Khaw Boon Wan urges patience as he pledges to fix ‘digital plumbing and piping’ in SPH Media products, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – There are plans to repair and replace the “digital plumbing and plumbing” in the new media entity Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and its chairman on Wednesday (May 12) urged Singaporeans to be patient and allow the new entity some time to accelerate its digital transformation plans.

This is because transformation is not only a technical exercise, but also involves a cultural change that will take time and effort to implement – especially for an existing company with established business traditions, said Khaw Boon Wan, who will be the future chairman. . -formed SPH Media Trust.

In a speech to staff on Wednesday (May 12), which was streamed live from the SPH auditorium, Mr. Khaw noted that he has not yet explored SPH Media’s existing IT infrastructure.

But he will not be surprised if his legacy IT systems, for example, severely limit efforts to immediately improve the user interface and user experience of SPH Media’s digital products.

“We will work hard to overcome these limitations. We hope our readers and subscribers will have patience with us as we repair and replace the ‘digital plumbing and plumbing’. Please be patient and give us some time.”

At a press conference following the town hall, Mr. Khaw outlined his main priorities for the new entity.

This includes ensuring a smooth transition to SPH Media Trust after the restructuring of SPH, having competitive wages and benefits to recruit and retain talent, and improving the user experience of SPH products.

“In digital transformation, our digital products must be so seamless and easy to use that… the customers will be (better) able to access and subscribe to our products first,” said Mr. Khaw.

Using the Kindle e-book reader as an example, Mr Khaw, a former minister who retired from last year’s general election, said he read a lot and bought a book every week from bookstores.

“But for three years now, I’ve just been all the way on Kindle. And it’s so easy, one click,” he said, adding that the e-book reader allows him to instantly find books he’d like to read on the Kindle. shop, and to read samples before buying the e-books.

Such a seamless and direct process makes it easy for a potential customer to access the product. If this transaction took longer, he may have lost interest after a few days and the purchase may not even have been made.

“I don’t know what our level of user experience is in the case of straitstimes.com or zaobao.com. I hope it’s as good as Kindle, but if it isn’t then I think (we will) acknowledge that and working hard trying to catch up with the best in the class. And to me, Kindle is a great example of the best in the class, “added Mr. Khaw adds.

The incoming chairman also said he would like to improve the user experience of the media entity’s internal clients – journalists in the newsroom.

Together with his team, he would like to sit by the newsroom to understand the workflows of journalists and their daily lives – from the moment an idea comes true to the moment the project and article is completed. and is pushed to the public, both in print and digitally.

“Can we use technology to make your life easier and maybe even faster so that it can get (something) from idea to the public as quickly as possible? said Mr. Khaw.

Along the way, he would also like to understand the limitations that journalists face in the newsroom, and whether there are intelligent ways to overcome some of these limitations. “I define this as the experience of an internal customer, and I definitely want to be able to make a difference there,” he added.

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