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Case study

Shopify decentralizes creative workflows and secures global video production on LucidLink

The company

Shopify is a leading provider of essential internet infrastructure for e-commerce, offering trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size. The Shopify platform offers online retailers services, including payments, marketing, shipping, and customer engagement tools. Founded in Ottawa, Shopify powers millions of businesses in more than 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Allbirds, Gymshark, Heinz, Tupperware, FTD, Netflix, FIGS, and many more. 

Shopify’s creative powerhouse

To maintain the quality of its leading e-commerce brand, Shopify has built an internal creative team handling marketing communications. Most of the content they produce is centered around video. “We are not a creative agency, but we have the in-house skills to film and produce video content addressing an array of communications needs of our staff and clients,” shares Kevin Luttman, Content Management Lead, Shopify. “Our content ranges from corporate messages and executive talks to training and guides on new features.”

IT is the backbone of their media production pipeline, connecting dozens of creatives across multiple teams. They are primarily based in North America but regularly collaborate with people all over the world.

The challenge of adapting to remote work

Like many other businesses, Covid-19 completely disrupted the established ways of working at Shopify. “Before the pandemic, most company investments were concentrated on the office, and all of our servers were installed on site,” says Luttman. “There was no need for Shopify to build infrastructure supporting remote video work – no one was asking for it.”

“The pandemic flipped our strategy on its head virtually overnight. We had to find a way to continue working but in an entirely decentralized fashion,” adds Luttman.

Shopify faced the seemingly impossible challenge of having multiple distributed editors working on the same project — simultaneously.  

The company needed a robust, secure solution to connect its creative teams collaborating on shared data-rich assets. “Neither Dropbox nor WeTransfer are approved solutions at Shopify. The last thing we wanted to do was to equip our people with RAID systems or massive local storage. Not only would that be a security risk, but also administering and maintaining distributed hardware was not something we were set up to do,”  Luttman explains.

Enter LucidLink

Shopify’s creative team first heard about LucidLink during conversations with Adobe. “We were discussing whether Adobe Productions and our primary editing tool, Premiere Pro, would work better using a VPN or sharing a central SAN over the Internet,” Luttman recalls. LucidLink was recommended to Shopify as the only officially sanctioned solution for use with Productions over the Internet.

“We ran LucidLink through internal validation tests using Adobe Productions and almost couldn’t believe it at first. What initially struck us was how easy it was for creatives to use Filespaces.  Sharing files was intuitive and rapid. The response from employees was equally enthusiastic.”

Shopify was able to immediately onboard 100 members of their marketing communications team and now has more than 120 people collaborating on LucidLink every day. These include teams of editors, producers, directors of photography (DoPs), production staff, and heads of departments who require visibility over multiple projects. “Everyone can access media assets far more quickly than before, and team collaboration is enabled from anywhere,” says Luttman.

Efficiency supercharged

The most significant benefit of LucidLink was the amount of time it saved Shopify. Conventionally, if you’re collaborating remotely, you would go through the laborious process of uploading, downloading, and relinking every single file,” Luttman points out.

LucidLink acts like a local drive, but the data is actually situated in the cloud and accessed on-demand instantly. This means huge time efficiency savings on every aspect of your workflow.
Kevin LuttmanContent Management Lead, Shopify

It meant that one of  Shopify’s creatives could finish up their work on a file or project and save it in Premiere. Immediately, another creative, across the other side of the world, could access it and begin editing.

Shopify didn’t have to quantify the costs as the results in speed and efficiency were clear. “If you are looking for a tool that lets creatives just be creative, then LucidLink is the way to go. Using LucidLink is a no-brainer,” insists Luttman. Everyone wants technology to be invisible and simply work in the background. “Technology shouldn’t require any complicated setup or complex training. It should just work – and LucidLink does just that. Try it! It will forever change how you work remotely,” Kevin Luttman, Shopify.

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