Questions, Ideas, and Solutions for Going Digital in Hollywood

Go Digital with Byagi

Going Digital is a concept taking hold in Hollywood.  How could the front end be so amazing and the back end so flimsy?  It reminds me of the temporary construction built for sets.  There are a bunch of maxims we could say about weaknesses like “you are only as strong as your weakest link”, or we could use a metaphor for powerful forces like “you have to match power with power, you can’t catch a train riding a bike..” that was a loose quote from “Riding Giants” a documentary about big wave surfing and how tow-in surfing was born.  So if we as humans have all these great lessons and words of wisdom around us why do we fail to act as a group?  Why would an industry choose to look the other way for so long about their finances, security, and digital technology on the back end?  “As long as accounting information system compliance is only seen as a duty, it is difficult to gain more value from these practices” (Mancini, D.et al. 2013).  When Producers and Studios understand that finance is more than a duty, we will get the desired change.  The revolution or should I say the evolution is coming, producers and production companies are actively looking for digital solutions.  

byagi time
byagi time

Why has it taken the entertainment industry so long to adopt digital technology?  Unless you have an idea of what the picture should be then you cannot ask the right questions.  I have been asked many times why I use spreadsheets to process millions of dollars of payroll.  To me it has always been an obvious choice which is why I am here writing about going digital today.  When people come to the entertainment business to be Producers, Actors, Directors it is hard to find someone with the desire to excel at something so far from the glamorous accolades.  When people are not trained in digital technology it makes it difficult to pioneer solutions.  When I first started Byagi I was told a few times by senior management that, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  I saw other solutions and my definition of broke was and still is different.  My vision of what the back office business process should be is based in digital technology and comes with a longer list of expectations.  Building ALineProducer, our intention is to make our customers better, lift up our competition and make the production experience in the entertainment industry better.   

“What are the implications for accounting information systems? Are they suitable to adapt to the new flexibility request, or are they tied by their own architecture? The answer to the above queries could drive the design of new accounting information system conceptual models thus providing one of the most interesting research fields” (Beath, C. et.al. 2012).  I have believed in the above quote for a long time which is why Byagi was founded 10 years ago and why we created our web application, ALineProducer.

“One of the great things about money is it buys a lot of things….one of those luxuries is to disregard….”  That is a quote from “MoneyBall”, a movie about baseball and how long it took for change to occur.  For some it still hasn’t changed.  We can look everywhere and see industries that have changed while others resist.  The time has come for Hollywood to optimize back office information systems.  

Going Digital…..Information Systems, specifically accounting, “Indeed, they have always been evolving during time and there is still a long way to go, for the best alignment between accounting information systems and the business” (Mancini, D.et al. 2013).  It takes desire, determination, inner-drive, and confidence to develop a new business process for an entire industry.  While I was earning my degree in computer information systems I heard a talk by Guy Kawasaki where he discussed the concept of curve jumping when you enter a market.  At Byagi we have curve jumped with, ALineProducer.  We have opened up a way for all stakeholders on a production to use a common platform where they can communicate their financial needs 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  

24 Hours 7 Days a Week Always Open
24 Hours 7 Days a Week Always Open

Information is a driver and those companies that recognize the value of information and how it affects a knowledge based industry will have a comparative advantage to those companies who don’t.  Does your company have an Optimized Information System (OIS)?  In today’s world when you manually build a house from the ground up a professional shows up with pneumatic nail guns in a couple of sizes for framing and finishing.  A pneumatic nail guns saves hours per job.  In Hollywood we now have the equivalent of a pneumatic nail gun in the back office with, ALineProducer.  Producers can now give their crews a financial solution with confidence.  ALineProducer is the first digital step a company can take on their way to transforming their production business.  Using ALineProducer will help elevate the production process from paper to digital.  That being said before you come to us get to know your needs.  

The entertainment industry has very sophisticated technology minds that I believe are going to embrace this new way of taking care of business.  If you are reading this take the time to discover the best way for your company to go digital.  We can help but we may not be right for you.  What is the company strategy?  What is the culture at the company for implementing new business processes?  Who are the stakeholders who will need to guide, train, and grow the digital technology?  Ask yourself the questions.  There are many considerations when deciding on products and services that will help you achieve your strategic goals.  We will be here when you decide the time is right for us to help you become masters of your information.

In the next blog post we will continue the conversation of going digital.  There will be more questions, ideas and solutions for going digital as well as research about the time frame a company can expect once the decision has been made to go digital.  Thanks for reading and here is to everyone going digital and getting better at capturing the value of information in a digital environment.

