As expected, this week the ITU ratified the high efficiency video coding standard (or ITU-T H.265 / ISO/IEC 23008-2 HEVC to give it its proper name). HEVC offers significant improvements in compression for all resolutions, including Ultra High Definition. IBC 2012 was a-buzz with talk of Ultra-HD, 4k (with and without a capital K), and HEVC. Whilst the press has focused on the consequences of the HEVC ratification on Ultra HD this week, we should not forget that HEVC / h.265 offers broadcasters the opportunity to compress their existing SD and HD services further – representing significant IT and operational efficiencies. Something OTT operators, like Netflix, are eagerly awaiting.
Recently The Bodhi Tree Group wrote a paper for one of our clients on the likely impact of HEVC, 4k, cloud computing, big data (and a number of other emerging industry trends) on their future broadcast operations. What was clear is that technology trends such as 4k, will not only have consequences for broadcaster’s servers, storage, network management, and distribution capacity, but also in terms of live production (camera panning and super-slow mo). It’s an exciting time for acquiring, managing, and delivering content.
Apparently, The Bodhi Tree Group, LLC (and it’s registered agent, me) are being sued by a medical company. Interesting, as we have never even heard of the company suing us, nor have we done any consulting work in this vertical. Intrigued also by the fact that the representative and employees named in the suit were people of whom we were not familiar, I hit the Florida Division of Corporations website to see if there was another company that may be the correct party. After a painstaking 1.5 minutes of research (if that long), I found that there was a different company that has a name similar to ours whose registered agent is the representative named in the suit.
So, this is obviously a result of a mistake and we were served the wrong content. As we wait for the attorney bringing the suit to return our call, I cannot help but think about how this applies to the work of The Bodhi Tree Group. In managing their content, the legal firm had an issue with one or more of the following areas:
1. Process: There was a breakdown in the process, or at the very least in the final QC.
2. Technology: There was no validation in place to ensure that the metadata matched the asset (or summons in this case).
3. People: The person who entered the incorrect information and/or checked the information were not invested in/did not understand the purpose of their work and so were careless in what they were doing.
4. Culture: There didn’t seem to be a culture of customer service and keeping the customer the main priority.
While I appreciate that receiving a summons is not quite the same as receiving “Game of Thrones” on my iPad, having been the recipient of the wrong content and no customer service, I received a welcome reminder of why we do what we do to help our clients deliver the right content to the right consumer at the right time and on the right devices.
I’ve a read a lot of articles about implementing change, but nothing resonated with me quite so much as, Accelerate! by John P. Kotter in the Harvard Business Review (http://hbr.org/2012/11/accelerate/ar/1).
Throughout 2012 The Bodhi Tree Group has worked on projects defining strategic direction for major broadcasters and helped set out paths for implementation. So many aspects of this article reminds me of the challenges of executing strategy in the media industry, which is faced with hyper-competition and rapidly changing technology and revenue models. For instance, traditional hierarchical project processes within organizations can mean that a business case takes up to 2-3 months to reach sign off. Time well spent if the organization is only making one or two changes a year, however, this is rarely the case and companies struggle to keep up with, let alone lead the pace of change.
In Accelerate!, Kotter proposes implementing dual operating systems to allow organizations to run their business as usual (BAU) as well as rapidly identify strategy and implement change. He describes how traditional hierarchical structures and processes used for BAU are optimized for efficiency, but not rapid change to capitalize on opportunities and dodge threats.
The typical hierarchical structures that most organizations use today are inherently risk averse and resistant to change. Companies like Borders knew they needed to make a strategic shift to stay in business, but failed to execute of that strategy. Kotter therefore proposes a second network-based operating system to complement the hierarchy structures and processes in order to accelerate change. This Network Operating System is devoted to the design and implementation of strategy, uses agile/network structure, and a different set of managerial processes. This complementing dual approach echoes Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, 2011 – two systems of thinking (rational vs emotional), where both are necessary and should be used in harmony.
So, how does the dual operating systems work? Kotter proposes five guiding principles:
- Many change agents, not just a few appointees – based on volunteers (up to 10% of managerial / employee population)
- A ‘want-to’ and a ‘get-to’ – not just a ‘have-to’ – mindset
- Head and heart, not just head – business case appeals to heads, but must also appeal to their emotions
- More leadership, not just management – a strategy network needs more leadership than a hierarchy. All about vision, opportunity, agility, inspired action, and celebration (not project management, budget reviews, accountability to a plan)
- Two systems, one organisation – the two systems need to be mutually dependent, constant flow of information
I was struck by the emphasis Kotter places on emotional buy-in to the change initiative as much as rational “this business case stacks up” support. Appealing to the heart, rather than head makes it easier to recruit a volunteer network to develop that is more about change leadership than management.
Complementing Kotter’s original 8 change steps, he describes 8 accelerators based on the dual operating systems approach:
- Create a sense of urgency around a single big opportunity. Needs to start at the top of the hierarchy
- Build and maintain a guiding coalition (GC) made up of volunteers. Needs to represent managers / employees from across the hierarchy. Must include a few outstanding managers / leaders. All members of the GC are equal
- Formulate a strategic vision and develop change initiatives designed to capitalize on the big opportunity
- Communicate the vision and the strategy to create buy-in and attract a growing volunteer army. Messages should go viral, attracting employees who buy in to the ambition of the message and share a commitment
- Accelerate movement toward the vision and the opportunity by ensuring that the network removes barriers. Design and implementation occur in the network and are instituted within the hierarchy
- Celebrate visible, significant short-term wins – the network team need to have their decisions and actions confirmed and celebrated to the wider hierarchy. Short term wins should be obvious and related to the overall vision.
