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Informed Decisions: IT and telecom initiatives by the Times Group

January 05, 2015

The Times Group, the flagship organisation of Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL), is one of the largest media service conglomerates in India and South Asia. BCCL was formed as a joint stock company by T.J. Bennett and F.M. Coleman in 1892. The media group began its operations with The Times of India, an English language publication which brought out its first edition in November 1838, then known as the Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce. The company has since moved on to other mediums, and is present on almost every media platform today. The operations of the Times Group range from newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio and internet to event management, outdoor display, music, movies and much more. The media group has an annual turnover exceeding $1 billion, and has over 25,000 advertisers and 11,000 employees. Aside from its businesses, corporate social responsibility initiatives have been an integral part of the company’s operations. In this regard, many initiatives like The Times Foundation, Teach India, Power of Ideas and Young Leaders have been promoted by the company for the benefit of civil society.

Given its wide reach across all continents, the Times Group has been constantly working on upgrading its IT and telecom infrastructure to facilitate smoother operations. It has also been focusing on media content and channelling along with service experience in order to meet the demands of end-users.

tele.net takes a look at the recent IT and telecom initiatives of BCCL…

With a huge employee base, the media group has an extensive fixed line network with EPABX and Centrex services as well as a wireless network to connect its staff. Being in a consumer-centric business, the company has deployed toll-free services to stay in touch with its audience. For its day-to-day operations, the media house makes use of various communication channels such as emails, file sharing and backup, and videoconferencing and video streaming, and has a network bandwidth of 50 Mbps. It also makes use of MPLS/IP-VPN technology to speed up network traffic flows given the huge amount of digital content transmitted every second. In addition, the Times Group uses optic fibre and wireless access technologies to support high speed communications within the office.

In order to simplify and integrate all forms of communications and optimise business processes, the Times Group has been using a unified communications system to reduce operation time, manage the flow of information and eliminate the use of varied devices. The move to integrate email services, and video- and audioconferencing has helped the group simplify its IT administration and focus on its core business.

Like most other large enterprises, the Times Group has been relying on various software-based applications to provide critical business services like customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence and supply chain management (SCM) With the help of software applications like ERP, CRM, SAP, SCM and BI, the company has streamlined its business and facilitated robust data collection and analysis, and communication within the office and with its regional offices. It has also mobilised some of the applications on smartphones to provide convenience and flexibility to its employees.

However, the current networks of the company need constant improvement, given the rapid changes in technology and the introduction of more efficient and operation-specific applications. One challenge for the media house has been the identification and installation of new technologies and setting up a flexible infrastructure to best support its business processes. Further, to cope with downtime and the unavailability of servers, the media group has been taking various measures like the incorporation of resolution time in service level agreements (SLAs). In this regard, any non-adherence to the SLA is penalised with an equivalent revenue credit.

The Times Group has also been working on the expansion of its IT and telecom infrastructure. It has planned an increase in the number of fixed line connections, laptops and computers, along with new software applications like sales force automation, by the end of 2015. Further, it intends to scale up the organisation’s managed services for networking in the near future. The company believes that this will help reduce its operation costs, provide access to IT experts and get value-added services as well as better management. In the near term, the Times Group will strive to adopt a dynamic IT solution to leverage high levels of flexibility, scalability and efficiency in order to excel in its core business of media and communications.


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