Matrox Video – How to communicate the value of technology solutions to buyers
Francesco Scartozzi, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Matrox Video
Why is it so important to communicate the value of technology solutions to potential buyers? How will this improve their decision-making or outcomes? Because beyond the ever-present sales and marketing imperative is a more important driver: media businesses can’t fully benefit from the ecosystem of the future without understanding its significance.
That future ecosystem is being shaped by the “IT-ification,” or “computerization,” of the broadcast industry, be it across on-prem and private data centers, hybrid models, or the cloud. It’s an open, non-proprietary, computer-based environment that delivers all the advantages that IT has finally opened up for our industry. The promise made by virtualization is being kept.
One reason for confusion across the industry has been the pervasive “move to the cloud” message. Most people hear the word “cloud,” and they understand that it signals remote capabilities with scalability and flexibility. They get that the cloud gives them a dial they can spin to turn up or down the computing resources they’re using. But the reality, at this point, is that the cloud is just table stakes — just part of doing business in the modern media landscape. One way or another, some part of media operations will rely on the cloud. The cloud is more about the “where” than the “what” and the “how.”
And the “what” and the “how” are what potential buyers want to know. To some degree, it is important to distinguish the difference between “lift and shift” solutions in the cloud as opposed to cloud-native solutions. After all, bolting existing products onto the cloud (re-platforming), rather than engineering them to exist and function optimally within it (refactoring) can only get a technology supplier so far. As vendors continue their incremental introduction of cloud capabilities, investment in traditional workflows may not make so much sense. What buyers need to know is how to differentiate bolt-on functionality from true innovation. Is a faster horse really the solution if a flying car, or even teleportation, is an option instead?
If you can communicate how technology will eliminate boundaries, remove constraints, and make it cheaper and easier for buyers to reach specific goals, then you’re effectively translating for them the value of that technology in a way that makes sense and relates to their business. Maybe they can seize the opportunity to start thinking bigger and demanding more from the world of IT.
More than just a technical shift, this is also a shift in mindset — and that’s what makes effective, compelling communication so important. For many buyers, the technologies and solutions they’re being asked to consider today are nothing like anything they’ve ever seen (much less imagined) before. The rate of technological innovation has proceeded at such a rapid pace that even in-the-know analysts are stunned by solutions coming to market. “How is this happening already?” they wonder as they see new solutions on the trade show floor and learn about the latest proofs of concept in play within early adopters’ test workflows.
In the case of IT-ification, or virtualization, the idea is not completely foreign; people take advantage of it every day in other domains of life. They’re exposed to it when they use their iPhone, M365, Google Drive, gaming, or whatever it may be. They are already aware of how the barriers can fall away. Yet, they work in a world where they’ve grown accustomed to the constraints of walls, in the form of synchronized video, they need to work around. In this world all machines must be genlocked and synchronized, and very careful timing work must be performed before one machine can talk to another. For so long, the thinking has been that there isn’t any other way.
But that’s no longer true, and no amount of one-on-one technical reasoning will do the work of practical communication to help buyers see that. While engineers and other technologists certainly (and reasonably) want to understand how it’s possible, a much larger audience simply wants to know that they no longer need to connect this machine to that one, or genlock the graphics system, or pre-render all their bumpers. They use their smartphones and the apps on them to complete specific tasks and to make life easier or better, and knowing that it works is enough. For a large number of prospective buyers, the same is true for the technologies that will bring them into the IT-ified television ecosystem of the future.
This shift will be transformational (not unlike the advent of the smartphone, in fact), removing all the conventional rules that have applied to broadcast over decades. As OEMs, manufacturers, early adopters, and other influencers come awake to the possibilities from virtualization, the industry as a whole will move toward a new reality without traditional limitations. And the sooner the practical implications of this newfound freedom are clearly and simply illustrated for potential buyers, the better-equipped broadcasters will be to remain relevant, delight audiences, and make money.