In broadcast media – television, 24-hour news, major movies, online and even theme parks – in each of these media sectors NBC Universal is a major player on a global scale.
“We are the US version of the BBC and have a history that goes back to the RKO studios of the initial days of movie making, which means we have a big archive, in fact the biggest news archive in the world. Today CNBC news is in almost every hotel room in the world,” says CIO Andrew Jordan.
The London office is responsible for NBC Universal output in Canada and South America as well as the rest of the world.
IT leader: Andrew Jordan, SVP International Technology & Operations.
In role since: May 2012.
Reporting line: Jordan has dual reporting lines; to the president of the International Business and to the President of Operations and Technology Services John Wallis.
Board level seat: International Board and the global operations board.
IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 60 offices around the world in 34 countries.
Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: 100%.
IT staff currently employed: 200 permanent staff.
IT management team and reporting structure: Structured with heads across main disciplines: Desktop, Datacentre, Network, Programme Office. Kevin Holian, our CIO, reports to me.
Primary technology platforms at the organisation: From a back office perspective, SAP is a cornerstone across both finance and HR. We use Exchange 2010 for email and Office 2010 on the desktop. Outside of that, there is a substantial investment in industry-specific technology using platforms such as Avid for media editing and Snell for TV play out. Unlike many organisations, we do very little by way of software engineering since most of our solutions are integrations of third party platforms. We use Jive for enterprise social and collaboration.
Primary technology suppliers: Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Avid and Cisco.
Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: Autonomy.
Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the cloud: Very little right now, with Salesforce and Jive being the primary platforms. We also have some smaller deployments that use Amazon EC2/S3. That said, it is on the increase and is a major focus area for those running technology in the media industry.
Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: “I’m launching NBC Labs,” he says of his first major innovation since joining. “The labs will look at technology innovations that may have a big impact. This will create a platform to introduce new ideas, to do trialing at how our products look, but also to look at other technologies and industries.
Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to: From a back office standpoint we are in a three-year virtualisation programme, so all our offices are virtualised. NBC Universal has three data centres, some broadcasters have 40.
Technologies being considered to enable transformation: Cloud is interesting. We have increasing demands for flexible models in post-production or distribution, so there is a gap in the market to play out from a Drop Box type of technology, but with compression that is just not suitable.
Could elastic computing idea be key for transcoding of HD files to SD for example? There is a lot of talk about creating a secure elastic transcoding model.
Transformational inspiration sources: I'd say I take many cues from other businesses outside of media that manage to achieve that constant improvement and reinvention. Google, Apple, Netflix etc are all companies that have a strong culture and ethos of innovation. And to that point, the whole innovation theme is one that is becoming synonymous with my overall strategy which is 50% technical change and 50% culture change.