Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Supply Chain Pushes Fox Into the Cloud 

The transition to a converged cloud has led to a fundamental rethinking of business processes at 20th Century Fox, explained CIO John Herbert recently. The move, he says, has impacted them even greater with digital media being tied directly into the studio’s business model.

“For us, the core catalyst to this journey to the converged cloud is all about the digital enterprise,” commented Hebert, explaining that with a converged cloud infrastructure, they are able to leverage the technology both internally and externally. “My number one priority within the IT organization is our ability to respond to our business partners,” said Hebert in a comment that might sound surprising at first, but makes perfect sense when you consider the larger picture.

Hebert says that a top priority at Fox over the last several years has been to build out a world class supply chain. This has created a situation where the organization has global needs that include access to the studio’s IT resources from the outside, redefining the consumerization of IT within the organization. “Our customers are expecting an easy to use experience, while assuming that there are no boundaries,” such as compute power or storage, he says.

“The idea that we can take marketing collateral, put it in our digital ecosystem, allow anyone in the world within our organization to be able to share and collaborate on it, and provide feedback – those processes used to take days and massive coordination to deliver that globally; it’s now been reduced to minutes,” said Herbert.

Herbert says that the process of moving to a converged cloud has become a transformational experience at 20th Century Fox, with the traditional, previous IT model no longer able to support future business needs. He points to several drivers that have changed the game for the organization.

The first among these drivers, says Herbert, is the speed to market. “In order to provide a valid solution for the business, we must deliver at the pace our business is running which is ultimately really driven by our customers.”

However, aside from external forces that have affected his IT organization, Herbert says that business alignment has become a critical factor in the processes of the organization. “The days of IT being a bottleneck are over,” says Herbert.

Giving context, Herbert says that the process of prescreening has gone from a complicated, resource heavy process to one where the company can burst as needed into the cloud without having to saddle the organization with infrastructure that they might not need for large periods of time. However, orchestrating the process through the cloud enables the studio to automate large portion of the process while maintaining service assurance.

While the IT organization he is responsible for is in the process of becoming better aligned with the rest of the business that it needs to support, Hebert says that the company is targetng another benefit: “We are absolutely targeting reducing our datacenter footprint by 70 percent,” says the IT chief.

If only they could reduce the lens flare on J.J. Abrams movies.