Its NAB time again. As you make your way to Las Vegas this year spend a little time thinking about your MOM. No really.
You may be planning to assess Media Asset Management (MAM) product offerings – MAM remains one of the top investments that media operators make each year. As we have blogged previously we do not think that MAM, as an acronym or concept is broad enough for a modern media operation.
MAM tools providing content cataloguing, search and retrieval addressed the needs of digital transition initiatives from the late 1990s onwards and over the period became quite sophisticated. But as we head towards the 2020’s the expected functionality is broader and include workflow automation, operator task management, and crucially the ability to be readily adaptable. More Media Operations Management than MAM.
MOM or MAM, here are six thoughts on assessing the vast number of product and service offerings likely to be on show at the Las Vegas Convention Centre this week.
Workflow and Task Management
The operational effort savings resulting from automating tasks, particularly predicable and reputative tasks such as media format transcode, packaging and delivery / publishing are obvious, and many modern MAMs provide these. The addition of task management allows operators to create task driven workflow to support the day-to-day human operations. Is task management intrinsic to the product?
Flexibility through Configuration
To meet ever-evolving operational and business requirements, the MOM needs to be adaptable. The data schema, the workflows, the video processing formats, delivery end-points and reporting should all be definable by systems administrators. There shouldn’t be any need to contact the vendor to create scripts or write any software. Are the workflows operationally configurable?
The most significant business benefits to be gained from implementing media operations management systems come from the integration of disparate systems. The integration of business and production systems streamlines, ensures accuracy and enables complete visibility of an end-to-end operation. Elements of integration may be required on legacy or in-house developed systems. Does the vendor have the capability – and inclination – to provide these important integration professional services? Beware those that tell you how easy it is for you to develop against their API or the platform’s ability to readily subsume other systems. Does the vendor have a sound software system integration capability?
3rd Party Connectors
Many very specialist systems and tools have evolved to support production processes and it is extremely useful to access these through the MOM. Does the given platform have a range of connectors to 3rd party products and services so that these can be seamlessly accessed, configured and controlled from within the system? These may include file QC tools, AI tools such as speech to text, or more prosaic traffic systems or proprietary HSM. How easy is it to add a new connector from the ‘off the shelf’ range to a live system? If the connectors aren’t available, is the vendor willing to develop the connector and will you pay the standard connector cost or day rate for professional services? 3rd party connectors are essential in achieving efficiency. How are 3rd party systems and tools connected?
MOM and the Cloud
You will likely also be considering how the MOM vendor offerings fit with your cloud strategy. You may envisage all or some of the MOM / MAM capability will be provisioned through cloud services – the benefits of scale and proportional costs are clear. Such assessment may warrant a more technical than operational examination. Does the solution fit into your cloud strategy?
Ensure that the tools and services running in the cloud are appropriately architected to deliver the benefits of cloud such as scale and the rapid provision of additional functional capability. It is highly likely that some services will be run on-prem’ (unless your business infrastructure was born in the cloud). Properly architected cloud software runs quite happily on the ground, but the reverse is not true. It is not unfair to state that there are a number of offerings which were very clearly designed and built to run on a server on-prem’ which have been shoehorned into the cloud on a VM. Not a huge problem if remote compute is all that is required, but scale and cost benefits will not come from such an implementation. Does the product architecture serve your purposes?
The power and flexibility that cloud services bring to media operations are being realised by some of the larger operators, but cloud can seem a long way up. A common and low-risk approach is the controlled migration of services into the cloud from the ground. Does the product or service under consideration support such an approach and does the vendor provide consulting and management services to support your operation on the ‘journey’?
We would say all that wouldn’t we? Blue Lucy is a complete solution provider – see BLAM at SL5025c. Other solution providers are available but there’s one final question to consider; do they have the breadth of capability?