CXOTalks Interviews ITV at Zoho Day 2024 About Digital Transformation

by | Industry News

At Zoho Day 2024, held in the city of McAllen, Texas, Robert O’Brien, Head of International Technology at ITV Studios, sat down with Michael of CXOTalks to discuss the broadcaster’s ambitious digital transformation journey. The conversation highlighted ITV’s partnership with A2Z Cloud and their strategic move to leverage Zoho’s low-code platform to improve their production workflows.

What is Zoho Day? 

Zoho Day is an annual event organised by Zoho Corporation, bringing together business leaders, technology experts, and industry innovators to explore the latest advancements in software solutions.

Held in McAllen, Texas, Zoho Day 2024 showcased groundbreaking technologies and success stories from various industries, highlighting the transformative power of Zoho’s platform. This event serves as a premier forum for networking, learning, and sharing insights on digital transformation and business optimisation.

At this year’s event, Robert O’Brien from ITV Studios shared their compelling journey towards transforming their production workflows amidst the evolving landscape of television production.

Official Zoho Day 2024 Logo

Digital transformation in the face of streaming giants

ITV plc, the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster, has been at the forefront of adapting to the changing landscape of television production. As streaming services like Disney and Netflix continue to dominate the market, traditional broadcasters must innovate to stay relevant. ITV Studios, has proactively responded to this shift with their streaming platform, ITV x. O’Brien revealed that ITV x has achieved a remarkable 3 billion streams in the past year. He added, “By 2026, we’re aiming for 30% of our production to be full streamers.”

O’Brien explained the profound impact of this shift on ITV’s technology team. “Giving the creatives and the production teams, a good underlying technology stack enables them to be as efficient as they possibly can”. Innovation has always been a part of ITV’s DNA, evolving from black and white TV to the latest high-definition formats. The key now is integrating new technologies to enhance both commercial value and customer acquisition.

The complexity of production workflows

With hundreds of productions happening simultaneously, managing budgets, schedules, and data efficiently is no small feat. ITV Studios, which operates in 13 countries and manages 16 production labels, required a robust solution to streamline their complex workflows. This need became even more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the inefficiencies of their existing unstructured data systems.

O’Brien shared, “Before we had a Zoho system, we had teams of people with lots of unstructured data”. “If our leadership asked “Can I have some information about TV shows being created?” It would take a long time to get, because that data was in spreadsheets, it was in emails, some of it was in people’s heads!”

“During COVID, when we needed to make decisions really quickly it became apparent that we needed something better.”

Partnering with A2Z Cloud and implementing Zoho

ITV’s search for an appropriate solution led them to A2Z Cloud and Zoho. They needed a platform that could meet their specific requirements without the long development times associated with traditional software solutions. Zoho’s low-code platform emerged as the ideal choice, offering the agility and speed needed for ITV’s dynamic environment.

O’Brien praised the quick implementation process, “Within six weeks, we had a fully functional risk and production management system in place.” “The technology itself came online very quickly, the harder part was the change of management process”.

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Leadership support and change management

The success of such a rapid deployment hinged on strong leadership support and clear communication. O’Brien emphasised the importance of starting with the “why” to gain stakeholder buy-in. He noted, “the key was having that leadership support, that mandate to use the product and ensuring that our teams knew about why we were doing this”, “that led to an easier implementation”.

Training and support were also critical components. Ensuring that teams were well-versed in the new system and understood its benefits helped in overcoming resistance to change. The combination of a low-code platform’s flexibility and a structured change management approach allowed ITV to adapt quickly to evolving needs.

Governance and avoiding pitfalls

Despite the many advantages of a low-code platform, O’Brien cautioned against making changes too hastily. Proper governance is essential to prevent user confusion and an influx of support tickets.

“Just because you can change something quickly in your product, doesn’t mean you should. You still need to have that governance layer to ensure that everybody who needs to know about the changes signs off on the changes before they’re made.” Rob explained.

This approach helps maintain smooth processes and minimises disruptions, ensuring that the technology continues to support rather than hinder the production teams.

Looking ahead: AI and Innovation

Michael also touched on the future of AI in television production during the conversation. ITV is keenly observing advancements in AI, particularly in how it can augment creative processes. However, they are cautious about integrating AI into production until the technology matures and regulatory issues are resolved.

O’Brien revealed, “We’re doing a lot of research development into some of the tools are appearing in the market for production.” Adding, “At the moment the technologies not ready to implement into production, but we’ll keep on researching.”

Wrapping up

ITV’s journey, supported by A2Z Cloud and powered by Zoho, showcases the potential of low-code platforms in driving digital transformation in the media industry. The rapid implementation, combined with strong leadership and effective change management, has enabled ITV to stay agile and responsive in a fast-evolving market.

As streaming services continue to shape the future of television, ITV’s proactive approach to technology and innovation ensures they remain a key player in the industry.

The partnership with A2Z Cloud and the adoption of Zoho’s platform have not only streamlined their production workflows but also positioned them well for future challenges and opportunities.

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