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D Studios

Happy IT leads to ‘Happy Feet’ with assyst

A dynamic, expanding film production company implements
assyst by Axios Systems during the creation of major releases
in Australia
Dr. D Studios
Dr. D Studios is a new digital production studio created a cost-effective, locally administered system to allow
www. by Academy Award-winning producers George Miller visibility of various departments within the business.
Country Australia and Doug Mitchell in conjunction with the Omnilab
Industry Media
Media Group in 2008. The Strategy - Implement a cost-
Dr. D Studios has created blockbuster films such as effective software solution to provide
Key Statistics
Happy Feet and other children’s productions such as control and visibility of all assets
ƒƒ1500+ processors/6000 cores in Erky Perky and Larry the Lawnmower. The studio is
Russ Burnett had worked with Service Desk tools
Dr D. Studios’ render farm currently working on producing Happy Feet 2 and Fury
in his previous positions and found the decision to
ƒƒ300TB + usable disk storage Road, the fourth Mad Max film.
implement assyst from Axios Systems very simple,
ƒƒ500+ kW of storage power
stating “the assyst solution, coupled with Axios’
(equivalent to 8333 x 60 watt light At the end of 2009, Dr. D Studios had 15 IT staff, which
bulbs) is set to grow to 35 by mid 2010. The additional services, stand on their own.”
ƒƒOver 10 million AUD in assets staff will be in data operations, data rendering (frame
across multiple facilities construction for animation), as well as 2nd and 3rd line During this process of toolset selection, Mr Burnett
ƒƒAcademy Award Winner - Best support. The staff will accommodate the ramp up of analyzed the products from Altiris (Symantec),
Animated Feature Film of the Year production for both Happy Feet 2 and Fury Road. Frontrange (Heat), LANDesk’s Enterprise Suite, BMC’s
ƒƒTwo major new film releases Remedy product, and ManageEngine’s ServiceDesk
currently in production (over 100 The group currently looks after over 10 million AUD Plus. Following a thorough analysis and rating of
million AUD each) worth of assets, including complex production each solution, Burnett discounted the other products
equipment and technology for animation and filming on the market for a range of reasons including
across multiple facilities. customizations not being held on upgrade, a lack
Key Challenge of ITSM focus (which meant the product not being
functionally rich enough to satisfy Dr. D’s requirements,
ƒƒDevelop a system internally, with The Challenge - Demonstrate the including reporting), implementations looked to be
low external resources required value of the business to Omnilab cumbersome, a lack of adequate local support and
ƒƒSupport a growing business, heavily Group, and the value which IT delivers poor, non-customizable interfaces.
reliant on IT
ƒƒProve the organization’s value to Mr Russ Burnett, Director of Service Delivery for Dr. D assyst from Axios Systems was seen to be a
Omnilab Media Group Studios, required a software solution to manage the fully integrated ITSM solution, which was highly
organization’s procurement, implement services and configurable, without the need to worry about difficult
maintain control of the company’s technology assets. upgrades (due to configurations flowing to the next
Key Strategy version seamlessly). The assyst Process Designer,
Dr. D Studios began as a joint venture between which offers graphical, drag and drop capability
ƒƒImplement a software solution for Kennedy-Miller Mitchell Films and Omnilab Media with views of the processes, made mapping new
control and visibility of various Group in March of 2008. processes simple. Reporting was extensive with the
businesses and their assets
use of Crystal Reports and the report library, and the
Kennedy-Miller Mitchell Films is an Australian film ability to track Service Levels, which was integral to
production company founded in 1973, which created Dr. D Studios requirements, was found to be easily
Key Benefits / Results cinema classics such as Babe, Dead Calm and The implemented. The Axios Systems team in Australia
Witches of Eastwick. Omnilab Media Group is were very responsive to the initial enquiry, providing
ƒƒDecision support capabilities and
Australia’s largest film services company and comprises a clear product overview and a thorough initial
the use of assyst have resulted in
340,000 AUD saving
of 14 media companies under one banner, all servicing demonstration. The staff were also knowledgeable of
various aspects of the industry. the solutions’ full capabilities and the local market.
ƒƒ5% man-hour saving (50,000 AUD
per annum across the workforce)
Dr. D Studios did not have a software solution in
ƒƒModeling and Forecasting
capabilities save 130,000 AUD per place previously to manage their incident logging
annum or IT assets as they were a new studio stemming
ƒƒIncreased visibility of assets and from these production companies, with the IT&E
data platform for shared services being a pilot venture
ƒƒReduction in downtime yielding a at this stage. When the new organization began to
saving of 20,000 AUD per annum pursue an IT Service Management (ITSM) solution,
their main requirements were to have the ability
to track expensive assets and software in multiple
locations, and gain an idea of the true value of
these, plus an increased need for tighter controls
in regards to purchasing and visibility for decision-
making processes. Dr. D Studios also needed to
demonstrate the value they delivered to Omnilab
Media Group through reporting and service
management. Being a new organization, Dr. D had
to prove their worth. Rapidly expanding, it required
05 10 CS Dr D US v1.0
Dr. D Studios

