Business drives technology today
Date: Friday , July 01, 2011
Technology and the evolving media industry
Media consumption is moving very quickly from print to digital. Customers consume media more online and on mobile devices than in print. The print circulations today are coming down considerably. We continue to see this move towards consumption of content online and on mobile devices amongst our customer base. We believe that this transition or the trend is permanent and we do not expect it to shift back to print in any significant way. It is very clear that this is the way the customer wants to consume the content we produce.
Key driver for the digital age
Digital media is undergoing a revolution today. Control of what the customer reads is moving away from the publisher to the customers. Customers today want to select the information they read by highlighting their interests, and are no longer happy getting one general package. Earlier, in the print world, most of the content was directed or tailored to some extent to where someone lived, so that everyone who lived in the same neighborhood got the same newspaper. The internet has given the consumer more choice over the content. People have got used to that kind of control and are looking to further tailor the content and shape it as per their interests. This is the primary driver for customers gravitating towards online medium.
Three technology trends shaping up the IT industry
A major trend I see is in the services provided from the cloud, which is scaling up most of the technology services and products to a level where a broad range of businesses can get access to the same technologies that were previously limited to some large companies. Technologies are getting commoditized. Infrastructure is scaling up to some very large levels. This allows very interesting businesses to be built, with the level of resources which were not available to startups a decade ago. Technology getting consumerized and commoditized and being delivered at a global scale and with a broad level of services is clearly changing how businesses operate and leverage technology.
Another major change is increased social collaboration. People are able to communicate and collaborate at a global level using technologies that then help drive innovation.
Lastly, it is the data. The amount of data that is being generated is huge and the insights that can be produced from this information significant. Transforming, identifying and then creating and translating data into knowledge that can be applied to create new offerings or new products is changing how new businesses are being created and scaled.
Challenges of a CIO
I believe that the biggest challenge for a CIO today is agility. The cycle of business is extremely fast, the lifecycle of products is becoming shorter. Hence, faster innovation has become extremely important. With technology being at the center of supporting most of the new product innovations and ideas; helping business leverage technology for efficient delivery of products and seize revenue opportunity for new products around the globe is a challenge for a CIO. Also with evolution of different technologies and business practices, CIOs are getting bombarded with requests from different parts of the organization for change or for new product. As a CIO if our infrastructure and our applications are not agile and if we are unable to support new ideas business wants to try or existing ones they wish change or scale, then we might miss on a lot of opportunity.
Enterprise 2.0: redefining the workplace
Today, we are moving from a physical work space to a more virtual workforce. This has created a significant challenge in terms of how people collaborate, find each other and more. A lot of innovation occurs when people interact or brainstorm or collaborate with each other. So, the need for enterprise 2.0 is becoming more and more significant in our businesses.
We are creating an online workplace where people can come together, collaborate and share information. A lot of communication occurs on this platform. The goal there is to create a true online work place where everyone would come in everyday and find people who they could collaborate with, find people who share their interests, who they can communicate with and work within an online environment. It also enables global collaboration, which is integral to an organization that has a global foot print and ambitions. It is essential to nurture a platform where employees from various locations or backgrounds can come together on projects to innovate and develop new products and provide services.
Expectations from a CIO
Technology now must add value at a business level and not just as a service provider. My team is collaborating with business actively and the technology team is truly getting integrated and dispersed within the business. The business folks are looking for tools which can give them higher control on the business model and be able to transform the businesses with minimal dependence on large technology projects. The size of technology projects is getting smaller, forcing our teams to deliver much higher volumes of products and solutions in much shorter periods of time. The days of 1-2 year long projects to deploy complex technology solutions are fast fading. People are unwilling to wait for two years to get a new key technology solution. They want quicker turnaround and business folks have become much more comfortable with adopting technology quickly.
So, as technologists, our job is not just to focus on technology but also to focus on delivery of revenue and growth.
Yuvi Kochar is the corporate CTO, of Washington Post and collaborates with the major divisions of The Washington Post Company in the areas of technology strategy, architecture and Shared Information Technology Services. Under his leadership, Shared IT Services has rapidly expanded to support key HR, Benefits, Payroll, Procurement, Compliance, Identity Management, Security and Privacy processes across all divisions. The team also supports the corporate Intranet and is innovating in the areas Enterprise 2.0, collaboration and flexible architectures, enabling rapid deployment of new solutions to respond to the fast-evolving requirements of the Company’s business units.
Prior to joining The Washington Post Company, Kochar was the CTO at BrassRing (now Kenexa), a leading SAAS solution for Talent Management. Kochar graduated in electrical engineering (honors), from University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India.
An ardent follower of latest technology, Kochar puts his views on technology and much more on his personal technology blog http://yuviontech.blogspot.com.