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When is the right time to move to the cloud?

Veset CEO Gatis Gailis ponders how costly delaying the inevitable transition to the cloud could be for media companies

The broadcast industry’s transition to the cloud is well underway and the advantages of utilising cloud solutions and services are well known. Provided the transition is done well, companies stand to benefit from cost savings, improved operational efficiency, as well as greater operational flexibility and scalability. However, for many media companies, switching to the cloud can seem like too much of a leap into the unknown. Additionally, there is also possibly a reluctance to create any further upheaval, which is understandable given global events of the last few years and the current level of economic uncertainty.

Companies that heavily invested in hardware-based infrastructure before the rise of cloud services have the added complication of weighing up when they can financially justify discontinuing its use. Broadcasters and media companies naturally want to get the timing right when transitioning to the cloud, but when is the right time? And is delaying the inevitable transition going to be costly to media businesses if they fall behind their competitors?

No two media companies are the same

Any major company transformation is likely to be complicated and carry risk, and migrating resources and workflows to the cloud is no different. Media workflows can be notoriously complex, and this adds to the complexity of the if/when/how cloud migration puzzle. This doesn’t mean that moving to the cloud is insurmountable; it just takes the right expertise, and careful consideration and planning. Evaluating a company’s individual circumstances will help to determine whether it makes sense to aim for a full move to the cloud or a more hybrid approach that incorporates both on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

For start-ups that haven’t yet invested heavily in expensive hardware, the decision is easier to make. It’s usually more straightforward to start operations in the cloud than it is to move existing workflows, and that’s because there’s no need to integrate existing hardware or systems. If on the other hand, a media company is already operating with on-premises infrastructure and workflows, deciding on the best cloud strategy takes more consideration. The age and efficacy of hardware are critical factors to consider. 

If hardware is old and soon to reach the end of life, this is likely a good point to plan a move to the cloud. Additionally, if hardware is, or soon won’t be meeting needs, this again signals a good time to consider migrating. Determining whether to move operations fully to the cloud, or whether to operate a hybrid approach will depend largely on a company’s individual circumstances. Generally, the larger the media company and the more complex the workflow, the more complicated the migration to the cloud will be. Regardless of the size or relative complexity of the media company, before embarking on any changes, it’s critical to spend sufficient time and energy planning the migration.

Planning for success

Media systems and processes do not operate in a silo. They’re generally highly interconnected and changing one aspect of a workflow can have undesirable consequences on another part. It pays to be ultra cautious because a solution may have the seemingly perfect specification, but when in operation, problems can emerge that were not previously visible, particularly if it’s being integrated with other solutions or services. These issues can be avoided by asking the right questions early in the process, long before investing in new solutions and implementing change. Comprehensive evaluation and testing before investing, is a vital part of sourcing a service or solution that ticks all the right boxes, and that integrates well with existing infrastructure.

Whether aiming for a full transition to the cloud or a hybrid strategy, a gradual, staged approach to migration is less risky than a full migration of the entire operation in one swoop. When migrating in phases, the workflow and integration can be fully tested, and any issues can be identified and addressed before moving on to the next stage. But how does a media company decide which part of its operation to start with? It makes practical sense to move the most contained and simplest parts first. By carefully analysing the operation from end to end, media businesses can identify which workflows or parts of the workflow will be the most straightforward to move.

The time is now

To succeed in such a competitive industry, media companies obviously need to ensure that their workflows deliver the highest quality output to meet customer needs. At the same time, they must also balance this with working to ensure that systems are futureproofed and able to adapt to meet tomorrow’s needs. A successful transition to the cloud requires lengthy, in-depth planning and most likely, a staged approach. This all takes time so to avoid being left behind competitors, media companies would be wise to dedicate time and resource now, to evaluate workflows and develop a strategy for moving to the cloud.

The media and broadcast industry is already changing at an incredibly fast rate and this pace of change is not likely to slow down. Media companies simply can’t afford to delay planning how and when they will move to the cloud.