LIONSGATE is a $2 billion diversified global entertainment corporation that produces feature films and television shows, which they distribute worldwide. Their products include the Emmy award-winning TV show Mad Men and the movie “Hunger Games”. Their productions appear in theaters, on TV, and online.
At LIONSGATE, many of the company’s key business processes require collaboration and approval workflows across teams, departments, and geographies. The IT department works closely with the business units to leverage technology in ways to facilitate and streamline collaboration.
LIONSGATE has included Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in its IT strategy since 2010. Jeremy Fuchs, Vice President of Financial and BI Systems, explains, “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 provides a robust framework for building collaborative sites, housing shared documents, and capturing and routing vital information using forms and workflows. Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) gives us a secure environment in the AWS Cloud with the flexibility and scalability we need to manage our SharePoint environment with zero impact to our on-premises datacenter.”
LIONSGATE wanted to reduce the time that the SharePoint team spent on managing the solution and engaged Datapipe, a member of the AWS Partner Network, for monitoring and administration tasks.
“We evaluated several cloud platforms before ultimately selecting AWS,” notes Fuchs. “The deciding factors were the reliability, extensive ecosystem of partners and services, and competitive pricing that AWS offered, as well as AWS customer service, which has been outstanding from day one.”
Fuchs goes on to say, “One great advantage of AWS is the ability to build servers and keep them in a stopped state, ready to be booted up at any time at no cost except for the time those servers are up and running.” This flexibility enables LIONSGATE to run multiple on-demand development environments while relying on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Reserved Instances for applications that maintain persistent workloads or exhibit predictable growth patterns.
Since launching its new system in Amazon VPC, LIONSGATE has slashed IT demands in multiple ways. Fuchs explains: “In leveraging AWS for our SharePoint deployment, we decreased our implementation time by eliminating the steps of purchasing and installing additional servers and storage. We have also optimized uptime while reducing the burden that would have been placed on our data center and technical support staff had we gone with an on-premises deployment.”
By offloading infrastructure management to Datapipe, the LIONSGATE SharePoint team can focus on delivering tangible value to the business by using SharePoint 2010 to build new sites and applications.
With its SharePoint system in place, LIONSGATE is exploring the possibility of incorporating AWS into upcoming business continuity and disaster recovery planning. Fuchs reports, “AWS will continue to have a place in our IT roadmap, because it is easy to use, cost-effective, scalable, and reliable. Our positive experience with AWS and its growing ecosystem of solutions and services has us looking for new ways to leverage what AWS has to offer.”