It was a bold move for Red Bull to enter the media business years ago, with a clear mission to produce high class, entertaining branded content, which fascinates and inspires people.
Today, the Red Bull Media House is an award-winning, globally distributed multi-platform media company, serving its ever-growing audience around the globe on numerous channels. It produces and licenses a broad selection of global live broadcast events, compelling and inspirational local storytelling with original short and long-form programming as well as feature films from around the world.
To achieve this operationally, Red Bull Media House assessed that they needed a technical platform that supports processes related to content that is completely digital, accurate and with speed. Red Bull Media House decided to build its own content platform to serve its global audience.
Think Big – Start Small
Since the beginning, the technical department of the Red Bull Media House has been responsible for engineering and the facilitation of this approach as a multi-tenant service platform – creating transformation along the way as per needs.
To serve different business needs from one integrated platform demanded an innovative approach.
Also, to get things done and to be in line with the company tactics and overall strategy, it was important to start small and to be value-driven.
Together with the client, we aimed to design a platform that grows with, enables, and even drives the business enabled by improved apps and services, for a single purpose: of making the Red Bull Media House the gateway to the World of Red Bull.
Focus on service
As seasoned experts in laying out and introducing Digital Entertainment Platforms, we supported our client in introducing a service delivery organisation at an early stage, caring for delivering and continuously improving the business facing services of the platform to internal and external consumers, like photographers, producers, editorial, legal or sales departments as well as the governing structures for content models, taxonomies, or rights.
That organizational umbrella was necessary to establish and further drive a service-oriented technical architecture.
This entirely-agile setup enabled fast and accurate reaction on frequently demanded, very diverse business requirements while continuously building up the foundation for future products, formats, procedures, etc.
The involved teams and business stakeholders managed to reduce the lead times for changes significantly by making continuity their approach.
Since complexity and cost often go hand in hand producing unsustainable systems, all involved teams strove to deliver value while also keeping a keen eye on quality. This made a value-driven mindset a necessity for each product engineer.
The result is a continuously improved, fast and accurate media services platform, serving the company’s media supply chain.
Challenges of Agile Development
Despite all advantages of agile development, managing foreseeability in this setup was the biggest challenge in a growing company at that speed of idea creation and execution. Everybody, who has applied an agile approach to organizations knows that it works well in single purpose environments and business models, but gets quickly complicated in more complex business environments.
So it became clear soon, that becoming and staying agile will be a challenge but also a need in an environment with 360-degree growth and business development.
The wish to just wrap the implementation of some requirements in projects and getting fixed release dates, without considering dependencies, technological maturity or just timing came up quite regularly.
This challenged the teams, even more, to improve the whole architecture to be able to deliver certain types of solutions quicker and independent from others, while protecting deeper level services from sporadic requests.
Finally, with close teamwork and involvement between the business and service delivery teams on a continuosly further developed Domain Model, the client achieved agile development for each service while maintaining a collaborative culture.
Continuous Improvement demands Continuous Delivery
The speed of change within the platform required an environment, not only capable of managing hard to predict peaks of load on a global level, but also the continuous delivery of small corrections on the underlying macro and microservices.
Together with the client, Delivion crafted a service delivery platform on a hybrid cloud and made it available to all developers. This “platform behind the platform” cares for the whole lifecycle of a service or application; from facilitating the integrated toolset to processing several hundreds of deployments per day to the developers, integrated quality checks, log shipping, and preventive monitoring to react on issues before they become a perceivable problem.
The development of this platform follows the continuous improvement paradigm of course as well.
Continuous Delivery Builds on Consequent Automation
Since changes are not limited to the software but also affect the underlying resources for computing, storage, network, and other supporting services, a software-defined cloud was introduced early. All environments are treated like code when it comes to provisioning, changing, or de-provisioning of resources.
Changes to the platform or the lifecycle of services are versioned, tested, deployed or undeployed. As a side effect, the factor of human error is minimized and service responsibility went completely in the hands of the software engineers. You build it – you run it.
Machine Learning drives Automation further
Service-oriented architectures are already very fragmented related to the log information they typically produce. Microservices raise the number of instances to tackle to several hundreds for such a platform. Thus, the amount of information produced on a daily level alone doesn’t support decision making as is. At Delivion, we use Data Science and Machine Learning techniques to produce valuable information about actual and predicted service health and opportunities to improve.
A company which wants to operate accurately, fast, and with momentum knows that it has to assess, improve, and align its business development, organisational capabilities and technology every minute of its existence.
A culture that encourages experimentation along with an attitude to learn from mistakes without breaking trust are also crucial for the success of our clients.
The Red Bull Media House achieved that unquestionably. The unconditional will to become better, faster and stronger every day is hard to miss.
Together with our client we are pleased about this fabulous success.