by Sudhir Narasimhan

Ensure everyone is aboard in your digital transformation journey: Christina Scott, News UK

Oct 05, 2016
Big DataChange ManagementCIO

In an exclusive interview with CIO India, Christina Scott, chief technology officer of News UK, shares her experience of the digital transformation journey across the media industry.

The way we consume news has come a long way. Gone are the days when our only sources of news were the radio, television and newspaper. Since the advent of the Internet, we have seen a transformation of sorts in the media industry. And digital transformation has become instrumental now in the evolving media space.

Christina Scott, chief technology officer at News UK, said the media industry has already experienced the first of wave of digital transformation—getting news from the papers on to the web. But with social media, mobility, big data and cloud, media organizations are ready for the next wave.

“Right now, we are not only competing with other news organizations but also with giants like Facebook and Google, which have become a source of news for our audience,” she added.

News UK, which publishes The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, and the now-defunct News Of The World, has been a pioneer in UK’s publishing space.

Scott, who joined News UK in February 2016 and is responsible for overseeing its technology and product teams, agreed that as a news organization primarily dealing with newspapers, it has the responsibility of keeping print alive as well as leveraging technology to stay relevant in the digital age.

History tells us that the advancement of technology has cannibalized certain mainstream innovations. Compact discs are no longer the preferred choice of listening to music, thanks to the birth of iPods. However, Scott said that digital technology will not have the same impact on newspapers. She said that newspapers may have a replacement in the online world, but they are still relevant.

“Newspapers have a dedicated audience, and that will not change. For revenue streams, we can’t depend just on traditional subscription-based models or advertisements, but we also need to look at other methods of revenue generation,” she said.

News UK has collaborated with a Bangalore-based company to build a centre of excellence. This facility will work closely with the team in London to build News UK’s apps and live news products with content spanning entertainment, sport, current affairs and world news.

This will include product engineering, data science and engineering and infrastructure operations, with work spanning customer data projects and building exciting new editorial and advertising platforms.

Digital transformation will always be accompanied by change management and this is one thing that organizations should be vary about. Scott, who formerly was with Financial Times, BBC, and ITV Digital, has led digital transformation efforts at these media organizations.

“Change management is something that will inadvertently happen, and for a smooth transition, what employees and organizations need is a lot of patience.”

With more than 20 years of experience in digital transformation, Scott said that IT leaders should not look at digital transformation as a change in technology, but rather a cultural change.

“As CIOs, we should ensure that everyone is on the same page, taking our entire team along with us in this digital journey,” she concluded.