Deluxe Entertainment Modernizes the Digital Content Supply Chain by Running SAP on AWS
Capgemini is an APN Premier Consulting Partner
Embracing the Digital Disruption in Film, Video, and Online Content
When sitting down to enjoy a favorite movie or television show, one can take for granted just how complex a process it is to take video content from an initial concept to movie theatres and living rooms. From pre-production through post-production and distribution, the content supply chain is complex.
Working behind-the-scenes with many of the world’s most storied and innovative video content creators and distributors—including Netflix, Disney, HBO, Hulu, and Amazon—to bring content to all screens is Deluxe Entertainment. “We work on every aspect of the digital content supply chain for major content providers,” said Cindy McKenzie, Chief Information Officer at Deluxe. “Anything you think about in terms of post-production capabilities, our company does on a global scale.”
With over 100 years of history, Deluxe has seen its business model shift dramatically in the past couple of decades. Founded in 1915 as a film lab, everything the company did was physical in nature. “Today, we're a company that has been completely disrupted, and we embraced that disruption,” said McKenzie. “Just like in the music industry, one day, everything was physical, and within just a few years, nearly everything had moved to digital in our industry. We chose to become a digital supply chain company.”
Embracing a Cloud-First Approach
The scale of content Deluxe works with is staggering. In 2019, the company saw 150 TB of content onboarded and sent across its platform daily. Deluxe stored 100+ PB of content, supported over 1,300 file formats, and processed over 7 million minutes of film per week in post-production. The company reaches more than 90 percent of US households and more than 68 percent of worldwide households.
To meet its scalability needs and drive innovation in core areas such as content localization, Deluxe chose to take advantage of AWS.
“Our goal has been to move everything to the cloud. As a company, we’ve gone all-in with AWS; we are also an APN Select Technology Partner,” said McKenzie. “Today, we have about 75 percent of our production workflow systems in the cloud.” Core to Deluxe’s transformation is the company’s move to the cloud and the development of Deluxe One, a cloud-based platform unifying the media supply chain. As the company continued to embrace a cloud-driven strategy and migrate business-critical systems to AWS, it began to evaluate how it could take advantage of SAP on the cloud.
Taking Advantage of SAP on AWS
Deluxe relies on SAP to run many critical processes within core financials and capital project management. The company uses SAP ECC 6.0 across five regions as its core ERP system. Additionally, Deluxe uses SAP Business Warehouse (BW), SAP BusinessObjects (BOBJ), and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). The company's SAP system also integrates with multiple on-premises and cloud systems and third-party applications.
After the company initially made a move to AWS, the leadership team also chose to migrate much of its SAP footprint to the AWS Cloud.
“Our provider at the time was closing a data center, and we had the choice to move our SAP footprint to another data center. Instead, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to move to AWS,” says McKenzie. “We just decided to go for it, working with Capgemini on the migration and the management of the SAP environment on AWS. That was two years ago, and we haven't had one issue. The migration was seamless; it was a non-event for internal users. We assumed the process would be harder. The fact that we took a large-scale ERP and migrated it to AWS with no issues is pretty amazing.”
Running SAP on AWS has provided Deluxe with superior reliability, efficiency, and flexibility. “We’ve been able to scale quickly. And, with Capgemini acting as our cloud managed services provider, the data center and administration management is removed from our plates,” says Ninad Karkamkar, Director, SAP at Deluxe.
The company is in the beginning stages of expanding its integration of SAP with the Deluxe One platform. The team is working closely with internal teams to design its architecture to fully utilize SAP to manage rate cards, pricing, billing and VAT, acting as a backend for the Deluxe One platform. “In reality, SAP is an extension of the One platform,” explains McKenzie.
Re-implementing on SAP S/4HANA for Unparalleled Performance and Integration Ease
While Deluxe has gained many benefits from migrating its SAP footprint to AWS, the company has also identified opportunities to optimize and improve its existing SAP architecture. For example, the current ECC 6.0 environment doesn’t provide Deluxe with a preferred master data design and governance capability; doesn’t have core functionality, such as Procure to Pay and Revenue Recognition fully implemented; and requires reporting users to rely on spreadsheets to drive business decisions and do financial reporting and analysis.
At the heart of its ongoing strategy is a plan to re-implement its architecture on SAP S/4HANA, a real-time ERP suite for digital business.
“We are planning to do a greenfield S/4HANA implementation on AWS,” says Karkamkar. "Taking advantage of S/4HANA will empower us with quick and easy integrations with SAP and legacy systems during future acquisitions, provide us a single source of truth for fast closing, quick analysis, and better control, improved user experience and mobile capability, and a standard organization structure and process."
The company plans to begin its S/4HANA implementation shortly. Until then, Deluxe continues to move systems and solutions to AWS, such as Tableau BI and Deluxe’s enterprise data warehouse (EDW).
“We have a vision that is focused on the cloud,” says McKenzie. “We want to enable customers with a digital supply chain and to deliver seamless access to all content in one location. Given that most of our customers are as fully invested in the cloud as we are, our AWS-focused strategy gives us much opportunity to create some real differences in the way we do business with them. As an AWS customer and partner, we’re excited to continue our collaboration to drive new possibilities and business outcomes to media companies around the world.”
About Deluxe Entertainment Services
Deluxe Entertainment Services (Deluxe) is a leading global video creation to distribution company offering end-to-end services and technology. Through unmatched scale, technology, and capabilities, Deluxe enables a worldwide market for premium content. The world's leading content creators, broadcasters, over-the-top media services (OTTs), and distributors rely on Deluxe's experience and expertise. With headquarters in Los Angeles and New York and operations in 38 key media markets worldwide, the company relies on the talents of the industry's premier artists, experts, engineers, and innovators.
Published June 2020