Annsofi Eriksson, CIO, Sveriges Radio
Swedish Radio’s vision is “More voices and more powerful stories for a greater understanding.” Supporting it, our new production strategy relies on three pillars: data-informed, location-independent and audio- aware. We have a clear view on how to continue our digitization journey, driving technology transformation with audio in focus.
Nevertheless, our audience still shows a need for linear radio while simultaneously increasingly embracing new formats and on-demand listening. Similarly, our FM platform remains strong while the audience also demands a digital platform that can compete with other streaming platforms. This puts us in the famous split position: one leg is still in traditional technology and the other is in new technology, trending towards IP networks and generally more IT in all functions.
This position has resulted in a hybrid of traditional and new technology. Our technology transformation is full stack, from server and network modernization through core applications to the audience- facing web applications. To avoid losing the audience along the way, we combine traditional and new platforms in a way that ensures a seamless experience when moving between FM and content streamed on demand.
We develop applications in-house where needed and use third-party products where possible. Further, we have started moving towards a hybrid cloud strategy, analysing how to balance on-premises and off- premises workloads, as well as related automation, compatibility and management requirements.
To make sure our listeners find our combined offering, our digital strategy has moved from aiming to reach the audience on any platform, third-party or our own, to obtaining as many listeners as possible on our own platforms. Our overall strategy to win this battle with the big dragons, in our split position, is to be totally audio focused.
We must ensure that we have the necessary competence to maintain stable, high-quality FM and streaming distribution and at the same time prepare for providing our content through the new technology platforms. To attract the right competence, we believe that offering employees outstanding possibilities to develop, whether in preferred technology or other areas, is golden.
The connection between being a preferred employer and offering good digital workplaces has been there for some time already. The pandemic and general changes in work lifestyles and technology have made the digital workplace an even more critical factor in attracting competence and allowing for individual preferences. We are thus giving this an even higher priority in future. Already now, we have established a separate department for digital workplace services in SR, responsible for driving the area strategically, tactically and operationally.
New ways of working
We have implemented modern, agile working methods throughout our tech teams in the last two years. The first phase has been brave, ambitious and successful. We are now stepping into the next phase, assessing the release train structure for potential improvements.
With some years of experience of agile operations and the technology transformation ongoing in parallel, we need fine-tuning to allow teams to collaborate in new constellations to keep the balance in our split situation and to progress towards new target technology. Our plan is to define value streams for primary targets and attach the right teams and people to those streams to work closely together. This will eventually create the next generation of the agile release train.
The technology split will continue for some years. This demands the entire organization to start discovering and preparing new ways of working to maximize the benefits from new technology. To make this happen, cooperation between business and IT needs to be even stronger.
Perhaps most important is being proactive and curious on a personal level and daring to try out new things, outside one’s comfort zone; endure defeat, learn, and move on.
This article was first published in issue 53 of tech-i magazine.