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How News Corp is uniting 10 business units and 25,000 employees in a global IT push

Katherine Noyes | Oct. 5, 2015
'Initially, this was a very different way of working,' says Global CIO Dominic Shine.

Single Sign On (SSO) technology from Okta helps improve experience and security.

There's still more to be done toward News Corp's overall goals, but in all its efforts, Shine stresses the importance of collaboration and a good understanding of company culture.

"I have personally witnessed or suffered at the hands of transformation across large organizations," he said.

With that experience in mind, Shine ensured that News Corp's new strategy was co-created in a collaborative fashion with the technology leaders across all 10 of its businesses.

"We wanted to take the best ideas from across the group," he said.

New Relic, for instance, was a technology several of the business units had already used.

"That was an example of where we were able to say, let's cross-fertilize," Shine said. "News Corp can then make a commercial arrangement with New Relic, with better terms for everyone."

Implementation has been conducted with strong business involvement and regional coordination, including very clear targets for measurement and performance.

"Ultimately, we want to measure the success of this through customer satisfaction," he explained. "The way we want to initially measure how we roll it out is to identify all the customer-facing services and track rollout progress on a monthly basis."

Monthly reports for CTOs and senior management ensure that everyone can see not only progress towards goals but also upcoming challenges.

"People can see where they might be able to learn something or where they might be able to provide help to another business unit," Shine said.

The approach has worked well, but that doesn't mean it hasn't had its share of challenges.

"Initially, this was a very different way of working," Shine said. "Even taking a very collaborative approach and co-creating the strategy, it was still very different for people who had been pursuing their own strategies up until that point."

Change management was in many ways the biggest challenge, including "patiently and politely discussing the plan with senior management to get them on board," he said.

The early emergence of financial savings, of course, was an added boost toward that end.

Shine's advice for other CIOs facing similar projects? "The first thing to focus on is the culture of your organization and really understand that," he said. "It's very different doing transformation in a very globalized organization -- the way you go about this is more important than anything else."

It's critical to plan transformations to complement culture rather than go "against the grain," he stressed.

Also essential is to focus on the experience that people are going to have, whether they're users of a new app or senior managers looking at costs.

"If you focus on their experience and benefits -- stay ruthlessly focused on that and make sure the solutions you choose are the best you can do for the money you have -- provided you have good execution partners, you can't go wrong," Shine said.


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