Why media production teams are adopting cloud-based solutions for a post-Covid world

“Change is inevitable … growth is optional,” says John C Maxwell, internationally recognised leadership expert and best-selling author.

As a renowned leadership guru, Maxwell may have been talking in general terms, but for media organisations in these tumultuous times, change has come along like an unstoppable tidal wave, with solutions to the challenge of remote working needing to be found. The question is – sink or swim?

So how do traditional media organisations, or any business with a digital community, prepare for this new remote working reality in a way that is sustainable into the future? Here’s why organisations should be looking to the cloud.

Collaboration

For content teams of photographers, social media managers or journalists, the ability to share multimedia from anywhere in the world, at any time, is critical.

Remotely uploading multimedia content onto a traditional in-house server, via a VPN for instance, is cumbersome at best, while other means of sharing content, via WhatsApp or file-sharing platforms, is inefficient, wasting valuable time, with no standard workflow or centralised archive in place.

Cloud-based workflow platforms solve this problem by allowing content producers to access and share media in real time on any device, negating geographical limitations and standardising the way media is collected from the field.

Cloud-based workflow platforms solve this problem by allowing content producers to access and share media in real time on any device

MojoReporter is an AWS-powered media workflow platform that increases the amount of valuable, monetisable media produced, allowing private teams to collect and submit digital content via mobile or the web to an access-controlled web dashboard – not only simplifying and speeding up the remote production process but centralising incoming multimedia assets in the cloud for future use and republishing.

Protecting your digital assets

It’s not just media organisations that need to protect their valuable digital assets; brands of all kinds are operating more and more like media organisations, communicating to customers and wider digital communities via multimedia content on social media, web or app platforms.

A centralised repository for storing, safeguarding and distributing your digital assets is crucial, but a physical server that relies on on-site hardware and software is expensive to set up and maintain and offers little in terms of full-scale integration with your other digital platforms or remote accessibility.

A cloud storage solution like BiblioDAM has many benefits, providing a single view of digital assets across multiple business units while allowing authorised users to access assets in the clouds from any device, anywhere in the world.

A cloud storage solution like BiblioDAM has many benefits, providing a single view of digital assets across multiple business units

Multiple taxonomy layers, coupled with a powerful Elasticsearch engine, mean no matter how much media you collect, searches are lighting fast – ensuring you’re never forced to scratch around in folders on a network drives, or on external hard drives, to find the media assets you require for your social media post, campaign, news item or more.

Remote distribution

Simplicity when it comes to distribution, it’s what every media organisation craves right now, given the complexity of executing a content strategy in a remote environment.

But with modern audiences demanding choice in the way they consume content, simplicity is becoming harder to find, with media needing to be distributed across multiple channels – including websites, native apps and video OTT platforms to name a few – in order to satisfy audiences’ consumption habits.

With modern audiences demanding choice in the way they consume content, simplicity is becoming harder to find

Cloud CMS platforms like BaobabSuite enable centralised publishing, media distribution and, most importantly, monetisation of digital content from anywhere in the world, on practically any device, meaning you could be publishing organisational content from your home office or a beach in Mauritius, while maintaining centralised control of content across multiple apps and websites.

What’s more, your overworked media department will thank you, with a platform that is integrated and accessible anytime, anywhere on any device; allowing them to focus on what they do best – telling great stories.

www.publisherstoolbox.com

Global public cloud revenue to grow to $258 billion in 2020, Gartner report

The worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 6.3 per cent in 2020 to total $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion in 2019, according to Gartner, Inc.

Desktop as a service (DaaS) is expected to have the most significant growth in 2020, increasing 95.4 per cent to $1.2 billion. DaaS offers an inexpensive option for enterprises that are supporting the surge of remote workers and their need to securely access enterprise applications from multiple devices and locations.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were a few initial hiccups but cloud ultimately delivered exactly what it was supposed to,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “It responded to increased demand and catered to customers’ preference of elastic, pay-as-you-go consumption models.”

Software as a service (SaaS) remains the largest market segment and is forecast to grow to $104.7 billion in 2020.

 The continued shift from on-premises license software to subscription-based SaaS models, in conjunction with the increased need for new software collaboration tools during COVID-19, is driving SaaS growth. The second-largest market segment is cloud system infrastructure services, or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which is forecast to grow 13.4 per cent to $50.4 billion in 2020. The effects of the global economic downturn are intensifying organizations’ urgency to move off of legacy infrastructure operating models.

