News UK chief information officer Chris Taylor has been handed responsibilities as chief operating officer at the media group.
Taylor, who is to continue to lead the firm's IT operations, will replace the outgoing David Dinsmore, who left his post as director of operations in June to become editor of News UK publication, The Sun.
Taylor joined News UK, formerly News International, in 2011, arriving from magazine publisher Emap to become director of enterprise technologies, before taking over CIO responsibilities on a permanent basis in October.
He has overseen the continuation and introduction of a number IT initiatives that are helping to transform the business. News UK is currently moving to put all of its internal systems in the cloud with a growing use of Amazon Web Services infrastructure as a service platform, for example, while a programme has been in place to enable its staff to benefit from the consumerisation of IT devices.
The expanded role for Taylor comes as part of a change to organisational structure within News UK, as the technology and operations functions merge and come under his individual leadership. This will mean that Taylor will take charge of areas such as print production planning, logistics and distribution functions, in addition to leading existing IT projects.
Speaking to ComputerworldUK, Taylor said that the new role will enable stronger connections to be made between the two areas of the business he is now responsible for, and will begin to explore ways in which the technology can benefit the operations side, and vice versa.
"The reason we have brought technology and operations under single leadership is because we feel there are a number of opportunities for collaboration, and a number of synergies we can exploit and build upon, both in the very short and longer term," Taylor said.
"Technology empowers a significant part of our supply chain already, and there are technology products and services that could potentially enrich elements that we haven't exploited so far. That is the thinking - that there are great opportunities there and it is part of my responsibility to look for and exploit those opportunities."
Taylor also highlighted existing innovation projects in place with regards to supply chain management, with intitial moves to put its SAP ERP system into Amazon's cloud.
"We are currently doing a piece of work with Amazon and SAP to prototype and prove the concept of whether we can run SAP in AWS," he said. "We are talking about a large, genuinely enterprise grade instance of SAP, not a small business option. It is a very substantial endeavour to see if we can make that work, and if we can prove the concept we will seriously consider it as an option.
"It is in design stage at the moment, and I would like to think we would have proven the concept within the next few months. It looks like an interesting piece of innovation."
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