When Judith Batenburg started her job at Starz Entertainment six years ago, IT was isolated "by choice," she says. Starz's business is broadcasting -- the company provides premium movies and original programming -- not technology, and IT seemed happy to keep its head down and do its own thing. "I thought that was odd," says Batenburg, vice president of IT infrastructure and operations, "so over the course of the first few years, I worked hard to get the IT organization to see that they were there to serve a business need, not just provide email to people."
She got a chance to make her point in a big way when Starz undertook a multimillion-dollar technology and business process transformation, moving from a traditional broadcast delivery, or "playout," environment that ran on expensive, proprietary and aging tape equipment to an entirely IT-centric digital model.
During that project, an IT engineer who, in Batenburg's words, "typically hung out in his cube" evolved as a liaison between the broadcast and tech teams at the Englewood, Colo.-based company, primarily because he had a personal interest in the new technology. The ad hoc arrangement worked so well that Batenburg decided to create an official liaison position, with the title of IT solutions engineer.
"We've made a great opportunity," she says. "Now we want to capitalize and institutionalize it."