CHESA Launches Acorn Cloud with Support from AWS SaaS Factory
By Oded Rosenmann, Global Practice Lead, SaaS Partners – AWS
By Anubhav Sharma, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
CHESA is a systems integrator supporting media supply chain environments and helping organizations to build and manage media operations in the cloud.
With dozens of years of consulting experience with creative teams and video editors, CHESA identified a need for media asset management (MAM) collaboration tools for remote teams that have limited media IT support.
This motivated CHESA to launch its new MAM platform, Acorn Cloud, a cloud-based media workflow and management platform for creative team collaboration. Acorn gives editors the ability to ingest, search, find, enrich, and retain their assets, all within a remote work-in-progress platform for creative team collaboration.
With support from AWS SaaS Factory, CHESA built and launched Acorn Cloud as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS), allowing small and mid-size creative teams to create, edit, and deliver video content, while lowering the barrier of entry for access to collaboration tools as fully managed services.
“The AWS SaaS Factory team brought great insights along with their commitment to the success of our offering. Their analysis and feedback allowed us to clarify our models and greatly assisted in implementing what is required to make this SaaS initiative a success,” said Jason Paquin, CEO at CHESA. “The business and technical best practices provided by the SaaS experts from AWS were critical to helping us build a SaaS solution that offers a streamlined client experience, expedite our time-to-market, and manage costs to the benefit of our clients.”
We recently spoke with Lance Hukill, Chief Commercial Officer at CHESA, to learn more about the new Acorn Cloud SaaS platform and the value it brings to customers. We asked Lance to share insights about CHESA’s full solution stack that’s provided as a SaaS platform and how it can help other organizations planning to adopt this delivery model.
Q&A with CHESA
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you tell us about yourself and your role at CHESA?
Lance Hukill: I’ve been in the IT space for 20+ years, and before that a software developer. At CHESA, I’m the Chief Commercial Officer and responsible for sales, marketing, as well as our technology partner alliances.
SaaS Factory: Can you tell us a bit about the history of CHESA as a system integrator?
Lance: CHESA’s been around for over 30 years, starting as an Apple retail and repair shop. Because of our Apple background, we’ve worked closely with creative clients which often includes digital media ecosystems. This provided us the opportunity to drive value to our creative customers as a systems integrator, and we continue to do that today.
SaaS Factory: Who are your customers?
Lance: Really anyone who touches the creative process, from camera to distribution and everything in between. Our clients range from the traditional broadcast, post production, sports, houses of worship, and what we call corporate video.
SaaS Factory: How does Acorn Cloud work and what are some of the key customer benefits?
Lance: The simple answer is that Acorn is a software as a service. There’s only two offerings in the market that I’m aware of that offer media asset management as part of a SaaS platform, and that is Iconik (one of our key partners) and now CHESA’s Acorn. However, not all our clients leverage a SaaS platform, and CHESA will continue to be an “SI” first, and deliver and support the right solutions.
SaaS Factory: How can users get started using Acorn Cloud?
Lance: Typically it takes days, weeks, and sometimes months to commission a MAM solution on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid form. With Acorn, you can be ingesting and sharing assets in one day.
SaaS Factory: What are some of the AWS services you leveraged to enable a secured and resilient solution?
Lance: There are two parts of how AWS helped as a sponsored partner under the SaaS Factory. The first is on the business side to help understand key performance indicators (KPIs) as a SaaS platform, and the second is on the technical side to ensure that Acorn has an AWS Well-Architected Framework.
SaaS Factory: What were some of the technical challenges when moving to a SaaS delivery model?
Lance: We determined the software stack in Acorn based on customer feedback and ease of use, rather than whether or not the components were built for what we envisioned with the product. This did make it a bit more difficult for us, but as a leader in cloud-first media systems integration the team is uniquely positioned to help drive these transitions from what remains a space burdened with monolithic architecture offerings.
Ultimately, our client-focused product decision making led us to work very closely with our software partners and AWS to apply DevOps principles to ensure our ability to create a very supportable and scalable offering.
SaaS Factory: Can you share how AWS SaaS Factory helped you address these technical challenges?
Lance: While CHESA is uniquely positioned to drive the adoption of cloud-first media workflows, and has substantial development capabilities, the AWS SaaS Factory proved invaluable in our journey to product and launch readiness. The team’s deep understanding of AWS enabled our team to more effectively adopt technologies we hadn’t previously in a production capacity, but also to challenge our existing approaches to every element of the product.
The SaaS Factory team was also instrumental in our reorganization of our AWS Organizations to support our growing footprint of client-focused services on the platform.
SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through how the SaaS Factory team supported your business efforts?
Lance: Our core tenants for Acorn were easy to sell, easy to deliver, easy to use, and easy to support. AWS SaaS Factory delivered a series of workshops to help CHESA leadership make a business decision to optimize the approaches to deliver the SaaS solution, operate and enable collaboration between teams, and effectively engage with customers. Their support included guidance on organizational and cultural transformation, customer journey mapping, new sales motions, customer segmentation strategy, product-led growth, and go-to-market plans which span across the entire customer lifecycle, including stages of retention and growth.
In addition, establishing metrics for KPIs was extremely helpful, and we defined three simple KPIs: (1) platform adoption, (2) customer retention, and (3) renewal and revenue growth.
AWS SaaS Factory: What advice would you share with other organizations as they navigate to a SaaS delivery model?
Lance: Leverage your cloud provider early and a lot. We can’t stress enough how important it was to leverage AWS, and we had no idea how many resources they could throw at us. It was overwhelming in the beginning, but once you decipher the AWS organizational decoder ring, then you’re better off.
About Acorn Cloud by CHESA
Acorn Cloud helps creative teams collaborate and manage their media in the cloud as a fully managed service. Acorn provides the ability to ingest, search, find, enrich, and retain assets, all with remote work-in-progress functionality. Ideal for teams that need agility but lack IT support, Acorn is built on CHESA’s centralized control plane, called Bones.
About AWS SaaS Factory
AWS SaaS Factory helps organizations at any stage of the SaaS journey. Whether looking to build new products, migrate existing applications, or optimize SaaS solutions on AWS, we can help. Visit the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub to discover more technical and business content and best practices.
SaaS builders are encouraged to reach out to their account representative to inquire about engagement models and to work with the AWS SaaS Factory team.
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