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You know nothing*, Jon Snow

And he didn’t. For years, Jon had existed behind a high wall, under the assumption that he was right and everyone else was wrong and that how things had been was how they would stay. And no one, especially not someone from beyond the Wall, could tell him anything about how to produce video.


Sorry, slip of the keyboard there. But now that we’ve slipped let’s continue sliding. And I’ll try to avoid making an ice-related joke. Pretty cool, eh? Damn. 

Being a scale-up building true cloud-native software products in a world where incredibly high walls have been built up by a combination of broadcaster change-angst and incumbent software and hardware empires built on legacy technologies so integrated that it actually would take dragonfire to renew them – is quite challenging. Not for the reasons you might think - but it does mean you often have to take several steps back before you can talk about what matters.

Who is the Wall for?

You can tell this reference is going to go all the way, right? Let’s start with the first (of several) steps back here: what wall are we talking about? 

Even though every second speaking slot at any kind of event on everything from oil rigs to order management has AI in the title, we, as an industry, seem to have collectively missed a beat when it comes to two of the most important technologies in the last five decades of television production; cloud computing and SaaS. 

“Everyone” agrees that these are important, yet there seems to be a wall that blocks the majority from seeing the reality here: you can’t truly leverage AI without cloud tech, and you can’t embrace the cloud without embracing the Software as a Service model. This is what keeps otherwise brilliant technologists from considering testing services built with all of these; from upending their workflows to create more, create better and create faster. It’s an artificial wall built on a knowledge gap and reinforced by the desire to keep media producers chained to old purchasing patterns - but a wall nonetheless.

That kind of wall only serves one entity: vendors supplying legacy hardware and software. By keeping media houses dependent on a cycle of upgrades and increasingly convoluted workflows that encourage lock-in rather than try-out, they safeguard their earnings - and not your customer satisfaction.

And then - and this is the worst part - by engaging in cloud washing, by lift- and shifting on-premises technology to a cloud backend and seemingly providing a bridge to the cloud but in reality providing a worse user experience than the existing on-premises tech already gave - they reinforce an idea that cloud is just “a more expensive way to do the same thing”. When you embrace and build from the bottom up on serverless infrastructure, you can offer things previously thought impossible. You can innovate, improve, and amaze. 

When was the last time you were truly surprised and delighted by what your tools could do?

It’s not about stopping the wheel. It’s about breaking the wheel.

The cloud is not just a different kind of cable or a computer somewhere else. SaaS - when done right - is not just a different way to charge you for the same piece of software, nor is it just a Capex cost divided into 12 instalments so you can get the same hardware you used to get.

DALL·E 2024-02-08 14.27.57 - A compelling illustration that captures a television director decisively breaking a large, metaphorical wheel with a sledgehammer. This image vividly

What it does mean is 

  • Continuous deployment - where you trade the once-per-6-month 4-day upgrade projects that take your tools out of commission for small upgrades every month, every week and every day.
  • True access from anywhere - trading being chained to on-premises hardware or at best a remote desktop that works every now and then for a browser-based experience with no latency that lets your teams work from where you need them to be.

  • Data security and recovery - where you trade your on-premises infrastructure for the Amazon IT team being responsible for your data and your security, and for the ability to spin up any number of backups as and when needed.

  • Sustainable practices - where you stop driving 18-wheeler trucks to sports events and send skeleton crews on-site - saving both you and the environment on shipping equipment, airline tickets, and on running tons of servers year-round when you need them only for a few major events.

  • Scalability - where you trade ordering and then owning more hardware than you can fit or house in your data center, to scaling both up and down as and when you need, so you can meet both the crest and the valley of the wave.

Cloud computing and SaaS offer some incredible benefits. But getting access to them requires an understanding that things are changing. 

Winter is coming, innit!

This is getting more dramatic by the headline. But winter is coming. A winter of slower workflows, production joints frozen stiff and inflexible, the content lifeblood flowing more slowly in the cold. It is coming for those unwilling to change - unwilling to admit there might just be something they don‘t know, and something beyond the Wall worth exploring. But that’s not you. Right?

Reach out if you want to tell André his writing is terrible. Or, if you want to take a look beyond the Wall, and see some truly cloud-native, flexible newsroom and content production tools, then ...


*About SaaS.

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