What is Ministry of Sound all about?
We are what we’ve always been – a leading nightclub, record label and youth culture brand. We are both an entertainment and media company with a number of venues worldwide as well as a successful product licensing and merchandising business
What is your role at the organisation and what’s led you there?
I am head of operations, which is a combination role responsible for IT, HR and facilities. The experience that led me to the job includes ICL as it was known when I started off, then Beeb.com, the commercial arm of the BBC. Following that I worked for a small web agency in London’s West End.
A lot of my experience has been in online but as IT has become more important to the organisation so my role has grown. In staff terms we have a small, dedicated team which covers support, web front-end and back-end development as well as applications. We tend to work with partners to introduce new technology and then do a lot of skills transfer so that we can take over.
What are your IT priorities?
Everything at the moment in the music industry centres on digitisation and automation of the recording process. Going down this path makes our operations more efficient internally, with lower costs for maintaining the catalogue. It also gives us the flexibility to respond to market changes.
We now have to be able to launch a single as a CD, online and for a mobile download. That has implications for technology and the back-end. For instance, metadata about the music is becoming almost as important as the music itself. It’s a time of significant change in our business we need to keep up.
Can you talk about specific projects?
The work we’ve done revamping the Hed Kandi website, hedkandi.com, is significant both to us commercially and also because we believe it’s the world’s first live implementation of the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007. It was also interesting because we used a beta version of the product.
We worked with both Microsoft and a company called cScape on the relaunch following our purchase of the label in January. Hed Kandi is a major trendsetter on the global clubbing scene and is best known for its stylish dance music compilation albums and plush events. The website has to reflect that cutting-edge style. So there’s a lot of support for user-generated content like blogs.
From the experience we have gained on this project we will be in stronger position to migrate our content management systems on our other sites to a standardised web presence on the Microsoft platform.
What’s next for you?
We’re committing to building a major management information system based on Microsoft SQL Server database and .Net as the basis, combined with BizTalk as the way to link all the different information needed to make the digitised environment a reality. Ultimately we are working to generate more efficiency, increase our productivity and better manage our data.