Scaling a network usually means scaling the effort needed to keep it running - so what will you need from your software to ensure each team member can play their part without getting tangled up in stuff outside their lane?
Scaling the Network & Sharing the Load
As your ongoing network operation is strategized, one critical aspect of a roll-out plan is to consider the network management structure. For smaller networks, this management structure may amount to a single renaissance man/woman doing everything. As a network grows however, this can quickly become unsustainable (even for the most talented individuals). Therefore, roles and specialties need to be divided and created. As these roles and teams are created, control over your feature access within the software will provide critical safety measures to ensure network security and operational efficiency. The challenge is considering these needs before landing on a software provider (when it's too late).
If you’re a one-man/woman operation with a small network - and plan to stay that way, this user permission feature is unnecessary.
If you plan to grow your network however, user permission levels are well worth consideration since several software only offer very basic options - many offer none at all.
Default User Profiles
More robust software providers will offer default permission types such as administrator, creator, network manager and publisher.
Here is a general overview of typical default user profiles and their access:
Administrator - This person has access to every feature and is responsible for all aspects of the network’s software management - including managing the account/user permissions of all other users.
Creators - Typically graphic designers and possibly front-end developers who concept, design, build out and add content to the content library.
General Managers - This user type is usually a co-owner of the company that can/should have access to do everything within the software less the ability to add/manage/delete users and their permissions which is reserved for the Administrator.
Network Managers - Typically involved with day-to-day operations of player management, player support/upkeep and content maintenance.
Publishers - Determine when and where a playlist is scheduled. They will have the ability to upload content assets and drive the right message to the correct display at the right time.
Local Publishers - Determine when and where a playlist is scheduled for their particular group of players. These users may even be limited to only control certain parts of the playlist timeline or zones.
Viewers - These users won’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of the network but will have access to view the account to collect information regarding play-logs, hardware statuses, content and playlist schedules for reporting purposes.
Configurable User Profiles
These general user types are certainly helpful but my favorite execution of user permissions is where all access is configurable from user to user. For example, here is a list of access categories along with their configuration options, where an Administrator would be able to enable or disable each available option:
Can edit domains and users
Content approval required
It is easy to see how the second implementation provides the most control and flexibility. Default permissions are helpful, but complete customization of access to certain features is even better. Weigh your specific needs, plan for your future network from the start, and you’ll be set up to make a great selection on your software.
What approach does your software take in setting up users on your network? How has it helped or hindered regular network management? We'd love to hear about it - tweet or email us to share!