Why Shaw's BlueSky TV Didn't 'Wipe Out'

Next page: New approach to ticketing systems

Shaw also had multiple ticketing systems that didn't all communicate with one another, so Santerre says the decision was made to try a new ticketing system for BlueSky and launch it across the entire organization. Her team was charged with creating a new install process that could be executed in the same amount of time as a traditional set-top box install, and be scalable to 1,000 installs a day.

"Instead of us, as the folks that sat in that boardroom for days, we asked the people who actually had to do the work. We brought them together and said 'if you had to do this, how would you do it?'... We used some of our best practices, the pieces we knew worked well. But at the same time, we weren't going to kid ourselves. The business processes were changed across the board."

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When it comes down to it, Santerre says deploying new technology wasn't the issue; the major challenges were creating new business processes, getting buy-in from the operations team and executing change management within the organization. In deploying a new platform like BlueSky TV, cable companies must communicate across the board why they're deploying a new technology that could be seen as a major disruption to the operations team, says Santerre.

"Change management will give you the scale and velocity you need. It'll also give you the right people to react to it without blame, and some buy-in that it'll benefit everyone, including the operations teams," she adds.

Last August, a new study from Ottawa-based research and consulting firm Boon Dog Professional Services Inc. showed cord-cutting in Canada is slowing, which is in contrast to the continued increase of cord-cutting in the US. According to former Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Adi Kishore, "The firm's co-founder and partner, Mario Mota, 'almost entirely' attributed the slowdown to a 'significant turnaround' at Shaw Communications Inc., resulting from the deployment of Comcast's X1 platform to support its new BlueSky TV service." (See Comcast's X1 Clips Canadian Cord-Cutting.)

BlueSky TV is currently being deployed throughout Shaw's large western Canadian footprint, with no limits to the number of installs per day, and at a rate as quick or quicker than legacy TV installs, says Santerre.

"Back-office systems are disruptive. Syndicated operations are disruptive. Make sure you have the buy-in from all the levels and that you can do it right," she advised.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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