Several months into lockdown, there was a definite shift in how media organisations looked to technology to help them.
From media houses to creative agencies, creativity is key in the fast-moving media sector. Sitting round a table to brainstorm a new ad campaign, wallpapering the meeting room with post-it-notes and storyboarding your ideas on a whiteboard is just everyday life in a media organisation.
But what happens when a pandemic strikes?
Until recently, homeworking in this sector was negligible. It wasn’t because people didn’t want to do it; it’s more because in creative industries, the norm is to travel (sometimes long distances), meet face-to-face or sit in front of big, industrial-strength video conferencing platforms. Whatever is needed to be together, bounce ideas around and get things done.
Media organisations also tend to be very fragmented due to multiple mergers and divestitures. The result is that they often have local IT functions with local budgets keeping local management happy with their IT spend. This impacts on their ability to integrate and standardise.
And this is exacerbated further when shadow IT creeps in – people signing up for ‘free’ online services or paying for it using their credit card. End users’ technology expectations are greater than ever, and if they don’t have the tools they want at their fingertips, they’ll find a way to make it possible. While this can work on a local level, it’s not sustainable or productive when you need to deliver a single common experience to bring a national/global workforce together.
So, while many media organisations were taking part in collaboration technology trials and running proof-of-concepts, the sheer nature and structure of their businesses made it very challenging to progress and scale.
Fast-forward to 2020 and things changed. Media organisations had to react, fast. They had to mobilise predominantly office-based employees with very little homeworking experience to be just as productive at home as they are in the office.
What does the future hold?
At the start of the pandemic, technology was at the forefront of how media organisations – just like every other business – coped and kept running. Then, several weeks into lockdown, we saw a definite shift in how organisations looked to technology to help them. They now wanted to explore how they could make things fit for purpose, as well as simplify their business and their go-to-market strategy.
No one’s 100% sure what meeting rooms of the future will look like – big boardroom, smaller huddle rooms or something in between. What’s clear is the benefit media organisations have seen from homeworking over the last three months – the multi-million-dollar pitches are still taking place – and being won. This means they’re not feeling pressured into returning to the office until they feel comfortable and safe to do so.
Meeting challenges head on
Media firms want to benefit from digital workplace transformation, but they don’t want to disrupt creativity. This calls for simpler solutions – ones that let employees collaborate internally and externally, at scale and at speed, regardless of location. And increasing business agility will help these organisations respond quicker to new opportunities, and improved knowledge-sharing will help boost creativity too.
Addressing these things will require an integrated approach to transformation, which means that multiple technologies, legacy systems, and varied infrastructure can be migrated to create a single, seamless, secure global ecosystem that optimises the entire creativity cycle.
Media organisations should therefore look to partner with a reputable ICT provider that can help them connect smoothly and securely to collaboration applications, and any third-party platforms they may be considering for big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital logistics. Additionally, a chosen ICT partner should also use all the knowledge and expertise they’ve gained from protecting its own network and corporate assets to help the media organisation secure their organisation, employees and customers.
Boosting adoption across the business
One of the major keys to success is proactively making sure the business’ people make the most of collaboration and digital services.
Research shows that many employees already have 6-8 collaboration tools – yet businesses fail to see the promised productivity gains. Focus needs to be placed on making sure that employees understand the benefits of using these tools, as it is often only once users see how much these tools can improve efficiency, they’re very quick to embrace them. Delivering a great end user experience is key to uptake and success of any tool or platform – and helps prove the value from the investment.
By using an adoption management approach that focuses on a persona methodology ensures that each member of the workforce gets the tools they need to be as productive as possible. And the training they need to use them effectively, regardless of previous experience.
Creating a compelling business case
Additionally, media organisations should look to partner with an ICT provider that can offer innovative commercial models that enables them to better manage their costs and scale as needed.
For example, a single global price per user allows the organisation to predict costs, which can be flexed up and down on users, so the organisation only pays for what is used. This means the organisation can realise and demonstrate a quicker return on investment and assess the effect of collaboration on throughput and innovation to build a stronger business case for future transformation.
The real value comes from your end user experience
Collaboration across the entire organisation will reap the rewards of digital transformation: increased productivity, reduced costs, greater operational agility and more effective use of resources. And, with the right ICT partner that is able to deliver solutions that support rapid adoption, a fantastic user experience and rapid returns, media organisations could be demonstrating the value and saving money up to 80% faster.
Ian Newton is global account director at BT.
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