is easy to determine the cost of goods or services and, in turn, allocate costs to projects or departments.
Having complete supply chain transparency is essential, so we can make the best business decisions because we fully understand our costs. This financial accountability is key to digital transformation and the transition to an agile way of operating in the M&E market.
Media Integration Platform, an enabler of Continuous Digital Transformation
A software-defined workflow uses a reconfigurable set of tools and processes to facilitate creative tasks by connecting them through collaboration and automation via software. The flexibility demanded by customers requires changing the integration strategy to ensure flexibility, interoperability and simplicity of workflow design. This is the only way to ensure a smooth and continuous digital transformation.
The solution is a cloud Media Integration Platform, which is defined as a set of cloud services that enables the development, execution and governance of integrations and connects any combination of on-premise or cloud-based processes, services, applications and data.
The Media Integration Platform has an architecture based on modular services and plug-and-play capabilities, being no code by design. Modular services refer to systems or applications that have similar functionalities, albeit with different APIs. For example, there are multiple transcoders, QC and AI tools, among others, on the market that the customer should select or replace without the need to resort to in-house or external engineering services. The plug-and-play capability offered by the Media Integration Platform is achieved by providing modular services with a common interface, a shared data model and a shared workspace. For example, transcoders would be equipped with a wrapper that abstracts the product-specific API and integrates it with the platform.
An integration platform focused on the needs of the M&E market can introduce financial predictability, visibility, accountability and ensure business continuity in the transition to the cloud (private, public or hybrid). A Media Integration Platform brings many advantages to M&E companies to implement their continuous digital transformation strategy, but here are just a few:
- Report the costs incurred in each workflow, including the cost of use of each component of the solution or transactions between applications.
- Implement an agile methodology, including the ability to rapidly prototype workflows iteratively and test them in practice without obstructing ongoing processes.
- Enable quick and easy implementation of user-suggested process modifications, improving not only communication but also ensuring that the process works as desired.
- Support collaboration between development teams and users, who have complementary viewpoints and can work together to design the ideal process flow.
- Increase transparency and visibility of processes by providing audit information and making changes introduced by users visible.
- Drastically reduce the time it takes to bring processes and their modifications into production over time.
We said at the beginning that the success of the continuous digital transformation of M&E companies depends not only on technology, but also on people and a new agile design methodology. The Media Integration Platform enables IT and business teams in the M&E market to work together in a way that was not possible before. As a result, business managers can see how much the different components of a media project actually cost and can use that data to predict the cost of any new project. They can leverage the data to be proactive rather than reactive. This allows them to run their media content operations as a business, not just a technical operation.
People do business with people, so the community will always be at the center of digital transformation, empowering users and allowing the exchange of knowledge. The Media Integration Platform, which is no code by design, enables a smoother and more operational change management program to be implemented compared to those required with fixed workflows. In other words, business users can actively participate in defining and adjusting the processes in which they participate.
Understanding and evaluating the different cost factors involved when implementing and managing a scalable solution in an M&E organisation is critical. A cloud Media Integration Platform is the appropriate answer to realise the continuous digital transformation demanded by M&E companies, maximising ROI and minimising TCO, as demonstrated in other markets by iPaaS (integration Platforms as a Service).
Clearly our approach to continuous digital transformation in the M&E market is an “iPaaS for media”. Agile technology and methodology, together with an efficient change management program, are not a choice or preference, they’re a necessity.