A major reorganisation of the IT divisions at Daily Mail publishers DMGT has helped push the publishing company towards a profitable 2009.
The technology services reorganisation was completed in April 2009, with new CIO David Henderson (pictured) taking control of IT and back office systems of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers, Metro and London Lite freesheets, The Independent and a range of local newspapers and business-to-business titles.
The move, deemed "decisive action" by chief executive Martin Morgan and expected to help make up a £100m fall in advertising revenue, effectively brought together the IT departments of three companies - national newspaper publisher Associated Newspapers, regional newspaper group Northcliffe Media and the Independent Group.
Henderson, formerly IT director of the Northcliffe group, was chosen to head the new division, dubbed A&N Media IT Services, while former Associated CIO Ian Cohen left the company afer three years when the merger was announced in October 2008 . Cohen had led a successful relaunch of the Daily Mail's website before his departure.
By serving the IT needs of a rival newspaper in the form of The Independent, A&N effectively became a service provider, something that Henderson says posed the biggest challenge of the reorganisation.
"The biggest challenge has been that we have 300 people who have not had to write service level agreements (SLAs) and we have had to become very customer-facing," he says.
Henderson is operating on a budget 15 per cent lower than that of previous years, but he was continuing with hiring experts in business relationships, and the management was continuing to invest in the new IT infrastructure.
"We are doing less projects in terms of new developments, but more projects towards merging systems, so for example there is now one CRM system rather than three. We will have a single view of the truth, which saves millions and time because there is a single architecture on single standards."
The tabloid Daily Mail from DMGT upset Facebook after incorrectly naming the site in an article on sexual stalking on the Internet.
In an article headlined ‘I posed as a girl of 14 on Facebook. What followed will sicken you', a journalist with the paper described how he had used social networking to pose as a 14- year-old girl, attracting immediate interest from male users looking for sex.