Listen, Innovate or Disappear

In 2009, the French-speaking broadcaster RTBf decided to merge its broadcast (technical) and information technology teams: 320 staff in total. Consolidation was required: radio journalists sometimes had up to four work stations. Cécile Gonfroid, appointed as director for the new department, decided to rationalize IT through 15 COBIT 4.1 guidelines, focusing on service continuity. “We have to be able to broadcast news, whatever it takes”, says the CIO of the Year.

The past years RTBf invested a lot in buildings and its organizational structure, but recently, it focused on its core business again: content creation. Gonfroid: “We can only differentiate ourselves from Googles and Netflixes with our own content. So information governance is key. We have invested in omni-channel, rich media, new media, new partnerships and we aligned our IT roadmap with these goals: digitalization, infrastructure optimization, administration simplification, mobility but also core IT. If I don’t have a sound infrastructure, I can’t realize tomorrow’s projects. We only have a 6-month schedule: we need to be ahead of time, and ahead of technology. I need to predict the future and be agile to change according to the business’ goals and requests or they’ll try to do it themselves.”

Therefore Gonfroid listens to the journalists, and even sends IT staff on repo’s with them. “Moreover, it’s the business that creates our KPIs. Together, of course, but this is how we realize projects best. We have for instance given 200 iPhones to journalists to film and record with it. My challenge is to broadcast it from our servers. If I don’t listen to the business, we’ll be a heterogeneous organization again and we’ll quickly disappear. The competition is fierce.”

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