The role of the executive team is to remind all teams that only tangible outcomes on the key KPI defined beforehand are worth it.
Jacques-Edouard Guillemot is Senior VP Executive Affairs of the Kudelski Group.
Data is a core component of every business on the planet; it enables small retailers to efficiently manage their inventory and multinational financial institutions to understand global market changes. While many industries have taken great strides to harness the power of data, the pay-TV industry has historically lagged behind.
This is in part due to old business practices. Automation, improving customer service operations, reducing churn, delivering more targeted advertising, personalising content recommendations, and helping to optimise the full value and cost of their content portfolio – these actions are all crucial for modern pay-TV operators. And yet many are failing to accelerate this kind of change, simply because they do not fully understand the magnitude of what is at stake, especially when the biggest industry competitors are Facebook and Fortnite.
The transformational impact of data on a pay-TV operator could be likened to when Peugeot decided to go from pepper grinders to bicycles to cars; while the core technology remained the same, everything about the business shifted around it. This kind of business transformation must be harnessed and controlled by the executive board. For success to be guaranteed, here is what needs to be done at the top.
Define which key performance indicators need to be boosted
First, you need to look at what problem needs to be solved. The answer could be to increase revenues, reduce churn, reduce costs or even increase Ebitda, especially when debt is high. This gets more complicated when some compromises or combinations need to be made: ‘We want to increase revenues AND reduce churn’ can be a good example. Being clear on the real objectives we want to tackle will be a big service to the teams below. This will also be a good reference when needing arbitrage along the way.
Force results to be tangible
Mark Twain said, “To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This applies to data. While BI people are happy with scientifically pleasant predictive models, IT folks love large data lakes and businesspeople want the ability to play with all the data in real time. While all this is fun and rewarding, it doesn’t make a dime for the company.
The role of the executive team is to remind all teams that only tangible outcomes on the key KPI defined beforehand are worth it. Sometimes, the simplest and least sophisticated solutions are the most efficient, and the only thing that matters is ‘what is the next best action’ toward this subscriber, this piece of content, this technological issue, etc, in order to maximise retention, revenues or profits.
Break silos in the organisation
As it is transversal by nature, both for collection and usage, data is a good excuse for breaking the silos in the organisation. Some pay-TV operators are literally dying from old organisational practices. When it comes to fighting for survival, the ability to let information flow and to have experts from all relevant fields working together on the same projects, without politics, is a clear competitive advantage.
Not only can the executive team, through clear decision-making, enforce this attitude, it can also equip the teams with specific platforms aimed at collaboration and sharing business and data projects.
Give clear responsibility
As the IT and technology teams have to ensure smooth collection and sufficient quality of data, BI teams have to focus on providing business departments with solutions and tools tailored to their needs, with regular updates. The business teams have to articulate clearly their expectations in terms of both outcome and frequency.
The role of the executive team is to maintain this harmony and to get each player in the chain to trust the other one in their role. We have so often seen people in charge of collecting the data making assumptions on the business that diminish the quality of the data overall. The arbitration on role, responsibilities and monitoring has to come top-down from the boardroom.
Limit investment capability
Operators face a fragmented playing field with technologies and capabilities that are more advanced and rapidly evolving than ever before. The executive team has to restrict this infinite quest and only accept to pay for impact, in line with the KPIs defined. It is less sexy, but everyone is happier (and more successful).