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DMG Media CIO Steve Homan interview - Building a modern media IT team

Mark Chillingworth | June 23, 2016
Media giants DMG Media and its CIO Steve Homan have focused on developing a skilled workforce to meet omnichannel demands

"As a CIO, the role is about putting the best technology in the best place that makes the most sense," he explains. "When it comes to loyalty programmes, my role is to support the CMO and CEO." These have helped direct business opportunities around travel, motoring, gardening, health and homes.

Homan is clear though, the editorial stance of the newspaper and its editor Paul Dacre are set in stone. "In a business with such a strong editorial voice, it's a different conversation, they are world class at what they do," he says of where data and editorial divide. The 66-year-old editor in chief Dacre has been at the helm of the Mail titles since 1992.

As well as major Software-as-a-Service tools such as Salesforce, Homan has brought in niche tools to help teams deliver on customer expectations.

"If you look at what we have with Salesforce, it is a rich exhaust of sales and a complex world of fulfilment," he says of bringing in tools to help advertising teams manage the ever increasing array of sales targets, as well as difference sales vehicles they have available to them. "We can do stuff with the sales teams to allow them to do things simply," adds the CIO.

It isn't just simplifying enterprise tools to free sales teams to spend more time on the road and with clients that enthuses Homan. Our conversation moves on to the latest consumer devices, and the CIO is fascinated by the potential of the iPad Pro for media organisations.

"You can see it is a rich experience and what that will do to dwell times," he says of trying to retain online readers on websites for enough time to justify an advertiser's spend. Homan believes the true power of the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Amazon consumer product set has not yet been fully realised.

Homan joined the DMG Media business, first as CTO for what was then called A&N Media from gym and fitness organisation Fitness First, where he was CIO for four years.

"At Fitness First my role was to build a core platform for a global business and then to take that across 21 countries. It was a core platform that had to deliver billing, sales, club management and the group's digital services.

"The pace was fast as it was preparing for an IPO in 2010," he says of his time there. Although on the face of it a Daily Mail reader may appear radically different to a Fitness First member and customer, for a CIO the information and technology challenges are pretty similar. It's about the team, using information to increase customer loyalty and uses a range of tools to ensure that teams are working with customers, not processes.


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