by Edward Qualtrough

Global Director of Technology & Operations David Henderson CIO 100 interview – Evangelising the art of the possible

Apr 24, 2018
IT LeadershipMedia and Entertainment Industry

CIO 100 leader David Henderson said CIOs and their teams were in a unique position to share with their organisations ‘the art of the possible’ after being named at the front of the field in the 2018 CIO 100.

Henderson became Director of Technology and Operations at Global, known for its radio brands Classic, Capital, LBC and Radio X, in October 2014 to drive an ambitious digital transformation at the media and broadcasting company.

Global has now completed the migration of its back office into the public cloud, overseen an application and device refresh, simplified the technology estate reducing the exposure to cyber risks from legacy, and in the last year they have completed the integration of 17 newly acquired music festivals.

The 2018 CIO 100 leader was recognised by the panel for his function’s digital transformation initiatives, for developing its programmatic Digital Audio Exchange advertising platform for radio, and for developing technology innovations like its VR ‘driving test’ for radio presenters which has helped reduce live broadcasting errors significantly. The front-end and back-end initiatives have been a key component of the tremendous growth at the media organisation over the last year.

Henderson has brought technology out of the basement with hackathons and quarterly ‘cheers and ideas’ events which have helped change perceptions and interactions with technology across Global.

“We have worked hard at integrating technology in the business; from co-location of teams to running events and hackathons where we ask how might technology help solve key business challenges,” he said.

“We use technology evangelists to educate non-tech colleagues on the ‘art of the possible’ and a culture that challenges the team to dare what has never been tried before. The result is a tech savvy business and a well-respected technology team, integral to the growth of Global.”

Global’s Digital Audio Exchange platform has had a big impact; the ad tech infrastructure is now in place for advertisers to transact audio in the way it can with display and video. It has become the world’s most advanced and largest programmatic platform; Henderson said that it gave advertisers access to an audience of 160 million people across premium audio publishers including Global’s Capital, Heart and Radio X, SoundCloud and audioBoom.

“A key barrier for advertisers until now has been measurement and attribution, particularly tracking what happens after the person hears an ad as it’s hard to put a cookie in an audio file! For the first time, we’ve been able to track whether the audio ad drove people to a site and how different types of creative performed,” Henderson said.

Henderson was also recognised for championing diversity and inclusion initiatives, rolling out unconscious bias training, and for his involvement communicating why technology is a great career choice for young people to consider at the Global Academy – the organisation’s school in West London.

The 2018 CIO 100 leader said that the company’s strategy had been delivered and “enabled by our hard work in attracting and developing an adaptable, inclusive and expert technology who love working at Global”, and that the future focus was about developing products that meant something to their audience and users.

“From a technology perspective, 2018 is all about brilliant products underpinned by powerful data and a secure, scalable infrastructure.”