Grass Valley CEO Louis Hernandez Says AMPP Sales Are Up 300% as Software-Centric Model Advances

Agile Media Processing Platform is at the core of the company’s strategy

Louis Hernandez, founder/CEO of Black Dragon Capital, has taken over as active CEO of Grass Valley as former CEO Andrew Cross steps into an advisory role and the company emphasizes its transformation into a software-centric business.

“We’re basically accelerating this software-centric model with Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP) as the centerpiece,” says Hernandez. “We’re tying in all our hardware to AMPP, and we’re trying to simplify and break down all the silos that we had inherited from all the mergers and acquisitions.”

Grass Valley CEO Louis Hernandez: “AMPP allows a simpler, leaner organizational structure focused on customer success.”

He notes that Grass Valley’s continued evolution of the AMPP cloud-native platform is the focus but that Grass Valley is not getting rid of products and is instead transitioning products, which are no longer siloed from top to bottom but instead share AMPP as the core foundation.

“That introduces efficiencies,” Hernandez says, “and then the top layers get simpler because you need only the application knowledge. The UX is also standardized in our world. It’s no different than what iOS is for Apple.”

When asked about the future of hardware products, Hernandez confirms that the company will continue to support existing hardware lines where demand remains strong, but he acknowledges that more of the manufacturing may be done by third parties: “We will increasingly focus on our core competencies of design and delivery of integrated hardware solutions into our software-centric suite with AMPP as the foundation. That means that we may increase our hardware (integrated solutions) offerings but may have more of the manufacturing done by others [with branding and servicing] by Grass Valley. This allows the ultimate flexibility for our clients to decide when and how they transition to digital offerings.”

Customer support is also getting streamlined so that there will be more unified global support and R&D can be shifted where cost savings are possible.

“We wanted to use the global footprint of Grass Valley and its partners to simplify and strengthen our service levels,” says Neil Maycock, SVP, strategic marketing, Grass Valley Group. “As we shift to a more software-centric model, we are organizing around a central AMPP platform and integrating our delivery model to take advantage of the powerful, more agile, and lower-cost benefits that AMPP provides. It’s a very exciting time, and we are working closely with our customers to minimize the impact on their day-to-day service levels.”

Hernandez says that Cross helped create the strategy for the changes but felt that he was best-suited as a forward-thinking strategic advisor and asked Hernandez to lead the final phase of the transformation. He also emphasizes that the Grass Valley Leadership Counsel (GvX), chaired by Sinclair President, Technology, Del Parks and representing some of the largest media companies, has been involved in shaping the strategy.

“Del and the rest of the leaders of many of our largest clients have been instrumental in guiding our strategy,” says Hernandez. “I’m excited to work more closely with them.”

Supply-chain issues have affected Grass Valley, but, according to Hernandez, bookings are ahead of expectations, despite the supply-chain issues and delivery backlog: “AMPP sales will be up around 300%.”

The latest development is an on-premises version of AMPP, which Hernandez says is still cloud-native but easier to scale and deploy.

“You can deploy it on-prem or as pure public-cloud or any combination,” he explains. “It allows a simpler, leaner organizational structure focused on customer success as we also work more closely with resellers and system integrators.”

For Hernandez, a key focus will be getting the company ready for key customer decision-making around cloud-based strategies. Many of clients have begun that journey, but he wants Grass Valley to be able to meet any need, whether for on-premises services, cloud only, or a hybrid.

Grass Valley also named Tim Banks CRO and Marek Kielczewski as CTO. Kielczewski has more than 20 years of industry experience, running engineering organizations in the broadcast and media/entertainment segments. Prior to joining Grass Valley, he co-founded TVCoins, a streaming-media business, and, before that, was CTO of SeaChange, leading the consolidation and transformation of the global R&D organization.

“He’s got a very strong background that aligns with our product strategy,” says Maycock. “We’ve got some nice new talent on the management team.”

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