Digitalization for Media Companies in the Covid Era (an Interview with knk CEO Sebastian Mayeres)
What opportunities has the COVID-19 pandemic created for media companies?
The pandemic has been an accelerator in many important ways. New processes have been created, and organizations challenged to digitize many existing working workflows. Historic activities became archaic and new business models, by necessity, were created, especially the digitalization for media companies.
There was little debate as prompt action was clearly the order of the day.
All these changes require a more flexible, pragmatic and innovative mindset. In this context, “innovative” means one thing above all: trying new ideas and quickly learning from mistakes: what works is preserved, what doesn’t work is quickly abandoned.
The traditional cycle of extended internal debate was replaced with decisions made at what some might describe as “the speed of light“.
Will all these decisions be sustainable? Certainly not. But they have made a lasting contribution to changing organizational cultures at a far more accelerated pace, and this cultural renaissance must be nurtured.
We’ve all been nudged a bit in that direction by COVID. Just because something worked and was good yesterday doesn’t mean it will be the same tomorrow.
For this reason alone, the pandemic has had some positive effects on media organizations, despite all the decidedly overwhelmingly negative aspects on our everyday lives.
What are the Must-Haves?
The most important change was the switch to “Work-From-Home” to maintain communication so employees could work remotely. Without tools like Microsoft TEAMS and Zoom, in combination with fast Local Area Networks and modern hardware, we would not have been able to continue business.
Good webcams and headphones simplify communications especially when several people need to work together in their home offices or schools.
In the area of data storage, tools like cloud-based central document storage have become the key to collaborative work. Just recently, I was able to watch my colleagues working simultaneously in an Excel spreadsheet without hampering each other.
In addition, whiteboards such as “Mural” have become an indispensable aid to digital collaboration.
And last but not least, we have all somehow become webinar professionals. We know how to participate and many even know how to deliver them!
Which solutions and processes does knk use to help companies take advantage of the new developments and digitalization for media companies?
What I like about the question is the way it is stated. Many people think of digitalization in terms of software solutions. But in our opinion, this is the wrong approach. People and processes are at the heart of digitalization. For this reason, we look first and foremost at the processes and only then at the solutions. Without changing the old processes, it doesn‘t work. Thorsten Dirks, then CEO of Telefónica Deutschland, said back in 2015:
“If you digitize a crappy process, you get a crappy digital process.”
Even if the choice of words is a bit direct for some, we think he is absolutely right. Tools can help, but they are rarely the solution.
That’s why, in addition to our core products such as knkPublishing, knk365 Customer Engagement and Microsoft Teams, we have been offering process re-engineering and optimization as part of the knk toolkit. It may sound a bit old-fashioned, but it’s more important and more relevant than ever.