Interviews

Mobility helps PTI in news delivery: PTI CIO

Tridib Bordoloi, CIO, Press Trust of
India (PTI) talks to IndiaCIOReview on how media
industry is shaping up and how technology has become more than
an enabler for the media industry. Bordoloi, who leads a 300 member
strong IT team, also divulges how mobility transformed the PTI’s
overall working.

Tridib Bordoloi, CIO, Press Trust of
India (PTI) talks to IndiaCIOReview on how media
industry is shaping up and how technology has become more than
an enabler for the media industry. Bordoloi, who leads a 300 member
strong IT team, also divulges how mobility transformed the PTI’s
overall working.

What are the day to day challenges
you face as a CIO at PTI?
Media job is a challenging but at the
same it is interesting. Plus it is too demanding. You can not afford
any downtime at a media organization like PTI which deals with a
number of media clients globally.
 

What have you deployed recently?
Two major projects are coming at PTI
which I can not divulge at present. For any project there is a
significant impact on the revenue and various other things. It is a
high availability job where downtime, as I said, can not be
tolerated. And the biggest challenge is there is no specific
technology designed for media companies till date today. You will
find a number of solutions for other verticals such as retail,
pharma, banking, healthcare, education and even government. But media
companies have to struggle to find solutions off-the-shelve which can
fit their environment. Although a host of vendors claim to have
solutions, they don’t match our expectations.

Why do vendors not have solutions
for media companies? Is low budget a reason that vendors do not want
to jump into this space?
Budget is not a problem in any media
companies. Instead media companies like PTI always try to stay at par
in terms of tech deployment so that it could cater to its clients in
India and globally. Why vendors do not have solutions for media
companies is only because they don’t understand this space. Many of
them even claim to but they are only making false claims. At media
organization, we are not CIOs only, it is total engineering. The
delivery of news depends on how agile we are and how quickly we
deliver news to our customers. As you new news does not have a
shelf-life. It has to be delivered at an appropriate time. News means
business for us. In other words, we are here like a salesman. Even
for IT departments and CIO at PTI, we don’t have a breathing space,
there is no weekend.

How has been the PTI functioning of
late? We learnt that PTI is using mobility in a big way?
The delivery of news has to be in
shortest possible time, as news has almost no shelf -life. Before the
Lok Sabha election 2014, the editorial department of PTI, responsible
for reporting developments and editing copies, wanted to enable all
journalists to file stories irrespective of locations. They also
wanted to cut the latency period as well. Earlier a journalist had to
come to the nearest bureau office to file story to the internal work
flow of the agency. A stringer, who are not on the direct payroll of
the company and are mostly located in tier II or III cities, used to
send a fax or text message to the respective department or bureau,
which was typed and put up in the workflow. Even the developments
reported via email have to be put in the work flow manually. 
The
system was tedious and time consuming.

What value addition does mobility
make to the PTI functioning?

We figured out that advent of
smart phones could be utilised to smoothen and expedite the
functioning. Journalists are tech savvy and most of them use smart
phones. The best way was enable them to file stories form handsets
directly to the workflow. Since network operators are able to offer
wireless internet connecivity in any corner of the country, we
thought to utilise this and enable our journalists to file stories
from anywhere. We connected the workflow directly to emails with a
gateway, especially developed for the purpose. My team, with the help
of editorial department, mapped all the email IDs of journalists,
both official and personal, to avoid any misuse or spam hitting the
workflow.

How has it
changed the scenario at PTI?

After the implementation, a
journalist is able to file story directly in the workflow by sending
an email on a template, designed in-house. The system works
seamlessly without the requirement of any manual intervention. Since
it was done just before the elections, during elections thousands of
stories landed smoothly in the workflow. As a result, there could
speed up the delivery of the news. Now the bureau offices need not to
be open 24×7, which was the case earlier. Journalists can file
stories to the workflow irrespective of location.

 

 

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