Burnett continues “I feel that Axios’ implementation An estimated reduction in downtime per annum, The Future for Dr. D
services were key – there are other “capable” based upon what the organization expects would
products that often fail to meet customer expectations have been the result without the use of assyst, and Studios
because they can’t get the implementation right or the other supporting technologies, has also yielded a As the Studio grows, the use of assyst
consultants constantly have to come back, draining saving of 20,000 AUD per annum. This is derived is set to expand. Looking forward,
the ROI promises made at the outset.” from overall efficiency gains through utilizing the Dr. D Studios’ use of assyst will also
Process Designer, which links to Changes, and the encompass customizing assystNET
The entire implementation took the organization Impact Explorer, which shows a graphical view of for end-users in various teams and
only 12 weeks to complete. This included all assyst item relationships within assyst. This saving is based departments across the organization.
administration training, workshops, building processes upon an estimated 2 hours per user saved each year, The fields and logos will change
and operator training, as well as the testing and go- which would have been spent manually tracking the depending upon the department or
live of the system in February 2008. Dr. D Studios also impact of the user, or users, being ‘out of action’. Mr team utilizing the system.
chose to implement assystNET, Axios’ web-based self- Burnett claims this is effectively “downtime control”.
service portal, which they considered a ‘must have’ for assyst will also be integrated with the
an organization that was spread across many different Total savings stemming from the modeling and primary technology vendors supplying
locations. All ITIL processes are available out-of-the-box forecasting capabilities within assyst are around Dr. D Studios, for the purpose of
with assyst, giving organizations, such as Dr. D Studios, 130,000 AUD per annum. These gains are primarily carrying through procurement details
the flexibility to implement the relevant processes as, related to cash flow controls, smart purchasing in regards to assets, such as model
and when, required. decisions and limiting liabilities in other areas of the numbers, serial numbers and warranty
business through rapid decision support. details. These assets will then be asset-
Burnett continues, “We considered implementing tagged from purchase and assigned
Incident Management on its own initially, but then The largest return on investment to date has been the correct data, saving valuable time
yielded from single-project decision support inputting these details.
decided to include the launch of Problem and Change
capabilities, utilizing assyst. This involved the
Management concurrently, due to the inherent process-
ability to make tactical and strategic decisions, with The Facilities team will also utilize
linking, and the fact that we were a small team and
the use of well documented reports for budgeting, assyst, with all facilities requests
a young company that was building processes and
planning and progress tracking, asset tracking and being logged via the internal Service
procedures from the ground up.” analysis, and vendor/supplier management. The Desk at Dr. D Studios, creating a
Studio pre-purchased technologies required for ‘one-stop shop’ for users, allowing
The implementation team focused on scenarios that were production of the major films, and leased these to better co-ordination of IT and facility
based upon what they envisaged their IT department the Omnilab Group for a period of 12 months, re- resources and aiding the prioritization
should be capable of doing in the future. They took into purchasing the assets following this exercise at their for additions, moves and changes,
account the swift evolution of the growing organization, depreciated value, with assyst making it possible to thus giving the organization greater
including multiple film productions pending, and the closely manage these expensive assets. visibility of non-IT assets (such as
number of new employees, both in IT and within the
desks, chairs etc).
company in general, that would be coming on board
in early 2010. Why assyst from Axios Systems?
Dr. D Studios therefore foresee further
Mr Burnett says that assyst had appeal due to its savings from the use of assyst as the
Mr Burnett was primarily trained as the company flexibility to accommodate complex business and organization expands, and takes on
administrator for assyst and had full control over the service relationships between Dr. D Studios and further large scale productions in the
process design. The process, he says, was underpinned various production and location film units, clients future.
by general service principles and the vision of Dr. D and suppliers/service providers. assyst also had
Studios, while keeping in mind the production of the scalability to accommodate multiple facilities
Happy Feet 2 and its associated infrastructure and and teams. It was easy to integrate assyst with
staffing plans. Mr Burnett also appointed a primary various systems including automation, deployment,
assyst Administrator to help execute the build, test and monitoring, procurement and accounting.
implementation plans. The system administrator was
also responsible for the hosting platform. “The assyst product and Axios’ implementation
services allowed us to launch an ITSM platform
The 1st and 2nd line IT support staff and the systems that we can fully manage ourselves to adapt
engineering staff were all trained as assyst operators and grow with the business. assyst provides us
in line with the organization’s service principles and with the service management and analytical
overall vision. capabilities we need to demonstrate our value to Axios Systems in Media
the business.”
Benefits – Dancing to a perfect tune Russ Burnett Axios has been providing ITSM
solutions to the media industry
with assyst Director of Service Delivery
for more than 20 years. assyst,
Dr. D Studios is a fully integrated, out-of-the-
Since the assyst software was implemented, Dr. D
Studios has seen some remarkable savings and a rapid box solution, available in on-
premise and SaaS models, which
return on investment. Mr Burnett felt that assyst’s decision support
helps organizations optimize IT
capabilities were supported by well documented DB infrastructure efficiency, reduce
Mr Burnett stated that 78% of incidents are now being schema and Crystal Reports, which was essential for overheads and lower the total cost
logged with the Service Desk via assystNET, which budget planning, progress and asset tracking and of IT ownership. Our main focus
saves the team valuable time and reduces the need for analysis, as well as vendor/supplier management. on helping companies deliver top
employing extra resources for incident logging. Between line value has been particularly
the time of implementation and June 2009, a period of Burnett concludes, “The ability to use internal well demonstrated in the media
18 months, the studio estimated a 5% man-hour saving resources to continually adapt the product as and communications sector with
through increased efficiency and productivity, resulting customers including Swisscom, Gulf
our needs change was vital for this continually
in a saving of approximately 50,000 AUD per annum. News, and Verlagsgruppe Weltbild,
evolving business.” among others.