Open collaboration, either by using open source development tools or engaging openly with the reader, is what the Guardian Media Group’s technology and editorial strategy is based on, its operations director has said.
According to Juliet Scott-Croxford, open is “at the heart of editorial and business and technology strategy, in terms of open source, how we develop new products, how we operate internally”.
Speaking to press at the Juniper Network Innovation event in London this week, Scott-Croxford said the most recent example of this was the Guardian’s new beta website, which has been in open source development over the last 18 months.
However, creating an ‘open’ culture in a business as old as the Guardian is not without its challenges, she admitted.
“With a 200-year-old business, you do have ways of working, silos and divisions that we’ve really had to break down,” she said.
“The way we work internally is very different. We have to work in a way that teams are cross-fertilising and sharing knowledge. It’s not only content that is key for us, it’s also the technology platforms that the content is on that is key to us.”
Although the Guardian carries out a lot of its development internally, and uses open source tools, it also uses software like Salesforce.com in the B2B and B2C businesses to help give it a single customer view.
“But we have our internal capability as well,” Scott-Croxford said. “We’ve invested heavily in our digital capability in terms of engineers, developers and product teams. We’ve been developing our beta site and app internally.”
Digital platforms and digital engagement are also key to the Guardian’s future growth, Scott-Croxford said, and key to this is getting to know exactly who its readers are.
“We reached 110 million unique browsers in September. A large proportion of our reach need to be users that are signed in and registered with us so that we can drive a more engaged audience.
“Knowing more about our audience through registration and signing in is driving a much deeper, loyal, richer engagement, where we can really drive relationships and build communities online and offline,” she said.