BBC Technology Principles
I'm Spencer Piggott Head of Technology Direction. I work in a department within BBC Future Media & Technology called Broadcast & Enterprise Technology Group (B&ETG).
B&ETG is responsible for the technology backbone of the organisation, from desktop PCs and tapeless production to camera procurement and much, much more.
Today we have published a new document (see PDF below) which will outline the direction for technology activities within the corporation for the next two to five years.
The world has changed and technology is increasingly at the fore of everything the corporation does. There has been a fundamental shift in the pace of change of both business (think cloud computing) and consumer technologies (iPhone/notebooks); alongside this of course there has been a massive change in audience behaviour in line with these developments.
The fact is we can't rest on our laurels; this new direction is a response to these internal and external demands on the BBC. The shift to fully tapeless content production, file based transfer for media and the production and delivery of High Definition all put greater pressure and emphasis on technology. With growing demand we can see that we need to make efficient considered investments now to build an agile platform for the BBC's technology activities over the coming years.
What's also been interesting is that we've been seeing convergence between our traditional enterprise technologies such as backend office and business systems and the new media solutions. For example the success of BBC iPlayer has meant the systems it's built on have needed to become much more robust and adopt the scalability and reliability principles of the business enterprise solutions. Conversely, the back office solutions have needed to become more open and modular as they are now playing an increasingly important role in providing data for some of the BBC's audience facing services.
These different drivers have culminated into an approach which focuses on four key areas which are:
The core building blocks - Ensuring the BBC has sustainable networking, telephony, storage and other core services which are needed to support the growing demand across the BBC.
Being connected and collaborative - Breaking down the technology barriers to allow our partners to easily work with the BBC and support for flexible and remote working.
Fostering Innovation - Embracing the growing capabilities of consumer devices for professional use and ensuring that innovative technology is able to be developed and grown within the BBC.
Delivering Value - Minimising customisation across technology, driving standardisation and use of commercial off the shelf products as much as possible.
These focus areas are underpinned by a set of principles which will guide technology decisions in the BBC from now on and represent the first step to developing a fully detailed approach for the BBC. For example some of the key principles describe the need to drive standardisation of technology so that it simplifies our ways of working and also on the ability to use appropriate consumer technologies in the workplace.
Over the coming weeks we're developing a set of individual technology roadmaps which will respond to these focus areas. These will outline specific goals and approaches for all aspects of technology from networks, storage and core infrastructure to IPTV, mobile and other audience facing technology.
I'll keep adding to this blog over the coming weeks with more detail as it comes in. In the meantime, take a look at the PDF document below.
The BBC has an obligation to make sure it stays in touch with the growing demands of the licence payer. At the end of the day the BBC is here to inform, educate and entertain and technology is playing a more and more important role in maintaining this purpose.
Spencer Piggott is Head of Technology Direction, B&EGT, BBC FM&T
- Download the BBC Technology Strategy document (PDF): TechnologyStrategyPublicMaster250110.pdf (Ed's note: This is an updated version of the document to correct a typo. No other changes have been made. PM)