The media industry in general and the way people consume news have undergone a drastic change since the advent of the Internet. At the same time, the way media gathers and reports news has also changed radically. With the Web editions of newspapers and magazines sidelining the print editions, media houses are increasingly under pressure to deliver news dynamically and publish stories minutes after they break.
This is exactly the situation Kerala’s Malayala Manorama group found itself a year ago. Malayala Manorama prints 2.5 million copies of its newspaper daily. It is published from 15 centers including various cities in India and Gulf. The group has TV news and entertainment channels, radio and online presence. The website gets 10 million unique visitors per month. 40 percent of online users use mobile devices to access the site.
Till recently, the reporters of this publication used to jot down notes on a piece of paper while on the field and head back to the office to file their reports. This was a time-consuming process and the publication could upload stories on its website only several hours after they broke. So it was up to the group’s DGM-IT V.V. Jacob and his team to devise a solution that could speed up the news reporting and publishing process.
“We were looking for a solution which will allow our reporters to fetch critical news quickly, as well as for our employees to respond to certain critical tasks with no time delay. This led us to evaluate enterprise mobility,” says Jacob.
Jacob and his team developed a mobile app called Smart Flow. The application was designed to allow the reporters to file their stories on the move. “With this app, reporters can not only file their stories, but also take pictures and videos and securely transmit them to our servers,” says Jacob.
Having developed the mobile app, the next task was to ensure that the mobile devices that would connect to the corporate network were managed securely. Jacob and his team opted for a mobile device management (MDM) solution.
“The MDM we used is a container based component. With it, we could partition the mobile devices. One is the personal partition and the other is the official partition. The official partition allows users to connect to our internal network securely,” says Jacob.
The advantage of the MDM is that it creates a tunnel between machine and the corporate network. Corporate data is stored and encrypted on the device. At any point in time, when any device is lost, the data can be wiped. The security and the mobile device usage policy play a vital role in the success of any mobility project.
Mobility adoption at Malayala Manorama had its challenges. The availability of numerous types of mobile devices and various versions of operating systems resulted in a problem of choice. Jacob had to restrict the choice to certain versions of operating systems. “Ultimately we decided that users need to have either Android 5.0 or above, iOS 9.0 or above, or Windows 10,” he says. They also faced some challenges with respect to the MDM software, which they resolved with the help of the support team.
Since the implementation of mobility, Malayala Manorama has been able to significantly increase the productivity of its reporters. The solution is also used by the sales and marketing teams for internal functions. Jacob says that staff productivity has gone up by a significant 40 percent.
The publishing group is now able to push stories online minutes after the stories break and this has resulted in greater traction with readers. As the media house follows a BYOD model, it is saving on maintaining the devices.
Moving forward, the publishing house is planning to integrate data loss protection (DLP) and digital rights management (DRM), which involves protecting content in photos, news, videos or social media. “We have to prevent leakages and implement rights management,” says Jacob.