How Will a New Cable Industry Giant Impact Technology Standards?
The birth of a cable giant with Comcast’s purchase of Time Warner Cable might be unwelcome news for the subscribers, but for the technology that supports the cable industry, this means the realization of a long time goal: CONSOLIDATION. One of the biggest complaints in the industry is the lack of standards. The hope is that providing a more homogeneous field for cable companies, where the consolidation of systems will allow other companies to easily link to the master systems. Compare this to operating systems, there are only 3 or 4 in the world but the standardization of these has made it possible to create many services, applications and integrators around them, companies and users reap the benefits of a more standard technological environment.
With a merger, especially when a company becomes such a major player in the industry, there has to be a technological review showing what was implemented separately for each organization and a consolidation of the systems that handle their ad sales, their traffic and inventory, and their financial procedures. Time Warner and Comcast may have some similar technologies, but the creation of the new company will push the leading IT organizations that support the advertising part of their business, which is really their core source of revenue, to provide standardized services, eliminating the need for different platforms many companies deal with today. In fact, this merger will give the IT players in the field the perfect opportunity to consolidate their systems, create interfaces between CRM, production, traffic and financial systems to become ever more standardized. This will lead to a more structured IT platform that will support the industry’s business process more effectively.
The creation of massive companies that have an overwhelming presence in the marketplace is, from the IT point of view, an opportunity. From the market standpoint surely there are benefits and risks, but technology thrives with standards that allow seamless and more structured procedures to be in place, as opposed to having to support multiple processes, platforms or organizational structures. As an example, the consolidation of the way traffic and inventory will be managed for the cable industry will push for different systems providers and developers to work on a consolidated offering, or will have one of them become the undisputed leader in the industry. Both of those scenarios create a new standard that other companies will follow. Next, all the supporting systems around the core production process (CRM, Finance) will have to find a common platform to work with, integrate and exchange data, which will result in greater operational benefits. The impact of this merger will be felt in many more areas than just the cable offerings for subscribers. It will have a dramatic impact on many areas that support and keep the cable business running!