- Never let up. Keep learning from experience. Don’t declare victory too soon. Must keep up the sense of urgency – to keep the volunteer army committed
- Institutionalize strategic changes in the culture.
I can imagine the volunteer network using an internal social media site to allow challenges and threats to be identified, discussed, and action groups to be formed to tackle them. The Network Operating System must include volunteers from all levels and across the functional areas of the business to allow information to be freed from silos.
Kotter claims to have implemented this dual operating system model in several companies already. He lists some of the challenges the organizations faced during this process:
- Ensuring that the hierarchy and network systems work together. Essential that the GC and the executive committee have close communication
- Building momentum. Important to communicate wins from the very start.
- Making people believe that a dual system is possible. A rational and compelling sense of urgency around a big strategic opportunity is critical
This approach appeals to me because it recognizes the strengths of traditional BAU operations, whilst seeing the need to address long term strategic vision and implementing change. Kotter suggests that the Network Operating System can be developed over time within the organization. Potentially, it could be started in one area of the business and after achieving notable successes, the scope and size of the guiding coalition (or army of volunteers) can be extended.
Continuing our posts describing some of our recent projects, we look at an engagement where we helped a major broadcaster by recommending a plan for future content operations. To do this, we reviewed our client’s current business architecture, worked with them to articulate a future vision, and recommended a plan to achieve their target content operations and infrastructure. This was a focused, strategic project led by Matt Eaton and supported by our technology strategist, Grant Hammond.
Like many media and broadcast organizations, our client had grown organically over the years reacting to industry trends, new technology, and changing customer needs. They needed a vision of what their content operations and infrastructure would look like in the future in order to plan and build towards a long-term business architecture. Based on The Bodhi Tree Group’s operational experience, architectural design skills, and knowledge of technology developments and industry trends, the broadcaster commissioned us to help them articulate this vision.
We used a formal analytical framework for the project, examining firstly the external factors influencing our client’s content business today and in the future. This included a competitive analysis within their market and an appraisal of major technology trends such as cloud computing, big data, virtualisation within broadcast operations, HEVC, and Ultra-HD. We combined our practical experience running and implementing linear and non-linear broadcast operations to highlight how these trends would likely shape the future direction of our client’s content business.
Next, The Bodhi Tree Group conducted an internal analysis through a series of interviews and structured workshops onsite involving the CEO down. Using these techniques we were able to understand and challenge the broadcaster’s current and future strategies with regard to customer, product, and content. Based on this analysis, we evaluated the current business architecture against their desired future direction. This resulted in a number of guiding principles being identified that would be needed to support the content business going forward, including priority areas for development.
By combining this internal and external analysis, we designed a vision statement and business architecture for the broadcaster’s future content operations and infrastructure. To work out a roadmap to attain this vision, our team worked with our client’s operations and architecture team to conduct a high level options analysis, identified indicative costs vs benefits, and phasing for each of the priority development areas. We also identified areas of development with regards to the operating model and the organisation’s capabilities and competencies to support the business architecture and vision in the future.
As a result of our work, our client now has a vision for their future content operations and infrastructure and a pragmatic implementation plan.
For project references and more information about the services The Bodhi Tree Group offers, please contact email@example.com.
The Bodhi Tree Group recently completed a major project to design an enterprise Media Asset Management (MAM) architecture for a leading Pay TV operator. We’ve written a case study describing how our team worked with our client to deliver a vision of efficient file-based processes, a set of baseline operational metrics, and a future roadmap for an enterprise-wide MAM system.
The Pay TV operator had grown beyond its satellite services over recent years to deliver content across mobile and online. To efficiently process a higher volume of content for distribution across more platforms, the broadcaster needed to manage their digital assets more effectively. However, our client realized that this was not only a technology problem – it required looking at broadcast operations as a total system – including processes and people.
“We were able to bring a process-centered approach to our client’s MAM initiative. Whilst technology is an essential element, if the people and processes are not using the systems effectively, benefits are not realized.” said Matt Eaton, a Partner at The Bodhi Tree Group, “We made use of Toyota’s Lean principles, which seek to eliminate waste and inefficiencies in order to develop an operation that is faster, more dependable, produces high-quality services, and operates at a lower cost. The Lean philosophy was also aligned with our client’s push for continuous operational improvement.”
Using this approach a team of associates conducted cross-functional workshops involving staff across the operations to understand end-to-end content processes. These were formally documented and supported by detailed operational metrics. This formed a baseline to measure continuous improvements and to quantify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. The Bodhi Tree team also conducted an assessment of the technology across two sites within the context of an enterprise MAM.
The Bodhi Tree Group developed a set of guiding principles for the MAM architecture based on the strategic needs of our client, the broadcast industry and technology trends, and best practices for file based working. High-level future processes were designed together with recommended changes to the operating model so the business could take advantage of an enterprise MAM. A MAM system architecture was designed based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and a centralized workflow engine. Finally, Bodhi Tree provided the Pay TV operator with a practical roadmap to achieve improvements to the way they manage media assets.
As a result of Bodhi Tree’s work, our client has a well-defined target MAM architecture and roadmap to follow for more efficient tapeless working. This will enable the broadcaster to use its resources more effectively, allow new services to be launched more rapidly, and provide a solid base for repurposing content across multiple platforms.
For project references and more information about the services we offer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.