Keith Little has been CIO at the BBC since October, following six months as acting CIO in a hand-over period before CTO John Varney left the organisation. In that time the corporation has been concentrating on bedding down its outsourcing relationship with Siemens, while it prepares to focus on director general Mark Thompson’s Creative Futures vision as the BBC prepares to turn off analogue broadcasting and make the most of the multi-platform world.

“We have been putting the platform in place for the new broadcasting world,” says Little. “This involved underpinning the technology bedrock over the last year so that we can concentrate on realising the BBC’s business strategy.”

IT will support the move from the analogue broadcast world to digital and on demand IP. This will involve everything from digitising archives, to value chains and commissioning, which now includes not only TV programmes, but also websites, interactive content and communications. “There is a systems perspective in all of this,” says Little.

The corporation has outsourced the business process and back office functions like HR and Finance and the priority has been to align its IT strategy with the business. “It has meant working very closely with the business, especially as we are at the beginning of a new licensing period. This sort of groundwork has included infrastructure investments in areas like high bandwidth networks, enterprise services, server consolidation and BPO,” Little comments.

The BBC is half way through its VoIP rollout and is working on the enterprise storage space, but the next 12 months will be about starting delivery of services. “From an IT sense most of the enabling platform is complete,” Little says. “Now we will be putting the transformation layer on top of the infrastructure. There are major technology issues ahead like the analogue switch off, which begins this year and lasts until 2012.”
He adds: “There are some big pieces of work still to do and although lots of the infrastructure is ready, we now want to enable it and keep the running costs as low as possible.”

“We have been putting the platform in place for the new broadcasting world”
– Keith Little, CIO, BBC