Empowering Creativity Through Self-Serve and Business Continuity

Self-Serve – Adjective

Definition of self-serve: permitting self-service

Business Continuity 

Definition of business continuity : The process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company

How do you self-serve access your content if simply working away from the office or if access to a building or even to a whole city is blocked? Many of the requests we receive for enhancing our technology roadmap come from customers wanting fully automated and tightly integrated workflows so that their creative teams can self-serve content from their archive. 

Surprisingly (or not) this level of self-serve capability and business continuity is not possible at many creative organisations who require people and physical access (or manually serviced requests) to access their content.

From over 15 years of listening to the creative community we have deduced that this commonly comes down to one or more of the following three reasons: the archive content is sat on legacy archive technology (LTO); the content is sat in geographically dispersed locations or on multiple silos of storage; or, that the content requires human services to perform the access requests. Often those people servicing the requests have many skills to offer but they get bogged down in daily mundane media management tasks that can and should be automated. Automation and workflow integration that would enable creative teams to self-serve, to simply get the content they want instantly and thus empower creativity.

'I just wish the producers could get the content themselves! I spend all day looking for stuff they have no access to and I have other things to do!' La Media Manager, Paris.

Throughout many aspects of our lives, we subconsciously self-serve without even realising it. However, even outside of outages or natural disasters, many professional creative staff still need to ask for data from the archive; and, they still have to wait for content to be retrieved and delivered which is crazy in this day and age. 

With this in mind we decided to take a look at 5 things we take for granted today in terms of self-serving that people used to do for us:

  1. Filling Up

In 1961, self-service petrol pumps were introduced to the UK. 59 years later, there are now very few petrol and/or gas filling stations that remain where someone (the gas jockey) fills up your vehicle for you. Even without the snails pace electric car revolution, we are all used to getting out of our cars in good and inclement weather to serve ourselves, often paying at the pump, before driving off at our leisure. 

You can even pay in a car with a phone app these days and just drive away…!

Pros 

Quick, efficient and convenient. No teenager attendant taking a chunk of paint out of your motor

Cons

Loss of human interaction can be cold/wet, delays caused by the technically incompetent. No one offering to clean your windscreen

2. Show me the money!!

Ah… queuing at the bank, filling in the little paper slips or having your book stamped, just to withdraw cash from your bank account. You get to the front of the queue and then the shutters come down as its break time for the tellers. Absolutely painful. Especially, if your funds were low, you need more than you have and the bloke behind you is sniggering at your discomfort. Ah, memories 😉

How times have changed! Now you find an ATM and you use it. Done.

However, even that is changing as we move rapidly into the cashless era. Tappy tappy (the act of tapping one’s card, watch or phone against a terminal) is on the rise and it is super convenient. Some could argue it actually makes us feel a bit better about spending the money. A true revolution*!

Pros 

  • You can now control all of your finances at your fingertips enabling you to make more informed decisions
  • Super convenient cashless payments make purchases frighteningly easy

Cons

It's the death of wishing wells, let alone making life even tougher for beggars, buskers and charity volunteers. We rarely have cash in our pockets and we are not about to throw our plastic into a wishing well or fountain. Not just because that's stupid, but also there is enough plastic in our water systems already!!

Community branches are closing which means those without technology in their hands lose out. Advances in technology and commerce often leave the more vulnerable behind. You need to travel to the 'big town' or city to speak face to face with the bank.

3. Directions (Google Waze, etc…)

Remember when you had a paper map stuffed under the seat in the car? 

A map with pages missing, crumpled or with footprints on them from the kid's dirty shoes? 

Or when you had to stop your car, roll down your window and ask a stranger for directions? 

…No?

Well, you are probably under 30 for starters. These days google maps, Waze or Tomtom takes us where we need to go. We self serve by popping in the address and off we go.

Pros 

Often saves time and money, no more map reading arguments with loved ones. No longer being directed in completely the wrong direction by a mischievous local. Realtime route updates based on traffic

Cons

Nothing to think about unless you live on one of those small lanes that HGVs and trucks get stuck in!

4. Caller Putting you Through!

Until 1975 in the UK, if you wanted to call someone you either had to be manually connected (in the early days) or later on the operator would put you through or would sometimes provide a number. This could take some time, was sometimes erroneous and when directory services were privatised, it would cost you an arm and a leg.

The advent of the interweb, Google Maps and mobile telephony means we self-serve on a massive scale. There's no person connecting you, no calling the operator or directory services and no wandering around to find a working telephone box.

Pros 

No more being put through to the wrong number, instant access with a quick search and globally connected networks. Oh, and no more local operators knowing your business, AND no more going to a little red box that smells of wee

Cons

 None apart from the loss of jobs for armies of people who kept global communications going and clean our telephone boxes!

5. Shopping (Musinc, Amazing, etc…)

Until very recently if we wanted to procure any form of product, service or financial instrument we needed the help of specialists or we had to go somewhere, park and queue to get our goods. Often we relied on one source of truth or expertise and blindly (for the most) went with what we were told. This meant we were paying handsomely for it.

Today we self-serve on every level when it comes to e-commerce using advice (reviews) from the many before making the purchasing decision. The younger generation of consumers would be against the way we used to do things…back in the day 😉

Pros 

Search for it, select it, receive it. Quick, efficient and often very timely and convenient. If you need a 6 legged orange plastic bedside table by tomorrow… The interweb is your friend

Cons

  • We buy way more stuff than we need from a handful of global monopolising giants whose clever usage of tax schemes and total buying power kills competition dead which ultimately kills choice 
  • The death of the high street. Some may say it is self-inflicted but the pace of change did not help. Luckily towns like Treorchy in Wales are bucking the trend with local businesses providing great service, niche products and above all personality

Conclusion

Three of the 5 examples above relate to people being able to find what they want and get it instantly, be that information or products. 

Creative professionals working in environments that rely on legacy archive technology will always need assistance from people who should be doing more beneficial things for the business than fetch tapes from shelves, to access content unless their environments are modernised. 

Modernisation covers everything from implementing an object storage based archive in front of the existing LTO infrastructure to enhance the current environment to ripping out the old technology completely and replacing it with an object storage based private or hybrid cloud storage platform.

Object Matrix continues to help ensure creative professionals can self-serve to their heart's content even in the event of a local outage. They are the strategic partner who understands your industry, enables global collaboration, increases operational efficiency and empowers creativity. 

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About Object Matrix

Object Matrix is the award-winning software company that pioneered object storage and the modernisation of media archives. It exists to enable global collaboration, increase operational efficiencies and empower creativity through the deployment of MatrixStore, the on-prem and hybrid cloud storage platform. Its focus on the media industry gives it a deep understanding of the challenges organisations face when protecting, processing and sharing video content. Customers include: BBC, Orange, France Televisions, BT, HBO, TV Globo, MSG-N and NBC Universal.

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