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Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) is Australia’s biggest entertainment company with the ability to reach more than 95% of the Australian population through its radio, television and digital assets.
Led by the Triple M and Hit Networks, SCA owns 86 radio stations plus an additional 10 digital radio stations across metropolitan and regional Australia, and represents an additional 36 regional radio stations.
SCA broadcasts 92 free to air TV signals across regional Australia with Nine Network, Seven Network and Network Tens programming.
We spoke to Stephen Haddad, SCA’s Chief Technology Officer, about their partnership with AC3 and HPE and how it helped them modernise their environment, reduce downtime and improve ways of working.
Haddad identified there were a myriad of systems and legacy technology that needed to be overhauled and re-evauluated. “The three predominant challenges we faced in our technology group were predominantly around technical debt and the debt we inherited two or three years ago, when we started to transform our environment.” explains Haddad.
“The second challenge we faced was around our ability to converge both our traditional IT teams with our traditional engineering and broadcasting teams. As we started to converge those two teams a number of challenges presented themselves.
“The third challenge was around the ability to maintain and attract specialised technical skills in areas that we may not have historically had technologies or operated in and AC3 was able to augment or assist us by supporting technical expertise in those specific areas." said Haddad.
For a three-part challenge, it was fitting that SCA approached it with a three-part response. The three-part, or more accurately three-party, response comprised an alignment between SCA, AC3 and HPE.
“HPE played the role of working with our internal architects to look through our corporate strategy and find technical solutions that enabled us to deliver on that strategy.” explains Haddad.
“AC3, as a partner of HPE, had also already done some significant work for us and had a very detailed understanding of the complexities of our business, which has more than 55 different offices – all of which have infrastructure and technical support requirements.
“AC3 played the role of augmenting our staff and supporting us in deeply technical areas in which our teams had neither the expertise or the experience to deliver the required solutions.”
“They've assisted us or supported us in every step of the way.” stresses Haddad.
What this three-party response meant for SCA was a vast improvement in its technical operations.
“The results were a less complex, modernised footprint across our organisation,” says Haddad, “which has really provided us with an increased amount of stability and a reduction in the number of [adverse] incidences we experience.”
One of the primary solutions implemented by the partnership was an improved back-up system, which replaced the legacy solution for tape back-ups. The previous system regularly failed and required significant human interaction, says Haddad.
“We designed our storage strategy with a view to replacing our complex 3Par platform with Nimble.
Nimble was better suited to our performance requirements, scaling with us as demand increased and reducing our technical support and configuration overheads thanks to the predictive analytics.
“But now with a modern and fit-for-purpose solution, which is scalable and highly reliable, this has reduced our risk in a highly extensible solution to reduce the time and effort required to support it.” The less complex footprint has had immediate and tangible results. “We’ve had a 26 percent reduction in incidences,” notes Haddad. “We’ve reduced our risk and removed tens of hours of manual labour. We now also have a well-defined and simpler partner and vendor landscape.”