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Putting the team at the heart of smooth technology transformation

Edward Qualtrough | Sept. 26, 2017
Global Radio Director of Technology and Operations, David Henderson, says team ready for any challenge following upskilling and transformation initiative.

Global Radio's David Henderson at the 2016 CIO Summit
David Henderson, Global Radio Director of Technology and Operations. Photo via CIO UK. 

Global Radio Director of Technology and Operations, David Henderson, told CIO UK he believes his team can deal with any problems the business throws in its direction when he described the media company's technology and digital transformation initiatives.

Henderson, who joined the broadcaster behind brands Classic FM, Capital, LBC, Heart, Smooth and Radio X in November 2014, is part of the executive leadership team at Global. The former technology chief at Daily Mail & General Trust arrived at Global as the organisation was hoping to diversify its business and revenue streams.

"We are in the third year of this transformation which came out as a result of doing lots of acquisitions of local radio stations," Henderson said. "At the same time we were launching a whole bunch of digital products for an audience that was getting used to streaming."

While digital disruption was impacting its core business, Global was also moving into live events and festivals but needed a technology refresh to empower its staff to develop the company's crown jewels - its brands and audiences.

"You've got these things going on at once and a fragmented and ageing IT infrastructure that needed replacement," Henderson said. "The transformation was all around mobile first, cloud first - giving 'Globalers' the tools that they need and giving the brands that we have the best products.

"For that transformation we've refreshed our buildings and studios, replaced most of the applications so that now they're all hosted in the cloud. Our broadcast studios are as good as any studios in the world."

Henderson said that Global was using a third less applications than it was three years ago, and had also reduced its physical IT infrastructure by a third with the organisation able to drastically improve reliability and reduce dreaded broadcast outages.

"By reducing complexity and reducing fragmentation, it's allowed us to focus on reliability," he said. "The less ageing applications you've got, the less crippling infrastructure you've got, the less complexity you've got which helps improve reliability."

 

Upskilling

Henderson said that his technology team at Global had been "at the heart of the change". Staff had upskilled and skills sets had been broadened, with much of it self-led learning, Henderson said. The result is a confident technology and IT unit that is trusted by the rest of the organisation.

"In general the team are just a lot more capable; the execution is outstanding," Henderson said. "This transformation has been pretty much on time, on budget. We've done everything we said we would and now our business trusts we can do that."

 

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