StorExcel: Accelerating Digital Supply Chain Management
Lance Hukill, PresidentStorExcel is a systems integrator in the media and entertainment space providing expertise in digital media supply chain. Though it does not create all the technologies it employs, the company sees itself as far more than merely a reseller of hardware and software. “We bring together the needs of our end users and the innovation of our technology partners,” explains Lance Hukill, President, StorExcel. “Our foremost task is to stay on top of the trends. Our customers don’t have the time to do that, nor do their IT departments specialize in digital media.”
StorExcel’s flagship products, AXZiS and AXZiSLIGHT, provide a turnkey solution for digital asset management integrated onto a storage platform with a single point of contact for support. “The AXZiS products enable us to interchange the components that we feel are best of breed,” Hukill says. Additionally, their metadata fusion platform, MetaMeld, addresses the reality that in today’s burgeoning metadata environment; there will never be one database of record. It creates a federated view of multiple data assets from disparate sources, whether structured or not.
Hukill reveals the case of one client, a major sports enterprise, who owns franchises and produces and broadcasts content. “Their initial need was to build out a new production storage system, but we soon discovered that they had a digital asset management issue because of the integration of geographically and technologically disparate legacy systems from acquisitions,” he says.
We bring together the needs of our end users and the innovation of our technology partners
“They were a great illustration of a fundamental principle of digital asset management: ‘You don’t own assets that you can’t find.’” StorExcel recommended a vendor and worked with them to craft a solution that progressively scaled into place.
StorExcel emphasizes upstream and downstream partnerships as a core business principle. Because as an integrator, it does not control the creation and production of new technology, it is reliant on its vendor partners to help innovate. The digital media supply chain ecosystem includes many components: the editing platform itself, digital asset management, transcoding, delivery, storage, and so forth. “The ideal situation for an integrator is to have total control of that stack from top to bottom, but that’s rarely the case,” Hukill notes. “Instead, one must be able to fill the customer’s technology gaps while understanding their overall vision and needs.” For that reason, StorExcel relies on a relatively limited set of technology partners to ensure that it knows their solutions inside and out.
StorExcel is one of few integrators that understands the digital media and entertainment environment and has chosen to specialize, realizing, as Hukill puts it, “we cannot be all things to everyone.” Foresight and understanding of trends is crucial. “Being a step or two ahead of your customers is the value you provide to them. By the same token, sometimes we help influence our vendors’ roadmaps for innovation through our knowledge of customer needs.” For example, the evolution of hybrid cloud and digital asset management is likely to cause anxiety for StorExcel customers wondering whether and how to use the cloud, and at the same time, vendors must develop infrastructures capable of accommodating whatever solution those customers choose.
Digital media is now evolving well beyond entertainment, however. “It’s not just for Hollywood any longer,” Hukill explains. “It is becoming a relevant market demand that cuts across almost every sector, including Fortune 500, Higher Education, and Federal and State governments —it is becoming that pervasive.”