IBC 2019 Reflections: EcoDigital’s David Gonce and Geoff Tognetti on how they’re re-energising the DIVA Product Suite
Back in June, EcoDigital was formed in order to acquire the DIVA content-storage-management product suite from Oracle (which it had acquired in 2014 as part of its acquisition of Front Porch Digital). IBC 2019 served as the coming-out show for EcoDigital, which is now ramping up development, sales, and support of DIVA solutions.
Since its founding in June, the company has launched an R&D division in the United States and created a new solutions group dedicated to integrated global support and development. At IBC 2019, EcoDigital debuted new features in the DIVA software, including dynamic support for AWS cloud storage (making the software suite cloud-agnostic) and a new partial-file restore (PFR) from cloud-storage capability.
SVG sat down with EcoDigital Chief Revenue Officer David Gonce and CTO Geoff Tognetti to discuss why EcoDigital opted to buy the DIVA portfolio, the major in-house changes they have made since the acquisition, and what the future technology roadmap has in store for DIVA clients.
Why did you make the decision to acquire DIVA from Oracle?
Gonce: [EcoDigital CEO] Justin Ririe and I went through the process of evaluating the opportunity to buy DIVA. And what we found was that the product was still the industry-leading software in its space. When we talked to the clients, they were totally thrilled [at the prospect of us buying DIVA]. And then we met the employees, who are phenomenal. Justin and I, along with our investment partners, decided to make the investment to buy the company.
What changes have you made since finalizing the acquisition?
Gonce: First and foremost, in the first 90 days, we’ve tripled the size of the sales team. Every single client across the globe as well as every single partner will have a dedicated sales executive, which is extremely important.
Secondly, we have significantly enhanced support. We kept the same people in place that were providing great support to our clients, but we also added developers and engineers to that group so that when an issue or a customization comes in, everything could be done within a single group. There will be no escalating to different groups. So now, if you call with a request, it doesn’t go to a level one support representative and then escalated to level two or level three support — it’s all one group.
Third, Geoff [Tognetti] has put a roadmap together to totally innovate the product. A lot of maintenance within DIVA had occurred over the past five years, but not a ton of innovation. So, as of this month, we are cloud agnostic. While we will continue to support Oracle Cloud [as DIVA did exclusively under Oracle ownership], we now also fully support AWS and will support Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure before the end of the year. We’re also changing the user interface, adding some machine-learning functionality, and we have a lot of really cool innovations coming soon in Version 8 that will roll out ahead of NAB.
And finally, we’re looking at other acquisitions and looking to potentially buy other companies that complement what we do. And, so far, the market has really received us well. The clients are thrilled that there’s new energy and fresh investment being put back into the product. So we’re very excited.
Geoff – can you tell me a bit more about the reenergized R&D efforts for DIVA and what it might mean to the sports and M&E markets?
Tognetti: Coming right out of the gate, we’ve formed a new, dedicated R&D team specifically focused on innovating the product. I’m working with them directly to look around and find what are we missing, where do we need to be, where are our customers going — and make sure that we’re bringing that into [the product]. Some of that is already on the roadmap, some of it we’ll keep in our back pocket, and some we’ll discard. But having that R&D team just gives us better awareness of the market and our customers, which we’ve lacked a bit over the past few years.
What are some the near-term technology advances DIVA customers can expect in the next year?
Tognetti: In the near term, we have a really robust 18-month schedule and that runs until the end of 2020, including a brand-new user experience. We will also have a lot more in-depth analytics and reporting because our users are telling us that they need more intelligence about what’s going on in their assets.
We’re also adding an Amazon S3-like API for DIVA. Today, our DIVA API is proprietary API, so it’s like learning an entirely new language that not a lot of people know and you have to spend time to study it. However, S3 has grown into the de facto storage and it’s almost like a universal language at this point. So essentially, we’re teaching DIVA to speak S3 and that’s just going to make it a lot easier to integrate. There’s a lot of applications out there that support S3 today, including pretty much every MAM vendor. So really this is about making it easier to integrate new applications to DIVA, which is going to expand our reach.
The other big highlight is we’ll be doing a much more efficient job of collecting and assessing metadata. And then we will make further reporting available to our customers [regarding] that metadata. What we’re hearing today in the market is that a lot of MAM systems will collect a lot of metadata, but it’s often a proprietary format or it’s metadata that’s more specific to the MAM that doesn’t really benefit customer outside of the MAM. So we have a lot of customers who want to collect technical metadata on the side, such as technical and administrative metadata. Where we sit in the workflow, we’re always reading and writing all of that metadata anyway. So there’s a lot of this data we can essentially pick up for free or for almost no cost in terms of speed or computation power, and then store it. We pick up some of that metadata today and we’re going to continue to expand how much more we pick up and how we store it. And, really, we want to make it available to customers and offer new data analytics services to go along with that.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity