Damien Corti (Chief Technology Officer, SRG SSR)
SRG’s core business is based on the use of contemporary technologies to produce and distribute content for its customers in a channel-specific and efficient manner. However, what contemporary means is changing continuously and with increasing speed. This constant and accelerating change is associated with significant risks of unsound investment.
For SRG’s sustainable success, it is necessary to make appropriate technology investments in a targeted manner and at the same time to avoid other technologies, again in a targeted manner. As a basis for good technology decisions, a regular, strategic technology assessment is needed. To enable this process, SRG is building a technology radar. It is structured in three basic recurring steps:
First, it is important to scan the technology horizon continuously and as broadly as possible. The special corporate structure of SRG as a media house with four national languages and six corporate units offers opportunities here; expertise is distributed among many people throughout the company. A challenge, however, is to involve these people and motivate them to participate. Therefore, the hurdle for participation is deliberately kept low; anyone can contribute inputs. An important source of input is the SRG staff in the EBU Strategic Programmes, organized in the SRG EBU Community around the company’s EBU Technical Liaison Officer (TLO).
2. Strategic fit assessment
This is conducted at regular intervals by a working group defined by the CTO Board. The assessment is carried out in a discussion and based on a questionnaire. To make this possible, the technology must be considered in the context of a specific application for SRG. For example, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is too generic as a technology. Only in combination with the application, for example image recognition of archive material, can the concrete benefit be assessed. If a technology meets the necessary criteria, it is subjected to the reality check in the next process step. If the required criteria are not met, the inputs are either discarded or put back into the backlog.
3. Business reality check
In the third step, the perspective on the technology is broadened. It is not only checked whether a technology is suitable for use in SRG to improve its competitiveness, but also whether SRG is prepared for the profitable use of the respective technology. The result can be a recommendation to the management for the use of the technology, a recommendation with additional conditions (training, etc.), or a recommendation to abandon the technology for the time being.
In these three steps, the technology radar should provide an essential basis for the subsequent strategy processes and a common understanding of the benefits of the most significant technologies across SRG.
SRG’s technology radar is a work in progress and remains under construction. Various challenges still need to be tackled. For example, it has become apparent that the choice of appropriate evaluation criteria is very difficult. The wrong criteria can result in misleading results. The visualization of the radar and how the process is supported through suitable tools have also not yet been fully solved. The challenge here is to prepare and make available the necessary information in a way that is appropriate for each stakeholder.
Get in touch
We would like to discuss with other EBU Members their experiences in setting up and operating their technology management. We are interested not only in the tools and processes used, but also in the challenges and lessons learned during implementation. If you are interested in a further exchange, please contact our TLO, Massimiliano Babbucci (email@example.com).
This article was first published in issue 55 of tech-i magazine.