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Workflows and people

25 June 2012
Workflows and people

Most delegates agreed that the 2012 IT Broadcast Workflow conference, organised by TVBEurope, was the most successful yet, covering a broad range of case studies and triggering lively debates. But one of the key messages to emerge was not about technology but about the vital importance of getting buy-in from the people who will be the day-to-day custodians of new workflows. The concerns of experienced staff moving into the new era of IT-empowered systems was best encapsulated by Darren Munro of Supersport in South Africa, who said his team talked about “my tapes” but “our files”. With tape, a piece of content existed as a single, physical entity, and ownership of the content is attached to the tape. Charlie Cope described the remarkably successful development of a complete new infrastructure for BBC Sport at Salford Quay in the north-west of England, and showed how the new file-based system delivered huge productivity benefits. But he also explained with candour how the people issues remain a challenge, particularly for this project where the staff were not only changing the production paradigm, they were also relocating their families and homes 300km. If a producer gets a great interview then they naturally want to ensure that they keep it for their own programme, and not get scooped by another show taking soundbites from it. The idea that all content sits on a network specifically designed for sharing challenges that entirely reasonable concept. Anyone who ever visited the traditional television newsroom will have seen the stash of tapes under the desks of producers and journalists. The personal content store has not gone away: today it uses hard disks and memory sticks. Virtually every speaker in the day talked about the importance of managing change and taking the staff with you. As the BBC’s Cope concluded, the technology is easy (relatively speaking): it is people and process that is tough.

 

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