Cynopsis Special Report – Finally: End-to-End Media Workflow Solutions Debunked!

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Friday March 25, 2022

Finally: End-to-End Media Workflow Solutions Debunked!
Kaneisha Montague

As video quality, size, and consumer demand continue to increase, and media operations grow more complex, an open ecosystem can help capitalize on the true value of data. In our March 24 webinar, moderator, Noah Gusdorff, President/CEO at Creative Mobile Solutions and experts from OpenDrives and Signiant discussed the solutions for a media workflow. “We’ve got the tools that help our customers make productions,” said Gusdorff. “We’re all here on this panel because we listen to the customer and put the pieces together for what makes them most productive and efficient.”


Data in Motion

“If you could break data up into two big buckets – there are obviously a lot of sub-buckets – you have transfer data, which I look at as kind of blind data. We’re just transferring something from one place to another, and we have to get it from one place to another securely and as fast as possible. The other kind is data in motion, and that I look at as data we have knowledge about. We can move it from one place to another and make it actionable,” said Mike Flathers, Chief Solutions Officer at Signiant. “That’s where some of the things we’re working on come in. To make sure we take that data and make sure that every party that participates has a role and knowledge of what has happened, and what’s about to happen with that data.”

“For the end user, for the content creator, data is our source, it’s our medium,” noted André Rievers, Vice President of Operations at OpenDrives. “It’s what drives the creative process. So it needs to be accessible, manageable, searchable, shareable, secure, reliable, and it’s constantly in motion. We need to be able to tap into that data and manage that data. It’s the most important part because it’s not only about retrieving it. In the post-production world, for instance, the unsung hero in the production department is the assistant editor. Because he’s one that’s managing all that data, allowing the editor to tell that story. Hours of content will turn into a 60-second promotional spot. Managing this data drives the entire process.”


Data Storage

“Storing data – that’s easy,” according to Sean Lee, Chief Product and Strategy Officer, OpenDrives. “Data that’s locked away somewhere has no value. The value of data is netted from the end user being able to utilize it. Fast access to that data, that data being rich in metadata, so you know what it is, where it is and having access to it, is critical.” Gone are the days of monolithic, storage-centric products and companies, said Lee. “We expect more from providers. Things are getting more and more complex, and it’s important that we all work together.” Building relationships with providers is key to establishing trust in the idea of an open ecosystem.

One of the challenges customers are posing to Creative Mobile Solutions is the need for bigger, smarter and faster storage, said Gusdorff. “There are all these decisions that need to be made based on the kind of data there is,” he noted. “At Signiant we’ve been supporting all the media clouds for many years,” said Flathers. At the beginning, there was some resistance around issues like security. But concerns “have largely been addressed,” he added. “At Signiant you’d think we’re all about moving data, but that’s not our only goal. To the extent that we can actually take action on data without having to move it, that’s okay with us – we don’t have to move it out of the cloud to operate on it. We’re very happy to provide mechanisms by which people can find data in the right place and deal with it in place. That’s how we see things going moving forward.”


An Open Ecosystem: Shattering the Monolithic Approach

Noah Gusdorff questioned the old school notion that to work with data you need to buy one company’s full stack. “We all love having one 1-800 number to call if it breaks, but it can be a very restrictive 1-800 number to call if it breaks, too. It’s as complex, in my experience, installing that one monolithic approach as it is going out and getting all the best technology and putting it together.”

Sean Lee used an analogy to address the issue of change. “How many of you like your old school TV, that had the DVD player and the VCR built into it? Did that solve your problem? What happened when that DVD player broke, or they came out with Blu-ray, and you’d end up tacking something on the outside? Having these monolithic solutions and an all-in-one maybe sometimes appears as one source to solve your problem, but actually can be quite complicated when that’s a monolithic solution and they’re not playing well with others.” Lee cited an engineering philosophy at OpenDrives: “We don’t build specific tool sets that are outside of just managing the storage itself. But we will provide all the interfaces to make the data easy to access, to make that data set feature rich, to allow for collaboration for best-in-class.”

From the creative and production side, teams choosing the tools they want, instead of being forced to use tools from one solution provider allows for “opening up the field of vision, to use the right tools, the right application that speaks to a specific type of content,” said OpenDrives’ André Rievers. “One of the aspects of this fear of being locked in is a vicious circle. It’s a fear of change. It’s also a risk assessment. It’s because they all have a deadline. The creative process never ends in this world. In my experience when you have a monolithic approach, every content strategy that I’ve worked with was built within the limitations of the solution that was being provided to support.”


Building Trust

Switching to new tools and a new team is a “big ask of anyone,” acknowledged Gusdorff. To develop trust, said Signiant’s Mike Flathers, “The customer has to be part of the trust circle. Our teams and customers are willing to go out and say, ‘We want to partner with you. We want to figure this out.’ Allow customers to choose best of breeds, allow customers to swap you out if they choose to. If you do the right thing, they’re not going to.”


Success must be categorized as the end user’s outcome, said OpenDrives’ Sean Lee. “That is the success criteria. And that’s what a true solutions provider is.” As for the future? “You’re going to be faced with new challenges every single day,” said Lee. “Things that you cannot anticipate. And so you want solutions that allow you the freedom of choice to be nimble with the new challenges that you cannot foresee.”

You can view the full webinar here:

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