Making the Right Argument for New Storage and Automation Systems

At Chesapeake Systems, we’re constantly showing editors, producers and other creatives the benefits of investing in infrastructure such as hardware, software, storage, workflow automation systems, or more.

We know that for those in the trenches, the need for this investment can be quite evident.

But how do you go about convincing the higher-ups, the decision-makers, that this is a justified expenditure for the company?

Framing your Argument
Making a financial investment to the tune of anywhere from $50,000 to $750,000 is significant.

Your first inclination might be to show how this new infrastructure will make your life better. But the decision maker (DM) already knows the inherent value of the technology. What they want you to tell them is how this purchase will contribute to the company’s bottom line. Will it save money? Will it help the company generate money? How much money?

The DM wants to know “What is the Return on Investment that will be derived from making this investment?”

For example, if you think your company would benefit from a shared storage system, research the following before approaching the DM:

What are you currently spending on a non-shared system?
How much data are you currently responsible for warehousing?
How much data are you generating daily/quarterly/annually on average?
How quickly is your storage requirement growing?
How much time is each department member spending in post production for a project?
How much time do they spend editing?
How much time is spent searching for uncatalogued files?

Addressing efficiencies is important – but make sure to talk about how working in a much more efficient environment can free up (insert amount) of hours. With this extra time, the current manpower will be able to complete (insert amount) additional projects, resulting in (insert amount) dollars in revenue for the company.

Here’s What Your Argument Doesn’t Look Like
“Having this shared storage system will be so convenient and make my life so much easier. I won’t have to waste time searching for files or waiting for files to open. It will improve my work life tremendously!”

What It Does Look Like
A shared storage system would be an excellent investment for our organization. We’re currently spending (insert appropriate amount) of dollars on a non-shared storage system. We’re paying (insert amount) annually for or team of employees. We estimate between A and Z hours are lost per quarter because we don’t have a shared storage system. We are responsible for warehousing (insert appropriate amount) of data. Every day we’re generating (insert appropriate amount) more data. Three years from now we will likely be generating (insert appropriate amount) of data. A shared storage system can cost anywhere from A to B. Losing any of the data we currently maintain could cause us to lose a customer. It could potentially cost our company anywhere from (insert appropriate range here) dollars. We’ve calculated we’re spending (insert amount) of money per month in searching for files. If we could recover that time, we could take on an extra project per quarter with our current manpower, which could boost our profit margin by (insert amount).

It’s really all about the right approach. You need to show where efficiencies will be gained. You need to illustrate your cost structure to date, and project what future costs may be. Generating metrics is important because it starts to create a frame of reference for how people can look at a complex set of activities and workflows and relate it to the bottom line. Creating a “best case, worst case” scenario is also suggested. Don’t worry if you don’t have exact details and amounts – plug in realistic figures or a range of time, dollars, etc. If you explain that in the best case scenario you could lose 5% of production time searching for files and in the worst case, you lose 25%, it starts to create a narrative for why it makes sense to invest in new infrastructure. It paints a bigger picture perspective for those who don’t understand the day-to-day reality.

Another Solid Approach
In addition to ROI, our friends at AVPreserve have also given us another option for framing an argument for why new infrastructure will benefit your company. Chris Lacinak, principal of the data management consulting and software development firm, likes to focus on the Cost of Inaction (COI). How much will it cost the organization if you don’t change things up?

Here’s what the hypothetical COI might look like
You have 20 desktop hard drives with (insert amount) of data on them. You know that over the span of five years, at a minimum, one of those drives will fail and the content won’t be recoverable. The COI for not backing up your data will vary depending on which drive you lose. Be sure to present a low figure and a high figure for the cost of data recovery, to represent the less costly drive and the most costly. This will begin to illustrate a concrete monetary argument for what your exposure could be and show how investing in a storage system can shield your organization from this exposure.

Still have some questions about crafting your argument?
Chesapeake Systems loves the opportunity to consult with current or potential clients to develop talking points and help structure these conversations and arguments. We’re so confident in the efficiencies to be gained, the savings to be gained, and the additional revenue opportunities, that we’re happy to be a part of any conversation to identify solutions or provide you with the tools you need to present your argument to management.

Visit us at or call us at 410-752-7729.


In an Ever-Changing Environment, Service is Key

Remember when you were a child and your teacher was trying to teach you the concept of infinity? It seemed pretty crazy to think that there was no end to numbers – that you could count forever and there was simply no boundary.

The same can be said, in a way, about our work at Chesapeake Systems. When it comes to helping our clients develop workflows and utilize the latest and most efficient technology to store and access large quantities of media, there really is no end to what you can do and how you can apply the technology.

There is always a new idea to try, a new software in which to invest, a new way to deliver content more efficiently.

