07 October, 2021
Redefining end to end workflow
Written by: Alex Grossman
“Redefining end to end workflow. Really?” That’s the question I’ve been hearing since we launched the new product line and I get it, it’s a pretty bold statement, but I do think we can back it up.
When Symply started it was with a really basic idea: let's simplify increasingly complex media workflows that seem to grow harder to wrangle every year. We knew it wasn’t going to get easier on its own. With 4K, HDR, and more and more ingest and delivery points the whole thing was growing out of control. In the center of it all was shared storage – because collaboration is always key.
This was back in 2016 and we had to choose where to start. At the time we decided to focus on facility and group-wide workflow. After all, it needed the most help. That led us to develop SymplyULTRA and follow it up with SymplyWORKSPACE. Both product lines were groundbreaking and were met with great success in the market. But you can and should never stop innovating. As 2019 rolled around we were seeing the landscape evolve. Like every other market we saw growing numbers of independents, a serious move to smaller facilities and groups, and the start of individual creatives taking a greater share of the work.
Then came March 2020 and COVID-19 hit. But instead of waiting it out – as so many others have done – we did what we do best: we got started on phase two, doubling down on redefining end-to-end workflow storage for every media professional regardless of company size and delivering the best value while keeping an eye on the budget.
I’m not going to say it was easy. Luckily, we had 18 months to work on it. Updating the way people operate is no small task – even if it is just taking what they do and making it easier. You have to look at all the smallest details. I think we managed it with great success.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me explain the basic principles at the heart of SymplyFIRST.
What You Need
The first of our core principles is that none of the products or solutions should just be what we want – they had to be what users need. That meant interviewing dozens of media professionals and working with them to understand their needs and pain points.
The second principle is that we identified the essentials – those products that businesses either have or must own in order to be successful at on-set production, post production, VFX, independent filmmaking, in-house creative work, photography… nearly all creative endeavors. This ended up being easier than we initially thought. Personal storage, backup/archive, PCIe expansion and, of course, cloud workflow.
The third principle was probably the hardest: we knew that to build a better product we had to use the highest quality components and offer the best build while staying affordable. We have a great hardware and software team here and have also worked with some of the best contract manufacturers for storage products in the past. So we were able to get everyone together (remotely) to design all of the line-up.
We knew that this commonality of components would help put the best parts in all the products. This resulted in us using premium power supplies and cooling fans across the board and building in common components to help drive quantities up and costs down.
In the end it worked out great. We chose to use high-strength metal alloy enclosures and real bolts and screws instead of loose-fitting rivets and cheap plastic. Then we added beautiful powder coated finishes, vibration absorbing feet, and a compact, rugged design.
Inside the systems are even nicer: cable-free builds on most, simple clean layouts and board designs, and very quiet, efficient cooling.
Have a look at the products. See how they’re made. And more importantly how they work together to make complex workflow issues easier and then you decide: did we really redefine workflow?