HGTV Meets Travel Channel: An IT Merger's Ticket to Success

By Robert Lemos, CIO |  Business, bsm

When lifestyle media company Scripps Networks acquired the Travel Channel in late 2009, its IT group had to deal with managing another network without an increase in staff.

The merger went fairly smoothly, Scripps IT leaders say, in large part because Scripps Networks--which also owns the Food Channel, HGTV and the DIY Network--had incorporated business service management (BSM) into its own operations. The company could automatically provision new systems and change policies. And failures and misconfigurations were detected before they cascaded into more serious outages.

"We have a one-stop shopping view of what is going on," says Karen McCague, director of IT management and service for Scripps. "Having everything centralized, having everything in one place, everyone is looking at the same things at the same time. It has really promoted collaboration between different groups and helped us get on the same page," she says.

[Want more advice? See CIO.com's Five Lessons for Consolidating Data Centers At Merger Time. ]

The owner of the consumer-focused TV networks and Internet sites is one in a growing number of companies tapping into business service management (BSM) software, which focuses on simplifying, standardizing and automating IT management. One goal of BSM: Smaller teams can provide better service.

Not Just a Pretty View

For Scripps, the number of outages that affected Scripps' networks has dropped, because the company finds misconfigurations and server issues before they affect the network, using BSM tools from BMC Software. Mean time to repair issues has also plummeted by 64 percent, McCague says.

"Before we would get a lot of calls to our service desk that there was a problem, and now we are catching it and fixing the issues before the customers call," McCague says.

The acquisition of the Travel Channel was markedly different than another major IT project in 2007, when a major promotional push around Thanksgiving resulted in round-the-clock IT work for weeks, because server management used homegrown scripts to monitor most aspects of operation.

Scripps is not alone. During the past five years, business service management (BSM) software has gained adherents among C-level executives, says Jean-Pierre Garbani, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research. By considering what functions of the IT department are necessary business services, companies can focus on doing those jobs better, he says.

"Instead of being focused on the infrastructure itself, they are focusing on service to the end user," Garbani says. "To do that, you have to bridge the vision of IT and the vision of serving the end users."


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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