Why your workflow is not working

A workflow is a powerful weapon in your media management arsenal. It defines how different types of jobs are completed and automates the ingest, distribution and storage processes. A productive workflow needs to distinguish between decision making and process automation. It achieves this by subcontracting the repetitive and time consuming aspects to the Media Asset Management (MAM) system, while the control about who does what, when and how is retained by the users - and this is usually where the trouble starts.

User management

As a MAM grows, its user base will inevitably grow as well. This leads to a range of users accessing the system, some of which may not have the expertise to effectively manage media repositories or understand the processes behind a workflow. If every user is allowed to tinker with a workflow then errors will creep in - either in the workflow itself or in the media and associated metadata being churned out at the other end. This is why it is important to give the appropriate level of control to your users when it comes to implementing your workflows. Without the appropriate level of user management, your MAM will run with poorly designed workflows or, at worst, ones that simply stop your MAM in its tracks and end up with an operator wasting time resolving such issues, instead of saving time through the system automation associated with workflows. This is where Imagen allows users to do what they do best - make the decisions. Imagen, and its web interface ImagenWeb, has been carefully configured to give admin users the ability to give specific users and user groups the appropriate level of access to the system’s workflows.

Running a workflow

ImagenWeb allows admin users to give individual users, or groups of users, the control to run a preset workflow - so they do not have to mess around in the Imagen system and potentially break a perfectly good workflow. This is the lowest level of control. There is no need for an admin user to intervene and these low level users can just run a workflow as and when they need to - again saving human time and letting the system take the strain. But what if you need to increase the level of access to users?

Give your MAM a KISS

To steal an infamous acronym from the U.S. Navy, when implementing a set of workflows it is important to “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (KISS). There are business cases where only a handful of simple transcoding and storage workflows are required to ingest specific media files or store them in a solitary database. For those that do not require a complex, bespoke workflow - some MAM systems come with these simple workflows already implemented - so there is no need to spend time designing them. Imagen is automatically set up with such simple out-of-the-box workflows which can be used or enhanced by users as they grow and create their own workflows. These automated, simple workflows are a great place to start and build up knowledge of the MAM system. A repository of basic workflows should also be kept to help troubleshoot more complex workflows as your understanding, and workflow complexity, grows.

No silver bullets

There is not one single out-of-the-box workflow to match every media management requirement. This is why it is vital for a workflow to be modular in its approach - so it can be tailored to a specific business requirement. The Imagen Workflow Editor is highly flexible to accommodate this need and meet your operational requirements by allowing users to create or modify workflows in Imagen. Imagen’s Workflow Editor also continues the KISS philosophy through its easy-to-use graphical interface, where you simply drag and drop the processes you want to feature in your workflow and set the parameters for each stage. Each type of job (whether transcoding or updating stored files) is encapsulated in a distinct module which connects to other modules to create an automated series of tasks and, voila, the workflow is ready to run.  

Sweat the small stuff

If you are designing and implementing complex workflows, then it is important to keep tabs on the other components of the MAM system. If you deal with many different projects, then try to catalog each one separately to future proof your work and store a range of workflows that could be reused for future projects. Imagen allows for the import and export of workflows, saving you from recreating the same workflow again and again. It is also a good idea to devise and abide by best practices to maintain your MAM and its workflows. If you need advice on optimising your workflows, or just want to know more about the many features our Imagen system offers, please contact one of the team today.  

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