CIO Update Q&A with Scripps Networks

Where are you finding your biggest cost-savings these days?

The biggest opportunity for cost savings is with the automated procedures and work flows that we are implementing for the business that eliminate manual labor and provide better controls to manage the business.

For most of our major areas we are in the process of implementing the applications and services (including key MAM components of digital asset management, scheduling, transcoding, distribution, etc.) that provide the infrastructure for implementation of these improvements.

We will start to see pay back from these investments later this year and next as we phase in re-engineered business processes across this infrastructure. Earlier this year we implemented Anystream’s Agility transcoding product realizing pay back in less than six months as we automated post production procedures for editing, screening and creation of broadband videos and for creation of promotions for distribution to our affiliates.

If you could change anything(s) about IT today, what would it be (the “magic wand” question)?

I would like IT to be able to respond as quickly as our business identifies new opportunities. I would like to see our users have tools and infrastructure in place to create new work flows and revenue streams with little or no development required by IT.

Is this SOA? Or a combination of new and old technologies and/or processes?

I wish we were there today with our current legacy environment. SOA is definitely an enabler.

What are the three biggest challenges you (and/or the IT industry) face today?

  • Be strategic partners with the business and bring innovation to the business in addition to responding to business needs;
  • Grow, recruit, retain staff that understand the business and are able to add value beyond pure IT technical functions; and
  • Implement a SOA enterprise-wide that reduces the complexity of the IT infrastructure, reduces TCO, speeds time to delivery/market. This (SOA) is a major paradigm shift for the IT industry that is coming on like a freight train.

    I hope we grow into the first two over time and the third will most likely be an ever-changing target as technology, tools and methodologies continually evolve.

    What role does outsourcing/offshoring play in your staffing picture?

    We are using outsourcing and offshore to perform non-recurring engineering functions, support of legacy applications while we move our staff to new opportunities and for short term solutions to business opportunities that are necessary for time to market.

    What about help desk, customer service, back office, other BPO functions, etc.?

    We have not outsourced any significant business functions to date. With SOA and the evolution of Web 2.0 I believe this will change. We are certainly open to it. The biggest opportunity will most likely come with our emerging business opportunities.

    Excluding advancements to industry specific software, what are the most important new technologies of the last few years? (VoIP, IM, blades, utility computing, grid computing, RFID, etc.)

    Cost effective storage has been huge as we are looking at digitizing our library of content that exceeds 30,000 hours and is growing daily. For our business, broadband has brought a whole new world of opportunities to our doorstep.


    Is Nicholas Carr right? “IT Doesn’t Matter.”

    In the media-entertainment world, IT has never been more important as content companies look to maximize the creative value of their programming, assets and brands to grow their businesses by exploiting new business opportunities, services, consumer platforms and distribution channels.

    An IT media asset management technology infrastructure that facilitates collaboration and sharing of media assets through internal work flows and with external partners is critical to this growth.

    I don’t think Carr is off-base. I agree that IT technology and standard applications are becoming a commodity. I do not think he is considering the full scope of IT when he makes this statement.