The notion of moving away from expensive, custom solutions with multi-year buildouts and vendor lock-in isn’t new. What appears to be new going into 2022 is much faster movement away from that model thanks to a convergence of events that look to shake up the industry in a much-needed way.
The explosion of streaming services, the globalization of content and multi-channel, multi-screen distribution was already driving teams to rethink their technology stacks and the talent required for this new era. Then the pandemic smacked us all pretty hard, forcing fast decisions and exposing weaknesses in infrastructure that made it challenging for companies to react as quickly as they needed. As the world (hopefully) comes out of this pandemic, the media industry is prepared to thrive. The winners will be those who are able to adapt much more quickly to meet new challenges and capitalize on new opportunities. Lighter weight thinking and approaches are required to create the necessary agility, and executives from across the industry are telling us they are on board.
One specific area that is ripe for disruption is workflow orchestration. Customers require a much lighter-weight, simpler, more productized approach to workflow implementation. Yet, the industry still demands best-of-breed optionality and a high level of configurability. Complex, one-off deployments simply cannot deliver the necessary flexibility and economies of scale. This has been a common theme in customer conversations and is what drove Signiant to acquire Levels Beyond, makers of Reach Engine in November of this year. The value proposition of Signiant’s unified multi-tenant SaaS platform that serves the entire media industry presents a unique opportunity to capitalize on this market shift. Thanks to Signiant’s underlying acceleration technology and broad-based role in the global flow of media, we can provide customers with a foundation that addresses multiple supply chain challenges efficiently and at scale. Our SaaS platform has critical mass, it serves as the core of the B-to-B media ecosystem, and it is the ideal anchor point for adjacent media-centric functionality.
Now add the technology and expertise that the Levels Beyond team brings and it’s easy to envision how modules from Reach Engine will be productized and made to easily plug and play on the Signiant SaaS platform. Customers will be able to choose the modules they need and easily connect to other systems via modern APIs. They can use Signiant/Reach Engine modules, plug-in their own, and easily swap out components as things change. All on top of the platform they are already using for file movement.
There are parallels to this in the MAM/DAM market as well. MAMs aren’t going away, but there are workflows where a full-blown MAM deployment just doesn’t make sense. Of course, certain core benefits of asset management systems will always be required, including powerful search and preview, and the ability to extract and transform a specific part of a media asset. But can’t these capabilities be offered in a lighter-weight manner?
Assets reside across a complex and distributed storage ecosystem — with assets in various classes of on-prem storage, some assets in the cloud, sometimes in multiple public clouds. Moving assets into a single system isn’t practical, so customers need to be able to find and act on assets wherever they live, anywhere in the world.
The Signiant SaaS platform looks to play a disruptive role in this area. The platform is already connected to thousands of storage endpoints, which is required for the accelerated file movement Signiant has long been known for. Adding capabilities like federated search, advanced metadata management, preview, partial restore and more to the platform will enable a much simpler, more economical approach that can be used when a full-blown asset management system is overkill. Signiant’s acquisition of Lesspain software earlier in the year was exactly for this purpose.
With all of this new functionality, we realize that one size definitely does not fit all. Signiant software is used by companies of all sizes, and our SaaS platform's modular approach is designed to give you options. If you need the functionality of a full enterprise DAM/MAM or a complex workflow orchestration layer, that's great ⎯ but you still need Signiant. Our platform can seamlessly integrate with those systems and you can still benefit from our accelerated transport and inter-company content exchange capabilities.
But for those parts of your business where simpler building blocks meet the need, we have some exciting announcements coming in early 2022 to help the industry on its weight-loss mission.
Jon Finegold is the Chief Marketing Officer of Lexington, MA-based Signiant (www.signiant.com), a pioneer of cloud-native SaaS solutions for high-speed, large-file transfers.