2 page Case Study
Posted: 12/11/2012
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Nation Media Group East Africa's Largest Media Group Leverages Data Sharing and Collaboration to Revolutionise the Way They Do Business

Improved document sharing, version control, and enhanced communications enable new and improved processes between varied media segments including television, radio, print, and online digital properties. New workflows and manual procedures automated during this transition have dramatically increased accuracy, efficiency, and productivity.

Situation

The expansion of the Group has been founded on a combination of organic growth and by directly exploring new media opportunities and seeking shareholdings in other countries. This has meant that it is comprised of a mix of media businesses, with widespread locations and different media platforms. While this diversity has no doubt brought significant gains to the shareholders it has also presented challenges in terms of collaboration and information sharing and management across the enterprise.

“We needed middleware to be able to share information between the various specialised systems used in
Gabriel Chege, Group IT Director at NMG
Gabriel Chege
Group IT Director
National Media Group
radio, television and print that
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* In our organisation, wherever you are, access to information is now seamless. *

Gabriel Chege
Group IT Director
National Media Group

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were running autonomously,” says Mr. Gabriel Chege, the Group IT Director at NMG. “It was not possible to find a single unified system that was capable of meeting all the requirements for all the media platforms and hence we required a middleware solution to achieve convergence across all media platforms as well as enable a 360-degree view of the enterprise.”

In addition to this need, many of the systems that were in use by the various media platforms involved manual processes that caused delays which hampered productivity and collaboration. Gabriel explains that, for instance, in newspaper's newsroom, journalists, photographers and drivers were allocated to cover events by manual entries into a logbook.

Every morning, journalists reporting for their shift would gather around the book to find out their news assignments for the day. The queues resulted in delays in assigning reporters to cover stories. Consequently, the need for an automated solution became inevitable.

Solution

In 2004, as part of NMG’s IT strategy review, an executive decision was made to engage Microsoft Consulting Services to roll out the first intranet at NMG’s Kenya office running on the Microsoft SharePoint 2001 Platform. NMG was among the first companies, if not the first, to deploy SharePoint in the region.

The successful implementation of this project subsequently led to IT’s decision in 2011 to upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2010. This upgrade was carried out entirely by the in-house IT team thanks to the experience gained over the years working with SharePoint as well as knowledge transfer provided by MCS during the first SharePoint deployment.

SharePoint 2010 has made it easier for NMG’s employees in diverse departments, remote offices and different countries to share data and collaborate. They use their personal web sites like My Site as well as Team Sites to share their documents, contracts, forms and other corporate data. “All our documents are now managed across document libraries by department with versioning,” says Gabriel. “Searching across the document libraries is now streamlined as documents are now indexed and configured to use Fast Search.”

Of course, such a sizable and widespread implementation is not without its challenges. Chief among these, according to Gabriel, was that they had to redo their entire Active Directory forest as a means to consolidate the organisation across all countries into a single entity. “We had to populate Active Directory with each staff member’s organisational data as well as the organisational reporting structures. This way staff can now find other members from the Executives down to the newest person in any of the four countries,” he says.

The SharePoint implementation took eight months from conception to deployment, in a two-phase deployment. Phase 1 involved the deployment of My Site to all users across all countries to allow users to familiarise themselves with the new SharePoint environment and the new collaboration capabilities Phase 2 involved the deployment of Document and Record Management Services on a section-by-section basis.

Gabriel says the benefits far outweigh the rigours of the SharePoint deployment. “In our organisation, wherever you are, access to information is now seamless.”

Benefits

Although NMG's various divisions are not yet maximising the full breadth of Microsoft SharePoint 2010’s capabilities, the benefits are already tangible. “We're not yet up to 100 percent, but we are already able to move documents between various people within the organisation,” says Gabriel. “There is a lot more electronic document sharing and versioning.”

He lists the provision of workflows, document management, records management, versioning, SharePoint Workspaces for collaboration, My Sites, Team Sites, search and indexing as some of the key benefits that SharePoint has brought to the Group.

In the newsroom, for example Gabriel explains that the SharePoint news desk management system is now used to assign journalists, photographers and drivers to cover various news events on the calendar. Journalists log into SharePoint from their workstations to see their respective assignments for the day – this can be done for news events as far months in advance. When they return from their assignments, they update the news desk management system to indicate the current status of the event coverage before filing their stories into the publishing system.

“This has meant far less delays and an increase in productivity and efficiency,” says Gabriel. “Journalists can be reassigned for other stories or other events easily, and because we're making such efficient use of everyone's time, it's giving us a competitive edge.”

As another practical example of how SharePoint has changed NMG's workflow is that of the radio news room management system. Radio stations scripts are now written, edited, prioritised, routed to editors, saved with the corresponding soundbite and delivered to the radio host who reads them and plays the accompanying soundbite on air. This entire process is fully digital and complete with workflows.

“Reporters from the field can update their stories in SharePoint,” he says. “These are then prioritised and routed within SharePoint for editing, setting the running order, adding soundbites and played and read out on air.”

Gabriel says that an unexpected benefit of the system has been that employees in the different departments and locations of organisation are now getting to search and to know each other and collaborate over SharePoint. “It's improved the interpersonal relationships and team-work in the organisation as well.”

Having gained competitive advantage, efficiency, productivity, 360-degree functionality and an improvement in organisational culture through the SharePoint roll-out at NMG, Gabriel says he would recommend the solution to any other organisation.
Solution Overview




Organization Profile
Kenyan-based Nation Media Group (NMG) is the largest independent media organisation in East and Central Africa and was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1959. It has offices in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, and owns three television channels, five radio stations and eight newspapers distributed in four countries, as well as various digital properties.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Business Productivity - Collaboration

Vertical Industries
Media & Cable

Country/Region
Kenya

Languages
English

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