Most people consider social media to be platforms for dialogue between themselves and their closest friends and favourite social influencers. Of course, marketers and organizations use social media to promote products and brands, communicate with customers, and gather data from their target audience.
It’s not surprising that discussions involving the application of social medias rarely focus on supply chain and distribution implications; however, this function within a business and between businesses can benefit almost infinitely from a strong network of social media and communication platforms. Many companies are beginning to look to other areas of their business to either cut costs or earn more income, and their supply chain has become an increasingly popular source for such activity. One company capitalizing on this newfound value centre is SDVI, a resource management company that helps media and entertainment companies organize their data and information supply chain to improve the agility and efficiency of their media infrastructures (Market Wired, 2016).
Discovery Communications was SDVI’s second customer following it’s inception (Amazon Web Services, 2016). In its juvenile state, SDVI was looking at Discovery Communications as a partner, and together they embarked on the cumbersome task of organizing thousands of hours of content that was funnelled into the Discovery headquarters on a regular basis (Derby, 2017).
Discovery produces media and entertainment content that is broadcast to a global audience and, in order to produce a continuous stream of quality content, Discovery needs to sift through mountains of data. In fact, one hour of complete and edited broadcast-worthy content requires about 100 hours of content to be created and shared. Traditionally, Discovery was receiving this content from its many content suppliers in several different file formats, through several different delivery mediums; some shipped hard-copies, some sent digital files, and some did a bit of both. File names were inconsistent, and a lot of time was spent simply finding and organizing content.
SDVI and Discovery employed SDVI’s new software called SDVI Rally, a cloud-based media supply chain management software archive, to streamline their collection of data from suppliers. Much like a warehouse for hard goods, SDVI Rally behaves as a central point where all suppliers can deliver goods to be organized before being shipped to the next link in the chain. This cloud-based information warehouse also behaves as a gatekeeper, setting guidelines for content sharing and information uploading to ensure consistency across the organization.
A handful of key pain-points needed to be addressed in order to streamline several weak links in the Discovery supply chain.
The first was security. With so much information, a lot of which was being delivered via standard postage and through inter-organizational emails, Discovery needed to improve the security of the valuable information flowing into their organization. While moving towards a cloud-based database, they also needed to be cognizant of the potential risks of moving toward a cloud-based storage system. SDVI architects were able to build a solid encryption platform into their sharing software, minimizing the threat of information loss.
Another important problem that SDVI needed to improve was the lack of consistency in content file types and names pouring into Discovery from their creators. SDVI Rally software was designed to only allow upload of the specific data type that the supplier “owed” them (Derby, 2017). If Discovery wanted an MP4 file, that’s the only format the software would accept from it’s suppliers. As a result, there was no more need to convert files from hundreds of possible file-types, which reduced costs and time-to-production.
In fact, speed was a major concern for Discovery and was a huge motivator for the entire project. In an interview with AWS (Amazon Web Services), the President and CEO of SDVI, Larry Kaplan, explains that using the cloud offers “an Elastic capability for compute and storage resources that enables media and entertainment companies to be much more flexible [and] to be much more efficient” (Amazon Web Services, 2016). The program limited parameters and redundancies that were evident in the past since there was now only one location for data upload.
Finally, cost reduction was also a major consideration. In the same interview with AWS, Kaplan states that their cloud-based warehouse “Enables us to manage the format phases much more efficiently without huge commitments of capital expenditures” (Amazon Web Services, 2016).
Lessons for Others
Whether a company’s primary output is a product or service, and whether it’s tangible or digital, the management of procuring, transforming, assembling, improving, packaging, and distributing products can almost always be aided with the use of social media and communication tools. SDVI revolutionized the way media was being shared, stored, and transformed for several large media conglomerates who have historically struggled to organize an immense collection of data.
Tightening control and fixing errors and inefficiencies earlier in the supply chain cause a trickle-down effect that brings cost savings, speed increases, improved agility, and even quality improvements through the chain and ultimately to the end user. With the help of SDVI Rally, Discovery can now provide better content to its viewers faster.
Industry: Media and Entertainment
Name of Organization Contact: Larry Kaplan
Authored by: Lucas R. Coady
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Amazon Web Services. (2016, August 17). AWS Partner Success: SDVI. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rzvN4oyIW0
Derby, J. C. (2017). Building a Media Supply Chain in the Cloud: A case Study. IBC.org. Retrieved from https://www.ibc.org/download?ac=3888
Market Wired. (2016, May 31). SDVI Corporation Closes Strategic Investment Round with Fox, Discovery & Turner. Retrieved from http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/sdvi-corporation-closes-strategic-investment-round-with-fox-discovery-turner-2129682.htm