The Next Phase of Hybrid Workflows

(Image credit: Adobe)

Hybrid workflows have lived up to the promise of delivering continuity across the media industry in recent years. Despite many companies initially adopting a combined on-prem and cloud-ready approach as a short-term solution, the continuation of remote working practices means hybrid is set to remain a critical strategy for optimally effective workflows. 

On-prem and cloud are often pitted against each other in the M&E space. But rather than a battle between the two, we should think of hybrid as the de-facto standard that allows media companies to mix and match the best attributes of both. However, no two hybrid working models are the same, and so it’s important to adopt a strategic mindset and informed data driven knowledge for the effective combination of the technologies. 

Taking stock before the next step
There has been a lot of discussion around cracking the ‘perfect’ hybrid working model from a human resources perspective lately. But the reality is that going back to a one-size-fits-all approach to work is not going to suit the vast majority of people – or the companies they work for. Likewise, hybrid media workflows are not a “one size fits all” but they do provide the flexibility to customize every aspect of the content supply chain. So how can we take advantage of this flexibility?

The media industry has experienced a profound transformation, driven by a wave of digital innovation. But it’s important to take stock and not get swept up in change without defining some clear objectives. One key goal might be “I want to access my media from anywhere” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that content needs to be shifted to the cloud in bulk; which can then make the data expensive to access. By identifying how frequently teams are accessing media, and how they are interacting with those assets, we can start to map out the most appropriate solution for an organization’s needs.

A media organization’s fingerprint
While on the surface media organizations deal with the same commodity, their requirements and structure can vary dramatically. And that’s not just the differences between a post-house and a global studio. Two media companies can have identical business models, but their infrastructure can be surprisingly different. This diversity is what makes M&E such an interesting environment to work in, but dealing with a unique fingerprint for each organization comes with its own challenges.

When identifying the technological framework that will suit the needs of diverse media teams, asset management should be a key consideration. If you get this right, it will enable creative professionals to have seamless access to content from any location. But fail to consider a balance between nearline and archive storage, that will ensure both accessibility and affordability, and you’ll be dealing with the impact for years to come.  As the volume of content increases, companies need to have one eye on their future requirements. So, setting up storage and media management that is secure but also scalable is crucial. 

Integrating the hybrid model
Combining on-prem and cloud resources can allow media companies to take advantage of on-prem predictable costs, faster workflows, and on-cloud, the advanced scalability of services all rolled into one. With the right applications and integrations, a hybrid cloud infrastructure can become an extremely optimized solution, but this relies on interoperability between vendors. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to designing and implementing hybrid strategies. The key to success is to tailor workflows and use cases to specific needs. Especially when modernizing legacy platforms or augmenting existing solutions. 

Content visibility is another important factor. Storage must be connected to media-focused interfaces that make protecting, finding, and sharing content straightforward. Finding media quickly and easily is about more than bottom-line efficiency, it enables creativity and connection between global teams. By taking a strategic approach that best fits the needs of the organization and the people that work for it, we can truly streamline the creation, management, and distribution of content. 

Optimizing the content supply chain
Plenty of companies have transitioned to the cloud in the hopes of addressing evolving workforce dynamics and media trends. But in many cases costs have been underestimated, and siloed on-prem content is not as accessible as it should be. The hybrid cloud offers flexibility by combining on-premises storage, private cloud storage, and public cloud storage, in any combination needed. But if these elements are not linked together with the right integrations, then the flow of media is interrupted, and processes cannot be optimized.

Hybrid storage and media management empowers content operators, editors, and administrators, to deliver their best work. As well as maximizing growth opportunities and enhancing performance. It allows content-focused organizations to select the appropriate level of security, mitigating the risks of data breaches and giving maximum protection to high-value assets. 

Collaboration is enhanced through seamless connectivity and content accessibility that ensures uninterrupted operations among teams, even when working from different locations. By synchronizing the transfer of content and metadata to cloud storage platforms and utilizing on-prem resources where it makes sense, we can unlock the full potential of media assets.

Jonathan Morgan

Jonathan Morgan is SVP, Product and Technology for Perifery.