Traditional television broadcasters now face more competition than ever before. With viewers accessing content in a variety of formats, from a range of digital services, on many different devices, it’s now even more important for established broadcasters to offer a superior experience.
ITV is the UK’s largest and oldest commercial television company. Created in 1955, it now broadcasts shows across a network of 15 regional licenses.
For ITV, the ability to respond to digital disruption is essential. That’s why Ian Cottrell, ITV’s Director of Broadcast Distribution and Services, implemented a large-scale drive for operational excellence. “People have a huge choice,” says Ian. “So we need to offer great customer experience and world-class quality”.
With almost 100 business users involved in the initial process improvement drive, Ian was keen to keep these team members engaged with operational excellence. That’s where MATS Low-code came in – helping team members take control of process improvement by becoming citizen developers.
ITV’s initial Low-code project was created by the Interactive Department, which prepares sponsored viewer competitions and coordinates voting for reality shows such as ‘The X Factor’. The team took part in a two-day MATS training course, before tackling their first Low-code development project.
Within a few days the team had created a bespoke workflow system that keeps everyone ‘on the same page’ regarding the set-up and approval of all competition and voting campaigns. Significant benefits include removing the need for manual, easy-to-lose emails, improving task assignment and efficiency for all involved, and the ease with which ITV can now demonstrate compliance to external auditors.
After the success of the Interactive Department’s project, Ian decided to trial Low-code in the Broadcast Distribution Department: “We felt this would allow us to experiment, and to try out some of our improvement ideas”. Ian foresaw several benefits to process owners configuring business applications: Continued engagement in the Operational Excellence drive, faster improvements and less dependency on specialist IT resources.
Working in partnership with MatsSoft, ITV established a MATS Low-code Innovation Lab, which gave ITV the ability to launch multiple small-scale experiments, facilitated by training, mentoring and access to the MATS Low-code development platform in the Cloud.
One of these experiments was the development of a new system to support the role of the Duty Manager’s Officer (DMO). If an incident occurs that either interrupts transmission, or causes a last-minute change to planned schedule, the DMO needs to alert the rest of the business and then manage the resolution as quickly as possible, to safeguard viewers and revenue.
A fully functioning prototype for the DMO application was developed from scratch in just two days; with a full solution completed based on interactive feedback. The DMOs now have a standardized, single platform for incident management, which automatically alerts all required stakeholders of incidents or late notice schedule changes within 10 seconds. That’s a huge improvement compared to previous manual composition of Emails and text messages.
MATS is now established as the Broadcast Distribution Department’s standard Low‑code platform, and there are further projects in the pipeline.
With the MATS Low-code platform, both departments are now largely self-sufficient and able to make changes to their systems without waiting in the IT queue or relying on outside developers.
For the Interactive Department, the new system is enabling them to create a fully traceable record of all campaigns, which makes both day-to-day tasks and the auditing process much simpler. As its next step, the Interactive Department plans to extend the platform to integrate with ITV’s data warehouse for campaign analytics to provide valuable insights.
From Ian’s perspective, the Low-code platform is supporting ITV’s operational excellence program by keeping process owners engaged in continuous improvement, because they’re able to configure and enhance many of the applications that they need. MATS is now established as the Broadcast Distribution Department’s standard Low-code platform, and there are further projects in the pipeline.
With the simplicity and versatility of Low-code clearly demonstrated, Ian hopes that additional departments will follow his lead: “Other parts of ITV have similar requirements, so we hope to see adoption of this Low-code approach spread elsewhere in the business.”
“It was great to actually go to MATS and design the system ourselves, rather than list a whole load of requirements and send them off to a developer.”
Jane Laurance, Head of Specialist Broadcast Schedules, ITV