BBC's Technology Strategy Update: summary road maps
It's been a while since my last blog on the BBC's technology strategy and I wanted to give an update on what we've done and observed.
The paper published last year was the first step towards sharing the BBC's technology direction and ambitions. Publishing detail about what we hope to achieve, we believe, will lead to much more fruitful conversations with our technology partners and suppliers over the coming years. Innovation needs to be at the heart of what we do in the BBC and that means harnessing good ideas that are generated both internally and from our partners.
The technology strategy describes the BBC's intent to leverage technologies such as virtualisation, cloud and consumer technologies but the next step was to translate those ambitions into specific areas of technology to start achieving them. We identified 35 different areas of technology and set out to create an individual roadmap or strategy for each. The roadmaps cover all major areas from core infrastructure such as networks and data centres through to content production technology and audience facing such as Red Button and online search.
The roadmaps are being used as a guide to inform the technology decisions that are made throughout the corporation and as a way to align all the projects into the same direction. They are not a commitment to spend and are not linked to the organisational changes and cuts the BBC has committed to make. However, the BBC has to invest in these technologies to remain efficient and meet our targets such as the reduction in overheads to be no more than 10% of public service budget.
What's been really interesting is the movement in technology over the past year and how important it is to make sure that the strategies are regularly reviewed. For example, we expected consumerisation to have a big impact and it hasn't disappointed. The iPad has changed the way a lot of people want to work and people with their privately owned devices want to be able to use it in the workplace as much as at home, with all the extra IT security considerations this brings.
The growth of online consumer services and the capabilities we take for granted as a home user are now being expected within the enterprise too. Central storage for our documents which is accessible anywhere, multi device support for our smart phone, tablet, PC and fast connection speeds are all enjoyed at home so why not at the office?
The nature of production and broadcasting lends itself to working outside the normal office environment and so identifying the tools and services that can bridge the consumer and enterprise space presents a real opportunity.
There are no doubt going to be even more new consumer services and rival tablet devices coming through this year and corporations have a difficult balancing act between supporting consumer devices and maintaining effective data management, IT security and resilience.
An observation that came from developing the strategies is the importance of enterprise architecture. The BBC is at a tipping point where integration is the focus for both our content production and our enterprise systems. Integration will enable the BBC to deliver efficiencies and better ways of working but it's not trivial to deliver. For the BBC to achieve its goals the role of architectural frameworks, interoperability standards (such as minimal metadata standards) and shared services are vital.
Attached to this blog is a summary of all the individual strategy roadmaps. It should provide you with a view of where the BBC would like to focus its efforts across each area of technology. Achieving many of these ambitions is dependant on the relationship the BBC has with technology partners and the innovation and creativity that exists in the market.
I hope you find them interesting.
Click here for a PowerPoint of the BBC's technology strategy as of March 2011
Spencer Piggott is Head of Technology Direction, BBC Technology