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CIO guides Bauer Media through Nine separation

Adam Bender | April 3, 2014
IT veteran Simon Wheeler has tried to balance operational efficiency with technology innovation.

"There's so much demand for storing more and more and for providing more and more," he said. "Traditionally it was images and now there's a lot more video content as well, which certainly chews up the space."

Network transition
An early challenge for Wheeler was to move Bauer Media off shared services with Nine Entertainment and set up a stand-alone network.

"We'd spent four years [at Nine] pulling together a shared service that serviced both the broadcast side of the business and the publishing side of the business with never really any thought that they would pull the two apart."

"All of the sudden you've got an event, which in our case was an acquisition, and you've got to then pull something that took four years to put together apart in just 15 months."

The split meant Wheeler had a smaller budget and less leverage with vendors than he had been used to at Nine.

"Before we were an organisation that would have spent millions on telco," he said. "All of a sudden you don't have the leverage of being that big company anymore."

That affected Bauer's vendor decisions, he said. "We found that some of the smaller vendors were going to gives us better level of service and quicker response than some of the well-known names."

That's a large reason why Bauer chose Azzurri Communications to provide the new network, he said.

"We'd always worked with the big two, Telstra and Optus, but due to our reduction in size, it just gave us an opportunity to go and speak to someone else. It was quite a refreshing change."

Bauer plans to expand its relationship with Azzurri to add VoIP services to replace its fixed voice lines, Wheeler said. Wrapping that into one contract with data will help to further simplify IT systems at the company, he said.

"One of our big strategies is to reduce the systems landscape," he said. "We sort of became quite messy over the years.

"The separation has presented a good opportunity to consolidate and get rid of and retire quite a few old legacy systems or bespoke systems that perhaps hadn't the same [tender love and care] that they should have."


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