Jon Hathaway

Jon Hathaway

Keeping an Entertainment Industry Payment Software on the Same Page

Film, theater, music and television are great because, if only for a moment, they give people a reprieve from the ordinary. But the talented artists who produce these works are just that: people. Behind the scenes, they have to get paid. In these industries, there’s a complex web of residual payments—Blu-ray sales, syndication, use in commercials, you name it—that needs to be accounted for, from the performers to the writers and everyone in between.

Exactuals co-founders Mike Hurst (CEO) and Jason Hiller (CTO) have flipped the script on that complicated process. Having worked extensively with the major studios and guilds in the industry, in their former roles at a Fortune 500 software company, they’ve conducted thorough analysis on the industry’s payment pain points.

Between the reporting, processing, and actual payment of residuals, says Jason, “There can be a lot of individual payments that are being processed. It is not uncommon at all for a lot of the payments to actually cost more to process than they’re even worth.”

That’s where Exactuals’ software, PaymentHub, comes in. PaymentHub helps companies distribute residuals, royalties and marketplace payments across the media and entertainment industries and a variety of others, too, helping them minimize excessive manpower and saving them time and money.

Born four years ago from the same incubator that birthed Facebook and Uber, Exactuals has grown exponentially, and PaymentHub is quickly landing lead roles in a variety of companies’ Payables departments.

An ambitious script requires talented players

Knowing that the future of banking software would be based in the cloud, Mike and Jason deployed their business on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to fulfill the on-demand capabilities and scaling needs their business plan called for. They first recognized the need for a DevOps makeover with their deployment pipeline. They’d created a stand-out application and AWS set design, and needed to shift their focus to deploying it reliably, quickly and painlessly.

Because they had ambitious plans for integrating a wide range of AWS services into their model, like serverless computing with Lambda, data warehousing with Redshift, and relational databases on Aurora, they knew their interface had to be versatile—configurable and extensible. Aside from the special effects, Exactuals also needed to rewrite their DevOps transformation strategy companywide.

Exactuals needed an experienced partner to help them execute their DevOps vision, so Exactuals could focus on the complexities of their core business. Naturally, they chose HATech.

Delivering values on the fly

AWS recommended HATech to Exactuals given HATech’s Cloud and DevOps expertise, and the chemistry was evident from the very first scene. HATech scoped out an initial ten-day POC engagement in which they would:

  • Redesign the deployment pipeline using Jenkins & CloudFormation
  • Stand up the first release in AWS after five days with a mere 30-second upgrade timeframe
  • Deploy 28 services automatically from a single click using HATech’s own pipeline patterns

In the course of the ten-day POC, HATech accomplished all of this and more. Through their leadership workshops, joint sprint planning, daily standups and shared issue management, HATech and Exactuals worked together as a unified, in-sync team to deliver the capabilities of a complex AWS full-stack environment via a one-click automated pipeline.

Exactuals had their script prepared—a picture diagram of what they envisioned for their AWS layout. “We had the architecture,” said Jason, “But we needed to make it a reality.”

HATech added some stage directions, assisting in formulating a strategy to implement their plan and create a flexible infrastructure not just for application deployment, but also the infrastructure below.

Honing the devops craft together

In just a few months, Exactuals has revolutionized their cloud development and operations, but even the very best don’t memorize all their lines overnight. HATech has been so successful with Exactuals because of their stepped-in approach across the entire DevOps discipline. Each step introduces new improvements towards the next phase, whether it’s focused on internal processes like deployment automation, or introducing an advanced new infrastructure orchestration tool like Terraform into the pipeline. Improvements are deliberately gradual, tailored to Exactuals’ capacity to adopt, without impacting their current needs.

At the heart of their philosophy, HATech believes DevOps greatness is something to continue to strive toward, so for their part, they will ensure that Exactuals keeps moving in the right direction.

With this in mind, the partnership between HATech and Exactuals continues, with HATech practicing what they preach and collaborating transparently. Exactuals benefits from our ongoing innovations across HATech’s entire ecosystem of customer-partners, where they are constantly challenged to adopt new technologies and create new patterns.

In Exactuals’ starring role, HATech is a world-class supporter: They focus on the evolution of Exactuals’ pipeline, leaving Exactuals to focus on creating better software and payment services—in turn delivering greater value to their business.

Given the partnership HATech and Exactuals have formed, it’s safe to say that this story’s far from the end of the script.

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