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CIO50 2019: #26-50 Glen Francis, Singapore Press Holdings

  • Name Glen Francis
  • Title Chief Technology Officer
  • Company Singapore Press Holdings
  • Commenced role May 2018
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team No
  • Technology Function 230
  • Related

    The media industry in Singapore, and the wider market, is being disrupted by technology giants with new approaches to the creation and distribution of content.

    At Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), the need to innovate and transform remains strong as media organisation continues to expand into new areas such as digital and data journalism.

    Driven by Glen Francis as Chief Technology Officer, one of the leading innovations has centred around the deployment of cloud and collaboration technologies, allowing the company to boost revenue, cut costs and improve operational efficiency.

    In addition to going paperless - by converting over 500 paper forms into online forms and applications - SPH also heavily invested in big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to overhaul newsroom processes.

    Specifically, the media outlet leverages “robo-journalism” via automatic transcription and translation tools, automated face-capture and tagging tools, and a content recommendation engine tailored for news content.

    Through big data, SPH is also building a strong omni-channel first-party audience dataset to allow for audience profiling and targeting for both online and offline channels, as well as subscription propensity and churn prediction models to identify potential subscribers within the customer acquisition funnel.

    In the initial pre-implementation phases however, SPH lacked the required infrastructure, skill sets, expertise and mindsets to deliver on such projects.

    As a result, Francis and his team first adopted the “easier-to-implement” technology and then developed a cadence of consistent communication to stakeholders, management and board to receive the appropriate buy-in, before taking on the larger investments and initiatives.

    For example, Internet of Things solutions such as workplace productivity tools have enabled and empowered employees to adopt a growth mindset and assume more autonomy when contributing to the organisation’s transformation journey.

    Beyond technological innovation, the organisation has also encouraged the workforce to invest in personal growth by constantly up-skilling, re-skilling and learning via training and courses. 

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