DB Corp selects GCP as platform to drive transformation to real-time operation

Headquartered in Bhopal, India, and listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, DB Corp is India’s largest newspaper group. DB Corp publishes 62 editions in four languages and sells about 6 million newspaper copies per day. Beyond newspapers, DB Corp operates 29 radio stations, 13 portals and two mobile apps.

Like the media industry in general, DB Corp is having to adapt to readers’ increasing preference for accessing news content online - particularly on mobile devices. However, online advertising is yet to fill the gap left by the leakage of advertising revenues from print. Further disruption occurred when the Indian Government’s implemented a demonetization program in November 2016 that prompted a sharp surge in e-commerce transactions and online banking.

Facing a tsunami of change, DB Corp is developing and executing new strategies to engage consumers and build revenues. These plans include evolving from an IT-supported business to an IT enabled company, and finally to an IT-led business that complements its newspapers with online news and updates throughout the day. DB Corp is building e-commerce properties that leverage its print brands and is moving to increase advertising across its mobile services. Furthermore, the business is looking to capture information about readers and customers to tailor its publications and services more closely to their needs.

Expertise in managing large data volumes behind GCP selection

However, DB Corp’s on-premises infrastructure and traditional applications could not deliver the flexibility and agility needed to support the transition to real-time news delivery. In late 2015, DB Corp started evaluating public and private cloud services, including cloud-based application suites and platform as a service offerings. This process led the business to deploy G-Suite and start working with Google Cloud Platform (GCP). “We selected GCP due to Google’s experience in delivering cloud services, and because nobody else manages data volumes of the magnitude that they do,” says R D Bhatnagar, Chief Technology Officer, DB Corp. “We were also impressed by the fact GCP had a local team with the skills and expertise to educate us about how best to use its products.”

DB Corp is migrating its websites and key applications to GCP. The business is also upgrading its network to remove bandwidth restrictions that could impede the value provided by GCP services. The scale and scope of DB Corp’s G Suite and GCP projects has required the business to engage four partners and access technical expertise and support from Google itself. Technical and business experts from the platform as a service provider are providing monthly updates and training sessions with various groups within the organisation, including user communities and the board of directors.

The Google projects at DB Corp are driving a sharp increase in the speed, agility and performance of the business. “As a senior leader within the organisation, I see the key benefits of GCP and other technologies being lower cost; greater efficiency; and improved business continuity,” says Bhatnagar. “For example, the current data center team can be redeployed to other initiatives as the technical experts at GCP will be undertaking most of the management and maintenance tasks.

DB Corp is already making business and financial performance data available in real time from a single source, enabling business teams to make sound, consistent decisions about digital strategies and other key activities. These teams may also address issues or problems before they compromise the quality of content and services provided to consumers.

Deploying Chrome for Meetings across various offices has enabled teams to communicate and collaborate effectively in real time, breaking down geographic barriers, ensuring each member is on the same page and ensuring the business transformation proceeds smoothly. Sales teams are using Google Forms and Google Sheets to centralize and control tasks such as sales forecasting, reducing the time required to complete reports and updates from up to a week to two hours.

Furthermore, various teams are using calendars to improve organization and productivity. For example, editorial teams are using calendars to track Indian holidays and festivals and deliver relevant content to readers. Reporters are also using Google Cloud Speech API and Google Cloud Translation API services to capture and document interviews and source material for articles at accuracy rates of 95 percent for Hindi alone.