by Edward Qualtrough

Cloud collaboration tearing down business unit silos at 143-year-old publishing company Aller Media

Nov 23, 2016
Media and Entertainment IndustryMobile Apps

Aller Media CIO Michael Enk is rolling out cloud apps and collaboration tools to tear down the silos and renew the 143-year-old publishing company.

Founded in 1973, the Copenhagen-based magazine publisher has a weekly circulation of around 3.2 million print copies in the Nordics with its portfolio of consumer and lifestyle titles, which includes the licence to Elle in Denmark.

“People were working in silos until recently,” the CIO said. “There has been a downwards trend in revenue in the industry and we need collaboration and to renew the organisation and its technology. We need to give people the tools to share information.”

Enk said that the biggest challenge facing the media sector at the moment was the continuing downturn in print circulation which is not being covered by digital incomes.

“We are moving from one big revenue stream to lots of smaller ones and that requires lots of speed and agility,” Enk said. “You need technologies in place that allows us to do that.”

Enk’s technology and IT function is part of the Aller Media holding company which sits across the four country business units in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Reporting to the group CFO and Nordics management group as well as working with the individual country CEOs has its challenges, but Enk said that from the CIO seat he is able to influence the culture of the organisation despite the distance from some of Aller Media’s users.

“We are transforming using cloud technologies and new ways of working,” Enk said as he explained how the company had rolled out Office 365 in the Spring and was also deploying Dropbox to facilitate better collaboration.

“It is still pretty new but people are sharing documents differently and we can see the impact of the cloud. It has made the organisation significantly more mobile.

“Part of the grand scheme is to change how we behave; it allows younger people to work with us and makes quite a significant cultural change. One of the things we figured out early on was Dropbox was being used so we embraced Shadow IT; people wanted to find something which was much more intuitive.

“Two years ago most of the organisations were siloed but with Office 365 and Dropbox it gives flexibility to everyone.”

Enk said that by moving business applications to the cloud the organisation had been able to stop investing in data centres and had closed more than 250 servers in the last year. By modernising its legacy systems, the CIO said that it had been solved IT issues that would become a problem in a few years while also improving security.

“We know big cloud vendors can attract much more senior security talent,” Enk said, adding that with Ransomware on the rise the move to the cloud offered an extra layer of protection.

Enk said that the push to cloud services had been made smoother because the finance department had been first to use a native cloud application, and that Aller Media was looking at moving more apps to the cloud and was tendering for a cloud-based business intelligence tool.