Public cloud services serve as the one bright spot in the outlook for IT spending in 2020. Cloud spending in many regions is expected to grow rapidly as economies reopen and more normal economic activity resumes, with regions such as North America expecting to return to higher spending levels as early as 2022.

“The use of public cloud services offer CIOs two distinct advantages during the COVID-19 pandemic: cost scale with use and deferred spending,” said Mr. Nag. “CIOs can invest significantly less cash upfront by utilizing cloud technology rather than scaling up on-premises data center capacity or acquiring traditional licensed software.”

“Any debate around the utility of public cloud has been put aside since the onset of COVID-19. For the remainder of 2020, organizations that expand remote work functionality will prioritize collaboration software, mobile device management, distance learning educational solutions and security, as well as the infrastructure to scale to support increased capacity.”

www.gartner.com

[Nigeria] eHealth Africa leverages Amazon Web Services cloud solutions to bolster operations

eHealth Africa, a non-profit organization that designs and implements digital health solutions in West Africa is leveraging on Amazon Web Services, AWS, cloud’s expertise which is designed to support every stage of their business in order to increase their chances of continuing their mission.

AWS has been working with health care providers in Africa to innovate, build new products and services and launch new applications.  

“As a small team and self-funded startup, we needed to move fast and couldn’t afford to waste development resources on infrastructure maintenance. AWS has so far offered managed solutions of almost everything we need. We are continuously surprised how well AWS services can work together, compared to having more infrastructure, as a service provider. Services which would normally require manual installation, maintenance and configuration are now easily set up on the console, “said Kobus Smit, CEO and founder of eHealth Africa.

Enterprises of larger scales typically have the budget for sophisticated technologies to streamline their business processes and expand their technological advantage. Cloud computing however enables the smallest of businesses to effortlessly access the reliable power of this innovative technology and rapidly grow.

Leveraging the right solutions and services enables companies such as eHealth to experiment with technologies that may otherwise be out of reach and expand their operations into the communities they target.

For eHealth Africa AWSprovides unrivalled levels of security, data protection, and compliance which is paramount to us as an organization that processes and stores large volumes of client data – bringing stakeholders peace of mind that their data is secure across all our digital platforms.

 In addition to leveraging AWS services such as Amazom ECS Fargate for its backend coupled with Amazon Lambda, the arrival of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region allows the company to deliver an enhanced service to its clients with reduced latency, ease of localised deployment, and simplifies their data protection requirements.

This has produced an ideal synergy of information technology and logistics and is the reason why a major objective of eHealth Africa has always been to host on and benefit from the use of AWS products.

To balance the need to protect health care data with the desire to innovate quickly, companies such as e-Health Africa look to embrace hybrid IT solutions that maintain control over existing network environments while using cloud technology to extend their services to underserved communities with tools to lead healthier lives.

AWS will therefore remain firmly on track to enhance eHealth’s capabilities and ensure they keep pace with the digital transformation that is a necessity for the growth of businesses across the continent.

www.ehealthafrica.org

aws.amazon.com

[Column] James Bayhack: The value of mobile marketing cloud technology

Marketing ultimately drives the sales of any business. Without it, many companies wouldn’t sell their products or services and wouldn’t survive in a highly competitive environment. By empowering organisations to reach their target audience, marketing has become a modern-day business essential, particularly in trying times.

As tech evolves at a rapid pace, so do marketing solutions – businesses are spoilt for choice with a wide range of marketing platforms that elevate customer communication. Arguably the most powerful of these is marketing cloud technology: an innovative and integrated suite of digital marketing tools that your team can start using today to improve customer experience and business performance.

Why marketing cloud software?

Depending on your software vendor of choice, marketing cloud technology has many capabilities and benefits. In general, these web-based services make it possible to communicate with your customers across digital platforms, including via the web, email, social media and mobile messaging channels. This is increasingly important, considering that we live, work and socialise in a digitally connected world.

Additionally, marketing cloud technology enables organisations to automate the customer journey in real-time, send targeted content and tap into impactful data analytics.

Informative and consistent customer data underpins the best marketing cloud software, allowing businesses to collect demographic and behavioural data from multiple sources and organise these insights on one centralised platform.

