Communications, Media, and Technology Summit: Why Innovation Is the Only Way Forward

Business leaders in the communications, media, and technology industries at a recent Workday summit discussed what matters most as they find new ways to reach their customers.

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It’s a balancing act on the fine line between success and failure for many businesses—innovating to stay ahead of the competition while making sure they can reliably deliver the product or service their customers want. For communications, media, and technology (CMT) companies, it’s all about meeting consumers where they are. But here’s the fun part for CMT—those consumers keep changing what they want and how they want it. 

So, CMT companies live in a constant state of flux, driven by technology and a relentless race to stay ahead of consumers. This opportunity-dressed-as-a-challenge was one of the themes of a fireside chat during Workday’s recent communications, media, and technology summit, which brought together industry experts and Workday customers to talk about what matters to CMT companies today. 

The panelists were Liz Brittain, CFO at cybersecurity company HackerOne, Perri Ma, global head of HCM at WarnerMedia, and Kevin McDonald, vice president of BPO governance and HR operations at media company Scripps. John Hugo, vice president of financials and go-to-market at Workday, led the chat, and kicked off the conversation by asking about the biggest market opportunities and challenges for their companies. 

At HackerOne, Brittain shared that the last 12 months made cybersecurity even more important for their customers, Ma from WarnerMedia talked about how organizational transformation forced them to simplify how they do business, including merger and acquisition activity (and since the summit, they’ve experienced more change as they merged with Discovery).  

Transformation is a common theme in conversations about communications, media, and technology, and it came through in the fireside chat as the panelists talked about trends. McDonald talked about how Scripps has transformed itself, spinning off its newspapers in 2015 and changing each year to meet consumers where they are in today’s digital world. Ma also mentioned the importance of delivering content to where consumers want it and adapting to trends and disruption, like the meteoric rise of subscriptions to HBO Max during the pandemic.

Simplifying With an Enterprise Management Cloud

The conversation then turned to the panelist’s relationship with Workday, and why they chose the Workday enterprise management cloud. Ma said “Workday forces you to simplify,” and since everything is connected, you can adapt quickly to adopt new parts of Workday. 

Before Workday, Brittain shared that HackerOne had to consolidate financials in a spreadsheet. But now, “when you have financials, HCM, expenses, purchasing, planning all working together in one seamless system, it makes life so easy,” she said. She can now look up information she wants on her own without having to query her team, and she knows she’ll never have to do a system change or worry about integrations and releases. 

“When you have financials, HCM, expenses, purchasing, planning all working together in one seamless system, it makes life so easy.”

Liz Brittain Chief Financial Officer HackerOne

At Scripps, McDonald said, “we wanted truly integrated HR and financials. The day we went live on Workday, we were able to immediately eliminate 32 interfaces.” The strength of the Workday community was another factor for him, and he appreciates how you can get advice from another customer and go try it, since everyone is on the same version. 

“We wanted truly integrated HR and financials. The day we went live on Workday, we were able to immediately eliminate 32 interfaces.”

Kevin McDonald Vice President of BPO Governance and HR Operations Scripps

The Future of Work

The future of work and the future of CMT bookended the conversation. Approaches vary when it comes to returning to the office, and are likely to evolve in the months ahead. 

For Brittain, HackerOne was already a heavily distributed company, and she thinks that their offices will become a place for the collaboration that they value highly, rather than just a place to sit side by side and work. Some, like Ma, are working through a tiered approach to office returns depending on the type of work that employees do, and McDonald expressed that it’s great to have the technology in place that lets work happen from anywhere. 

Looking ahead with predictions for the future of CMT, Ma reiterated a focus on direct-to-consumer, with a watchful eye on getting the content customers want right to where they want it. McDonald connected the concept of “meeting them where they are” to employees as well, since a distributed workforce will become even more common. Speaking for the office of the CFO, Brittain emphasized that CMT companies will seek out ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) to get their teams out from under the grind and help them focus on more engaging work. 

There was plenty more great content at the summit, including a session on digital transformation in the pandemic from Vijay Tella, CEO at Workato, and a deep-dive into industry trends from Justin Joseph, director of product strategy for CMT at Workday. So if you didn’t get a chance to attend, you can register to view the on-demand replay here.

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