Dalet Launches Dalet Flex for Teams with Support from AWS SaaS Factory
By Oded Rosenmann, Global Practice Lead, SaaS Partners – AWS
By Humberto Somensi, Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
Media and entertainment organizations face an industry-wide transformation with companies reinventing how they create content, optimize media supply chains, and compete for audience attention across streaming, broadcast, and direct-to-consumer platforms.
Dalet, an AWS Partner with an AWS-qualified software offering, is a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations. It specializes in managing media workflows, helping organizations to transform the way they create and distribute content, develop meaningful connections, and increase authentic engagement.
Dalet Flex is a media workflow solution that makes it easy and less costly to produce, manage, curate, package, and distribute content.
Dalet Flex has been an enterprise-grade solution for the last eight years, serving the needs of large media organizations. But what about smaller, independent creators and content owners who could also benefit from media asset management and supply chain orchestration solutions? Recognizing the market need, Dalet has recently launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering built on Dalet Flex: Dalet Flex for teams.
With support from AWS SaaS Factory, Dalet now offers its award-winning media logistics platform as a SaaS solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS), fully hosted and maintained by Dalet.
“SaaS Factory brought a ton of knowledge and value; the team helped us to follow best practices and provided business and technical guidance,” says Mathieu Zarouk, Director of Product Marketing at Dalet. “The support from the AWS SaaS experts saved us time and efforts, helping us to get to market faster and deliver a delightful experience for our customers.”
The new SaaS offering lowers the cost of entry to professional tools for media companies, sports brands, and corporate creative teams, thanks to a pooled multi-tenanted architecture that enables economies of scale.
The new SaaS delivery model also helped Dalet reduce the customer onboarding time from weeks to a single business day. With a few simple steps, customers of any size can be up and running and start managing multimedia content libraries, automate content distribution across platforms, support a hybrid or remote workforce, and/or build a living archive.
This model allows customers to get access to product improvements, without the upgrading and updating hassle of the past. No disruption—customers solely focus on their craft.
We recently spoke with Mathieu Zarouk, Director of Product Marketing at Dalet, to learn more about the new Dalet Flex for teams SaaS solution and the value it brings to customers. We asked Mathieu to share insights from Dalet’s transition to SaaS that can help other software providers planning to adopt this delivery model.
Q&A with Dalet
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you tell us about yourself and your role at Dalet?
Mathieu Zarouk: My journey with Dalet started nine years ago in our professional services team, giving me first-hand experience delivering broadcast projects across Europe and Asia, and the opportunity to live in South Korea and then Singapore for a few years. I am now based in Paris, and after a couple of years in product management I recently took the lead of our product marketing team.
SaaS Factory: Can you share details about Dalet Flex for teams and the value it brings to customers?
Mathieu: Dalet Flex for teams helps media-rich organizations to produce, manage, and distribute content with improved efficiency and reliability. It also provides them with supply chain orchestration capabilities, visibility on costs, and an ability to easily grow their operations.
This now comes combined with all the usual benefits of SaaS: quick onboarding and improved customer journey, access to latest versions and features, ability to easily scale up or down, and a lower price point than our usual single-tenanted deployments (Dalet Flex for enterprises).
SaaS Factory: What was the motivation for you and the team to deliver the solution as-a-service?
Mathieu: Bringing professional media tools to creative teams everywhere, including smaller crews and organizations. We continuously strive to make our solutions easier to use and more affordable for our customers. While Dalet already had several products available as SaaS in its portfolio, such as Dalet Amberfin and Dalet Media Cortex, it became clear to us that Dalet Flex should also be available as a service to empower media professionals in all segments and industries.
SaaS Factory: Can you share some of the key areas you addressed in the transition to a SaaS business model?
Mathieu: We are currently going through an exciting transformation to become a leading SaaS technology provider for media-rich organizations. The first area we addressed is our internal organization, by bringing on board seasoned professionals in strategic management positions, leading for instance our customer success team, or our cloud operations team.
Then, the main area has been the customer experience: a transition to a SaaS offering means different expectations from customers when it comes to the onboarding process, user experience, knowledge resources, or customer success services. We needed to make sure we were not simply bringing a new product, but a completely new experience that meets SaaS buyers’ expectations.
SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through how the AWS SaaS Factory team helped you with these efforts?
Mathieu: The AWS SaaS Factory team helped us to map customer journeys and improve the customer experience across the entire customer lifetime, including stages of onboarding, adoption, expansion, and renewal. Their experience working with SaaS providers was valuable to challenge our assumptions and ensure we left no stones unturned.
SaaS Factory: Does the new SaaS model impact your ability to innovate faster?
Mathieu: Agility and the ability to innovate is core to what we do. Being able to get our innovation faster to the market was one of the key goals of our proposition. All technical decisions were made with this in mind, and we’ve made tremendous progress in our ability to deliver new features with minimum disruptions. Our customer success organization is also significantly growing to support this SaaS model, which gives us an invaluable source of customer feedback and further accelerate innovation.
SaaS Factory: Dalet Flex for teams can onboard new tenants in a single business day. Can you tell us which technologies and strategies you used to achieve this?
Mathieu: Without surprise, relying on a pooled multi-tenanted architecture was the key strategy to enable a significantly faster onboarding process. We also leveraged AWS’s ability to provision resources on demand, and automated the process of creating and scaling these resources according to tenant demand. We will go further in this area: “one business day” is a starting point, our aim is to bring this duration down to minutes with a fully automated process.
SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through the architecture? What AWS services are key?
Mathieu: Dalet Flex for teams architecture relies on AWS industry-recognized services, including but not limited to private network Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) computing services, elastic Kubernetes-flavored Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) instances with auto scaling groups, Application Load Balancer and Network Load Balancer, rest-encrypted Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) storage, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) replicated and distributed databases-as-a-service. Customers’ media assets are stored with AES256 encryption in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
Services can scale up or down, allowing us to dynamically allocate resources to meet tenant demands, while maintaining the service’s performance efficiency. All these benefits are directly passed on to our customers.
SaaS Factory: What were the core technical challenges when designing your SaaS solution?
Mathieu: We needed strategies to enforce and harden our tenant isolation posture. Each component was analyzed individually, and we embedded the design with guardrails so that all tenants operate in the service as if they were alone in it. AWS SaaS Factory has provided great guidance on this topic, which was valuable to us. Another challenge was to understand costs and specifically costs per tenant. Last but not least, security has always been a critical point of attention in everything we’ve built for this new offering.
SaaS Factory: From a technical perspective, how did you make your customer onboarding process seamless?
Mathieu: Sharing resources, with a pooled multi-tenanted architecture, means that our onboarding process could be simplified, significantly improving procurement cycles and time to value. That was the foundation, and we then focused on automation to limit dependencies on manual operations and further accelerate the process.
SaaS Factory: How did AWS SaaS Factory help to address challenges you faced with tenant and data isolation?
Mathieu: AWS SaaS Factory engaged with us in a series of workshop sessions when many patterns and best practices were presented. As an example, one of the artifacts that was presented was the SaaS Factory EKS reference architecture, where the tenant isolation challenge is met by the creation of namespaces per tenant.
SaaS Factory: What advice would you share to other software providers as they navigate to SaaS?
Mathieu: Transitioning to SaaS is a company-wide transformation. Building SaaS products is only the tip of the iceberg. Providing the right customer experience around those products is the key. It requires a significant shift in mindset, and possibly organizational changes, in departments such as customer success, product management, and cloud operations. Leveraging the experience of partners like AWS is instrumental to facilitate this journey.
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