And that’s invigorating for our staff at Chesapeake. It’s fun for us to consult with clients and help them get to that next level. We’re constantly challenged and, as a result, we’re constantly helping them grow their return on investment.

As we take this journey with clients, service remains a central focus.

From the very make up of our team (we have a dedicated customer care advocate, for example) to the way we handle project management, customer service is at the core of our approach as we work to help our clients grow and stay relevant.

So what does our approach to service look like?

We loosely base our approach on the well-known ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) standard, which helps align IT services with the needs of a business.

Our approach is typically divided into four areas:
1. The make up of our team
2. How we track incidents
3. Focusing on continuity and change management
4. Providing 24/7 on-call support and Project Management

Having the right team in place is essential. In addition to our customer care advocate who has a background in ITIL and works with dozens of clients, we also have on staff a tenured engineer who handles our internal research and development. By taking this proactive approach, we ensure we can accommodate our clients’ needs so they can stay up and running.

At Chesapeake, we carefully track, monitor and analyze incidents. We immediately jump on the case to ensure service is restored to clients as quickly as possible and they can continue to deliver their content. If we see a repetition of incidents among customers or with the same customer, we’ll assign a higher level parent case in our system to one of our expert-level engineers. Our goal is to analyze the bandaids so, eventually, we never have to make those types of repairs again.

When it comes to continuity and change management, it’s not just a matter of being reactive, but being proactive as well. With our Maintenance and Support Agreement, we conduct onsite proactive walkthroughs to make sure things are going well. Our goal is for our customers to experience no downtime or hiccups. As a service provider, we also conduct remote checks, monitoring logs and performance. By applying our expertise, we can help clients reduce the risk of a disaster.

Whenever we do incorporate a change for clients, we always follow through. We make sure the client understands the change and can adopt it.

The reason we take such a detailed approach to customer service is because every day, we work to become better. We strive to change our clients’ environments for the better.

Interested in working with a trusted partner? Give us a call at 410-752-7729 or visit


The IT Explosion – Why Video and Storage Systems Need to Keep Up

My fascination with video emerged back in my elementary school days. In the mid-to-late 1980s, my neighborhood friend Charlie and I would haul around his family’s klunky old video camera creating our own home movies. I remember there was a mode where you could capture one frame at a time, so we would build 30 frames of video to create our own stop motion animation. I’m not afraid to admit my nerd status back then or to acknowledge that it continued through junior high and college.

Back then or even 15 years ago, I don’t know that those in the industry would have predicted that one day people would have the ability to create high definition video on their cell phone. Or that they could essentially beam that content to anyone who had Internet access. But they did see change coming. They were aware that equipment was becoming more advanced and was going to become more readily available and affordable.

When IT explodes in any industry or the technology itself develops, it inherently leads to a rapid state of change. And challenging though it might be to plan your business around these changes, companies must have the scalability in place to move forward with the times.

So how does a company scale?

Step 1. Be Aware of the Trends.
Use resources like Chesapeake Systems. Listen to episodes of our podcast, The Workflow Show, or sign up for our newsletter. We like to think that as consultants who have been immersed in this industry for many years, we are always staying abreast of these changes. 

Attend industry trade shows, conventions and talks. Our best advice is to make sure you put some time and energy into understanding what’s coming.

So what IS trending?
Camera manufacturers tend to drive a lot of change, with the new technology having downstream ramifications. While it may have taken some 50 years for television to transition from SD to HD, the move from HD to 4K is happening at a much quicker clip. Camera manufacturers began incorporating 4K capable censors into their equipment, which appealed to those in the industry. Shooting with 4K cameras means producing 4K files. There is already talk of 8K and even 16K possibilities. Offering 4 to 16 times the resolution impacts everything from software to storage requirements to performance level. This uptick in requirements all comes at a cost. Throw in the trending 360-degree environment and things become even more complex.

So how do these trends affect your scalability?

This brings us to Step 2.

Step 2. Incorporate Scalability Into How You Build Out Your Technological Infrastructure

There is no simple answer or quick fix for scalability, but when considering your technological infrastructure, you must think beyond your immediate needs. It can basically be guaranteed, most likely no more than five years from now, that external factors enabled by technology are going to force you to reinvest in your infrastructure – in your storage system.

If you’re making an investment in a data storage system for your video, whether it’s shorter- term stuff you’re actively editing and doing post production on, or it’s the longer-term stuff, you need to look at a system that can fulfill your needs five years out. Make sure you have a good sense of its ability to keep up during its lifetime.

The reality is, technology is a beast, and it’s going to do, in my opinion, what it’s going to do. It’s akin to a force of nature. So you have to align yourself with the right resources and partners and evolve around the evolution of technology.

Like what you’re seeing and want to know more? Sign up for our newsletter or connect with us at 410-752-7729.