CIO Straight Talk - Issue 3 - 44
have a successful career, though, if you take a larger
view about how people consume music. EMI is
approaching artist development in new ways, focusing
on how to connect fans to artists — be it through social
media, downloads, or one of the 400 streaming services
we work with. We’re also looking at areas like music
licensing for television programs, commercials, and
video games — once a marginal area that’s now growing fast.
For IT, that new business strategy requires a fundamental shift, from being a reactive team to a strategic
business partner, from spending most of our time
supporting legacy systems to spending the majority of
our time on new projects. I had to change the way the IT
function operated, get an awful lot more out of our
suppliers by partnering with a few that gave us the
firepower we needed, and inspire my team to become
Before we could partner with the business side of EMI
on any strategic transformation, we had to address three
major IT problems: Service levels were in decline, the
rate of project delivery was low, and there was no real
CIO Straight Talk
Once HCL took responsibility for our central systems
and we strengthened our own service operations
management, service levels rose. Our incident rate is
less than half of what it was two years ago, and we
continue to focus on what we can do tomorrow to
improve service levels.
Simon Hollins on. . .
IT’s Role in the Business
In many ways, the role of the CIO now is to ﬁnd
ways to connect the business to customers – and
then to get out of the way. Good discipline, strong
supplier partnerships, and good design are critical.
It’s our obligation as an IT team to provide that to
the business. But we cannot let that become
governance for governance’s sake, because that can
stiﬂe creativity. You do enough to make sure the
solutions you offer are innovative and sustainable,
and then you get out of the way.
Poaching Good Ideas from
Don’t be afraid to adopt best practices from other
industries. The music industry is unique, but it can
beneﬁt from best practices and forward thinking in
areas like outsourcing, enterprise architecture, and
technology delivery. People always told me that you
couldn’t use IT approaches from other industries in
advertising. But you can and you should. Those are
the things that will help your business succeed.
Our low project-delivery rate was caused by a lack of
discipline and standardization, which we addressed
early on by introducing project management practices
and enlisting our business partners in prioritization and
delivery. With the support of the CEO, we cancelled
more than half of the projects in the pipeline. And I
appointed transformation directors and embedded them
in the business. Now, we’re running at twice the pace
we were eighteen months ago. When a new business
initiative is kicked off, IT is involved from the start.
To address the lack of architecture, we built a complete
picture of the application portfolio using HCL’s application portfolio optimization service. We then identified
which applications were already being used across the
enterprise (making them good candidates for global
capabilities), which were necessarily geographyspecific, and which needed to be retired.
The ways for fans to consume music
and interact with artists are multiplying.
In fact, the whole business model and
music business supply chain are
changing. And we had to ﬁgure out
how to be part of this revolution and
then take it to the next stage.
We hired experienced enterprise architects to create a
platform view of the systems and processes necessary to
run the business, taking into account the future evolution of operations, particularly in regards to innovation,
agility, and the supply chain. We built application
closure targets into every transformation delivery
project so that rationalization was locked into the
strategy rather than being an afterthought. We have
continued that application decommissioning approach
as we have pursued our integration with Universal
Music Group, which completed its acquisition of EMI
in September 2012.