Time Inc.’s data journey, explained

Speaking at the FIPP World Congress in Toronto yesterday, Bodell decided that they should not be in the data centre business. And so they transitioned form controlling their own data collection to having a third-party in control of their information, which allowed them to drop their costs significantly since they were releasing some of their work load.

Bodell focused on the idea that while innovating for themselves and solving their own issues, they are also innovating on behalf of other companies as well, and taking into consideration how their innovations can also be used by their smaller partners that may not be able to develop the technology.

Time Inc. also takes advantage of the innovations of other companies, although it is possible to find solutions to large issues that would only serve them, they have found it more efficient to use pre-existing information and alter it to their needs.

Eliminating their data centres is just one example of this. The idea is to develop particular ways of solving issues that Time Inc. faces and then making these solutions available to their business partners that may not have the resources to develop their own solutions. This effectively solves their own problem while simultaneously solving the possible problems their partners may have, which creates a strong relationship between partners.

He said that to solve problems, the key is to listen to what customers are saying, understand what it is that they are looking for and deliver the information they want as efficiently as possible.

As an example, he spoke about the peaks and drops in website activity and how formerly, companies would have to hold enough hardware to be able to handle a large influx in website activity when important news breaks, however the cost of that would be quite extreme. Instead, by going through a third party they are able to bring on more hardware when needed and then release the excess storage when it is no longer needed. This allows more consumers to get to the information they want, faster. By using this method of hardware storage they are able to keep consumers happy while keeping their overall costs low.

The best way to discover what consumers are after is to collect data, and Bodell says that they always trust the data however having a devoted data staff drives costs, instead it is more efficient to collect data and share it with partners without compromising any personal customer information, and this way partners will share data amongst each other resulting in more well-rounded information and lower costs, which they can then use to tailor the information shown to consumers in the form of ads and suggestions.

Bodell concluded by saying that the key to digital success is to have a well-rounded team, he says that journalism, editorial and IT can work together to come up with the most cost effective method to deploy great content

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