 

REFERENCE

     Beath, C., Becerra-Fernandez, I., Ross, J., Short, J.: Finding value in the information explosion. Sloan Manage. Rev. 53(4), (2012)

     Mancini, D., Vaassen, Eddy H. J, Dameri, Renata Paola, & SpringerLink provider. (2013). Accounting Information Systems for Decision Making (Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation, 3).

A Hollywood Love Story….Going Digital

After 20 years of production accounting experience on projects that have ranged from an Independent feature with a budget of 150K to Studio Blockbusters with budgets over 200 million one thing has been consistent.  I kept asking myself a litany of questions about digital technology and the best solutions for capturing financial information on productions.  With the help of many people along the way, Byagi, has released it’s flagship ALineProducer, a digital solution for the pains of doing production work in Hollywood.  Hi my name is Aaron Walrod, and I am the founder and C.E.O. of Byagi.  

Go Green

GD started long before I had a name for it.  First a definition of what GD means to me.  It is the process of learning how to create, collect, store, share, and manage information in a digital environment.  “We can think of a set of ordered tasks as a process: a series of steps involving activities, constraints, and resources that produce an intended output of some kind” (Pfleeger, Shari Lawrence, 2010, p. 45).  It can be a smooth transition, but like anything it takes time, dedication, and determination in order to be successful.  It also takes the right tools and a plan which is why Byagi has opened it doors for business offering, ALineProducer.

In 2012, approaching my mid-forties I went back to school while working full time because I needed more working knowledge of computer information systems.  I then met Glen Berry and we started collaborating on a financial/managerial system that would automate the paper technology currently being used.  My personal goal with this blog is to offer an authoritative, affiliative, coaching mentality to the business of helping our fellow brothers and sisters on their journey of “Going Digital” in Hollywood and sustain the new process with constant support and iterations of improvements to our web & mobile apps.

I was fortunate to have visionary bosses when I first broke into the industry.  “Going Digital” for me started in 1997.  I was on my third feature film when my boss told me he thought Microsoft Excel was going to replace Lotus 123 as the preferred spreadsheet.  I was given the task of learning Excel and transferring his Lotus spreadsheets.  At first it was a way to keep my job and then Excel became an obsession.  I call this a Hollywood Love Story because it takes a commitment as strong as love to create a solution in a new frontier for an industry.  It is an exciting time for Byagi to come forward and take a leadership role in setting the standard for how the industry processes its information. 

When I decided to take the principals of GD and turn it into a business I had no idea where to start, but eventually the pieces came together.  ALineProducer is a platform that brings together all the departments financial information in one place, it is intuitive, and sophisticated enough to provide real-time information to Producers and other stakeholders of a production, but easy for non-technology users to enter their data quickly and efficiently.  “….true work of innovation is not coming up with something big and new, but instead recombining things that already exist….” (Brynjolfsson, E., McAfee, A. 2014, p. 76).  

Connecting People
Connecting People

 I have taken that quote to heart but added a twist.  By combining things that already exist we have created something big and new.  We combined a group of familiar tasks in a new environment that curve jumps (thanks Guy Kawasaki for helping me understand) the industry standards.  Purchase orders, database management, budgeting, documentation storage/management, and reporting solution are not new yet we have combined all those tools into a powerful web application.  We have created control and transparency.  We have connected the stakeholders on a production to the accounts payable process in a way that uses current digital technology never before seen in the industry, but so simple it’s familiar.  We provide the financial control and security from the start by going to the source.  Our mission is to provide design friendly digital solutions for the arts and solve the pains of doing business on productions in Hollywood one at a time or five at a time.  

I hope everyone who reads this will share this site with their friends and come back to read and learn more about Going Digital and start using ALineProducer making it an industry standard for all productions.  There are some great subjects we will be covering with the goal to peak interest, educate, inform, and relay information that I find and have found to be helpful in my career.  So if you want to take your production to the next level keep reading my blogs and contact us for a demo.  The future of production finance is here and we have an offering that will meet and mostly likely exceed your expectations.

In closing the quotes I pulled for this blog do not have any affiliation with Byagi and are not an endorsement of our products.  I have quoted people throughout the site and want to make it clear that these are for reference purposes only.  I enjoy writing, but like a quality research paper I need the help of these educated people to give clarity, support, and meaning.  I do recommend reading the books I have quoted.  It will help to better understand the philosophy and values of what I write about.

 

REFERENCES

 Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2014). The second machine age: Work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies.

 Pfleeger, Shari Lawrence. (2010). Software engineering: Theory and practice. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

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