Among the primary benefits of automation is that it allows you to do more with less — less money, less time, less tools and learning, less employees — you get the idea.
For example, the XBIZ Award-winning Elevated X CMS (ElevatedX.com) goes beyond the capabilities of competitive content management systems to deliver a range of innovative features — recently culminating in the addition of basic video editing tools.
The goal of streamlining is to use software to achieve the maximum level of automation and still maintain a quality level equal to that of a site that a human being is updating multiple times per day or week. -AJ Hall, Elevated X
Company CEO AJ Hall says that Elevated X’s new features are a clear indicator of the direction this software product is taking.
“We’re excited to continue the technological push we began back in 2006,” Hall said. “We intend to see that our customers benefit from our commitment to making ongoing improvements to the Elevated X CMS for years to come.”
According to the company, the new video editing features allow content producers and paysite owners to cut clips and create high-end trailers from within their Elevated X admin panel. Users are able to set an unlimited number of “in” and “out” cut points while watching a video — and then automatically create an edited version of the clip, complete with fade-in transitions.
The CMS will also add these clips to a site’s tour, once a file has been created.
“A paysite owner can cut a custom, professional looking video trailer and have it automatically show up on their tour with less than five minutes work,” Hall states. “Users can also specify a pre- and post-roll video file to be automatically added to their trailers.”
Hall explains that files can be used to append 2257 notices, video ads, watermarks or other branding, or anything a producer or site owner wants viewers of their videos to see.
Elevated-X’s new functions tie into the software’s optional video encoding add-on, which allows users to automatically transcode videos, converting these files into multiple video formats and is now available as a free upgrade for video encoding add-on owners.
It’s a great tool, but this isn’t a commercial for Elevated X, it’s an example of today’s technology reshaping adult website workflows and work forces.
In this specific example, the ease of editing may chop one more person’s position from the workflow: with one piece of software eliminating the need for content wranglers and webmasters, video editors and administrators. Your mileage may vary but the bottom line is that automation reduces workforces — and while there is nothing revolutionary in this, it is not usually an opportunity (or a problem, depending upon personal perspective) associated with adult entertainment operators — but it’s one to consider as you develop and grow your business plans.
It’s a tradeoff between nimbleness and responsibility; and between money and time.
In the first instance, the power to do everything yourself, at the push of a button, is a real advantage at times because “if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.” This ability to respond in real time to directional shifts and new ideas offers nimbleness in the extreme — but at the cost of total responsibility for a project’s success or failure, when there’s nobody you can call on for help.
For example, an integrated toolset that allows you to “do everything” is handy, but an operator attracted to such a solution may have no other team members capable of using it — the downside of a small shop in an industry that favors size. This makes one person solely responsible. While the right person will take a sense of ownership and master these tools and use them to their full potential, the flipside may be a predictable look that can grow stale after awhile. Delivering consistency is good but variety has a power of its own — the best restaurants always have several chefs to rely upon.
Of course, the “Swiss Army Knife” approach to website administration is the benefit of comprehensive webmastering tools — and having the ability, for example, of pulling and posting video trailers with a few extra clicks while uploading content updates, is just the type of feature to make busy webmasters rejoice; and if you are a one-man band, this type of editing capability can be a lifesaver that really boosts profits.
If you pay someone else to use your tools, staff permanence becomes another factor.
As software super-suites grow in capability and complexity, they can actually become more specialized, even as they perform a wider array of functions — with fewer qualified personnel available to maximize their use. This equates to time and money spent training staff members, which you must then retain — or be forced to repeat this training process.
On the bright side, many CMS and other software are accessible to multiple operators via an online admin enabling access by remote workers and providing more staff choices.
Fortunately, automated systems also tend to allow scripting and scheduling, so even a solo operator can take a day off now and again (or be covered in event of emergency or sudden staff changes), by posting content well in advance and specifying its display date.
For many folks, the cost effectiveness, flexibility and power of integrated, automated solutions for day-to-day website administration will outweigh staffing concerns and offer a more streamlined path, with fewer software and services expenditures; which speeds up workflows and reduces workforce overhead — making smaller shops more competitive, while at the same time enabling bigger brands to explore more options and opportunities.
“There’s a difference between wanting to save time out of laziness and streamlining workflow,” Hall told XBIZ. “The goal of streamlining is to use software to achieve the maximum level of automation and still maintain a quality level equal to that of a site that a human being is updating multiple times per day or week.”
Hall says that his desired result is for there to be no downside to automation.
“A lot of site owners get caught up with specific features or freak out about losing control over certain aspects of a site that are important to them,” Hall explains. “It’s not always about what features a site has, but how those features work and how they work together with other features to make a site make more sales and retain customers better.”
Elevated X is careful not to take control away from site operators, so that they have a choice over how much automation they want.
“Many times people are quite pleasantly surprised by how much they can automate and how much time they can save without sacrificing quality,” Hall concluded. “Often it’s only the site owner who is concerned — the customers don’t notice any difference between something that’s been manually processed and something that was automated.”