September 5, 2016

183 Views

Mix IT up: M&E Innovation through Vertical Technology Integration

How M&E companies can build an agile, integrated IT backbone that fosters enhanced customer centricity

Change is the only constant. A cliché that is ever more relevant today for the media and entertainment (M&E) industry. Technology disruptions, growing consumer appetite for ‘easy to access and consume’ content, and heightening competition, are driving paradigm shifts in content development, distribution, and monetization. A crucial factor you cannot ignore in this dynamic environment is your IT backbone. By leveraging an integrated IT infrastructure, you can build a collaborative enterprise that would help you offer seamless and personalized content experiences across devices and touch points.

Integrated IT ecosystem for competitive advantage

To fulfill consumer expectations and boost bottom line, many M&E companies are adopting new content creation and distribution models, digitizing catalogs and inventories, and modernizing rights management systems. However, disparate legacy technologies and workflows can play spoilsport.

Built for an earlier era, these inflexible systems often lead to emergence of silos across business units, posing complexities in connecting assets and services within and outside your enterprise. What you need is an informed IT integration roadmap that helps establish an open ecosystem, where all key entities including your workforce, content partners and end users, can collaborate to innovate.

Successful business transformation will hinge on how well you integrate your back-office, or business, IT and media production environments. Strong synergies between the two can increase productivity, bring down costs, and spur creation of smart products and services.

Breaking the barriers

Here are some tangible ways in which you can ensure effective integration of information and business processes across your enterprise:

  • Create a centralized, data-driven IT infrastructure: Such a system with independent units built around it will enable you to respond quickly to dynamic changes in the marketplace. You can accordingly launch new products and solutions across platforms, and gain market share. Focus on establishing a common technological backbone for content management, infrastructure, distribution, and other solution components.
  • Adopt a common workflow engine: By using accelerators such as standardized and consistent workflows, you can efficiently track and manage business processes across functions, and also reduce time to market.
  • Map processes to user personas: Build unique user personas in the context of various functions and roles, and reconfigure business and production applications and processes accordingly. Adopt this principle for your front-end, consumer facing functions too, by creating contextualized user interfaces that deliver personalized content. The idea is to provide seamless and consistent experience for both your internal and external users through a unified and intuitive interface that integrates the myriad applications across your enterprise.
  • Manage content assets: In order to generate greater return on investment (ROI), reuse your assets via new platforms. Channel 4 successfully monetized its archived content by hosting its legacy assets on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and offering the same through the 4OD platform. You could also consider creating a single repository to store and organize live and archived content, to meet the demand for shared content across units and locations. Another vital element is building an automated rights management platform that seamlessly integrates with other systems including financial and artist contract systems, enabling you to effectively repurpose and distribute content. You can thus easily track the rights associated with your diverse product portfolio.

    Moreover, you can combine enterprise data with market data and unstructured data from social media and blogs to optimize inventory yields, and ensure efficient workflows. An enterprise portal with real-time search capabilities will provide a comprehensive view of information regarding content assets and intellectual property. You also need to add accurate metadata to your content, and sync the metadata collected in production with the post process. An enterprise-wide metadata management strategy focused on creating and distributing user- or consumer-focused metadata will further help you deliver a truly digital process experience.

  • Embrace the Cloud: An effective way to facilitate better enterprise collaboration is using cloud computing to streamline workflows concerning document sharing. You can also use cloud-based applications as tools for reviews and approvals. Furthermore, on-demand cloud services can enhance IT responsiveness. For instance, some media firms have successfully used AWS to stream high-profile sporting events like the World Cup to audiences worldwide.
  • Rethink organizational model: Simplify your organizational structures, and build new roles and processes that yield greater efficiencies. The trick is to establish robust workflows for business units and functions to work together with trust. Effective governance policies and practices will further help you present a single voice to external stakeholders, prioritize investments, and avoid a proliferation of standards and technologies. Simultaneously, companies need to define and track a set of metrics to evaluate the impact of IT-related decisions across the enterprise.

The way ahead

The global middle class is poised to grow to an estimated 4.9 billion in 2030. This will spur the demand for creative media services aimed at an always connected millennial audience that largely remains non-committal to any brand, and constantly explores new content platforms. To sustain relevance in this rapidly evolving landscape, you need to reimagine your overall IT architecture and roadmap. Through effective integration of production and business IT setups, you can significantly enhance your competitive advantage, while fostering sustained innovation across the media and entertainment value chain.