Customer data: The bedrock of cloud marketing

By bringing together customer information and interactions in an integrated platform, a marketing cloud helps organisations to form a complete understanding of their customers, their needs and the ways they interact with brands.

Instead of siloed, anonymous users, a marketing cloud converts data into 360° unified customer profiles that can be used to build unique segments and deliver more personalised and meaningful marketing campaigns using campaign management tools and visual workflow builders.

When you understand who your customers are, you can deliver hyper-personalised experiences across the entire customer journey. Recent research shows that proactively managing and investing in customer experience increases retention, satisfaction and revenue, meaning that a marketing cloud drives business success in the long run.

Mobile marketing is a top priority

Considering consumers spend most of their time on their mobile phones, it makes sense to opt for a marketing cloud that is uniquely focused on mobile. A mobile marketing cloud goes beyond personalised content and reaches customers where they want to be reached – on their personal devices via SMS, Email, WhatsApp and more.

By connecting with your customers on their preferred mobile messaging channels, you’ll be captivating their attention and catering to their needs – two key differentiators that will help your brand and your products or services to stand out.

Finding an omnichannel cloud platform that also enables commerce on mobile channels, offers added advantages. With payment links integrated into emails, WhatsApp chats and web pages, your customers can seamlessly make purchases, elevating the conversion process.

A marketing cloud is a compelling tool that can help future-proof any business, especially those that put their customers’ needs first. As customer-centricity becomes increasingly important, using technology that enables us to connect with and serve our customers is critical.

James Bayhack is the Director of sub-Saharan Africa at CM.com

[South Africa] Teraco endorses Routed move to join African Cloud Exchange

South Africa Vendor-neutral data centre, Teraco, has welcomed Routed, a cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Cloud Verified partner, as a local cloud provider to join the African Cloud Exchange (ACX).

Created to improve enterprise hybrid and multi-cloud performance through direct interconnection, Teraco’s African Cloud Exchange provides secure, direct, flexible network connections to a wide range of local and global cloud service providers.

As Africa’s first VMware Cloud Verified partner and one of the biggest, Routed now offers a VMWare cloud platform for clients seeking access to multiple cloud environments.  Routed has also recorded four years of 100% uptime and has achieved notable market share within the ISP sector.

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed, says that the company is also the only African provider of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) within VMware’s vSphere 7 client software and that bringing the VMware cloud platform to ACX is another key milestone: “Multi-cloud strategies are growing in adoption as they mitigate service disruption and also reduce vendor lock-in. Routed, as a member of ACX, strengthens the ecosystem and will undoubtedly help in driving businesses to the cloud, which is one of the fastest-growing segments of IT spend.”

Andrew Owens, Manager of Interconnection & Peering at Teraco, says that the premise of ACX is to assist in the local drive towards the cloud, but in a secure and correct way: “While there was no time-pressure for businesses to adopt a cloud methodology, it is rapidly evolving, and the cloud is becoming a vital tool for any business wanting to succeed. ACX is a technology-neutral and growing ecosystem, and we are excited to welcome a local cloud provider such as Routed and its VMware platform.”

Teraco’s Owens says that ACX was developed to fully integrate with all cloud providers, adopting a modular, template-driven approach. “ACX will accommodate any cloud provider’s API: ultimately, we want to make it easy for the providers and clients to sell their products. By simply logging onto a portal, ACX enables provisioning of network circuits to any cloud provider, immediately reducing the administrative headaches of getting people connected.”

Dave Funnell, Senior Cloud Provider Manager, VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, says that in reality cloud is an operating model, not just a destination, and as such will often require a collaborative solution: “The inclusion of Routed in the Africa Cloud Exchange is a great example of collaboration in the cloud market. The benefit to customers is the availability of a fully verified VMware Private Cloud, delivered from a secure multi-tenanted platform with all the benefits expected from a cloud solution. Its location is also a major drawcard, with direct network connectivity to the public hyperscale clouds in the leading data centre provider in Africa.”

Funnell says that importantly, this will allow customers to accelerate the adoption of cloud services in the knowledge that their applications will run predictably in a robust, highly available environment, with the flexibility required for a successful business to adapt and grow: “Working with both Routed and Teraco on this initiative has been a rewarding experience. I look forward to engaging with VMware customers of all sizes, as they take advantage of the enterprise-grade cloud services being brought to market by Routed and Teraco.”

www.teraco.co.za

www.routed.co.za