M&E Daily

M&E Day: Pandemic Has Only Accelerated Cloud Adoption, Signiant CMO Says

COVID-19 has only served to increase cloud adoption among media and entertainment organizations, according to Jon Finegold, chief marketing officer at file movement software company Signiant.

“Given the pandemic, we’re certainly seeing an acceleration of cloud adoption,” he said July 2 during the cloud breakout session “Is this a watershed moment for the cloud?: Looking through the Media Shuttle Lens at the Global Media & Entertainment Day event presented live, virtually, from London.

As Signiant’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings continues to enable remote work and remote collaboration across the M&E industry, the company has been actively engaging with its customers and closely monitoring usage trends to understand if and how the world is changing, particularly as it relates to cloud and SaaS adoption, according to Finegold.

During the session, he shared some thoughts on how companies have leveraged Signiant’s SaaS products to adapt to the global crisis, how workflows have changed and what changes might stick even as the world begins to return to some level of normalcy.

“This has certainly been a crazy year for everyone,” he said, noting he had “never experienced anything like it and hopefully never will again.” In January, it was pretty much business as usual for most of the people, cancellations of events then started in February and, on March 16, his company’s office shut down, he said, noting that within just a 10-day window, it went from planning for NAB in Las Vegas to shutting the office down.

“As a software company, we’re pretty fortunate – it was relatively easy for us to go remote [and] we didn’t miss much of a beat,” he told viewers. “But for our customers and partners, who were in the middle of productions and planning for big sporting events and all that kind of stuff, it was complete chaos — and we saw that both from our interactions with customers, but also from the data,” he said.

From March to May, “we saw a huge surge in” users of Signiant’s core Media Shuttle product, he noted, adding: “We saw a huge surge in Media Shuttle portals being connected to cloud storage and we saw a massive spike in data being transferred to and from the cloud…. I think we saw a doubling of Media Shuttle data being transferred to and from the cloud from this time last year [until] now. That’s an incredible surge in the use of cloud storage. So it was really a chaotic time… We saw a lot of interesting trends.”

June wound up being “the first month where people were sort of like through the panic” and decided it was time to start planning again, he pointed out, adding people realize the pandemic is not over, but they are making a plan to “be prepared for whatever the future brings.”

A quick look found more than 75 published production guidelines and they all had one thing in common: planning for a lot less people to be in a venue, on site at productions or “even in the office” – in general, “just a lot less people together is the common theme,” he noted.

A trend that has accelerated is the adoption of multi-cloud, with organizations using multiple cloud service providers among its customers, he said. Although it was mostly an AWS world a few years ago, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud have picked up momentum also since then, he pointed out, noting Signiant added Google Cloud support to its platform in the last month or so based on demand from its customers.

There is also a lot of demand for on-prem object storage and taking advantage of cloud technology, but within organizations’ own private data centers, he said, noting: “We are not just seeing a multi-cloud world – we’re also seeing a hybrid cloud world.”

And “the timing for this is right” when it comes to cloud adoption, he said, adding that, over the past 5-6 years, Signiant has “certainly seen a big evolution in the way people think about the cloud in media and entertainment” and adoption of it.

Signiant launched Media Shuttle, its first SaaS product, in 2012 – during what was the “early cloud era” — and we are now in the era of the “true cloud,” he told viewers. The term cloud native is much more understood now, for one thing, and “now that we’re all starting to speak the same language, it’s a lot easier to conduct business” and it’s much easier to understand what vendors are talking about when they discuss their solutions, he said.

Meanwhile, “we’re seeing a move away from big custom solutions and lift and shift — just moving stuff … to off the shelf, multi-tenant SaaS,” he noted. A lot of “building blocks” were in motion for a while that “enabled this watershed moment,” he pointed out. “Probably the biggest one is the economics…. There was just a lot of confusion about the business models and who was paying for what” in the past, with “surprise bills” and egress fees that were “not well understood,” he said. Although there are still some challenges with economic issues around the cloud, it’s more understood now, he said.

Media Shuttle now has over 600,000 global users and more than 25,000 businesses connected in more than 200 countries and territories, with 5,000 custom-branded portals to access and share content, he pointed out.

Media Shuttle supports three portal types: Send-File transfer (person to person), Share-file sharing (Person to/from File System), which is “gaining the most traction” now, and Submit-Workflow Onramp (person to process), he noted. “We’re seeing a lot of adoption and a spike in the use of share portals,” which are essentially a way to access and view a folder structure of your storage remotely, he pointed out.

Of course, accessing workflows and other data remotely has become a common way of life for people across multiple sectors during the pandemic.

The fourth annual M&E Day event, presented by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), featured mainstage panels and more than 15 breakout sessions, covering the latest it data, cloud, IT and security across the media and entertainment technology ecosystem.

The event was presented by Caringo, with sponsorship by Convergent Risks, Cyberhaven, Richey May Technology Solutions, RSG Media, Signiant, Whip Media Group, Zendesk, Tape Ark, Sony New Media Solutions, 5th Kind, ATMECS, Eluvio, Tamr, the Audio Business Continuity Alliance (ABCA), the Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR) and The Trusted Partner Network (TPN).