In the final instalment of the interview, Andrew Miller, Guardian Media Group (GMG) CEO, talks about technology and the importance of educating aspiring UK developers.
The Guardian has embraced the digital world full on, not only by adopting its digital-first strategy, but by being one of the first major publishers to champion the use of ad exchanges. GMG CEO Andrew Miller spoke to new media age about the role of technology, the importance of training UK developers and partnering with tech firms.
Where do you stand on automated trading such as ad exchanges?
It is an inevitability of doing business in a digital age and it is a part of life. We need to embrace ad exchanges and work with them. The Guardian was one of the early adopters. It reinforces our view of the internet: it’s happening, you can’t deny that it’s happening and you can’t stop it happening, so it’s much better to be part of it than ignore it.
It’s still very early days in that area and I can see it changing quite significantly, but I think too many publishers have been in denial about the changes that are happening.
A number of online publishers have partnered with or acquired technology firms recently rather than developing technology in-house – what do you think is driving this trend?
It’s a really interesting challenge. At the heart of all these partnerships has been the need to accelerate during internal change while embracing technology. If you acquire companies, it’s always very hard integrating them. The danger with acquisition is you’re potentially betting on specific companies with specific individuals to find the solution.
Good partnerships with good technology companies can make a huge difference, particularly given how quickly the space is evolving.
How do you see this trend developing throughout 2012?
It is a real challenge because there isn’t an easy way for developers to emerge through the education route in the UK. That really concerns me. Often the reason for acquisitions and partnerships is because companies can’t find easy access to people who have got the right skills in the market place or it could be a legacy business that can’t evolve quickly enough.
There’s a big issue brewing in the UK around having enough people with the right skills to cope with the changes.
Would The Guardian ever consider partnering with a technology firm?
We have traditionally always developed things in-house, but we’ve got to open our minds a bit more to partnerships in the future than we have done in the past.