“Searching for stories: safe and smart"
Customer interview: SkyHighTV
Sara de Waal, Februari 2022 - Hilversum, The Netherlands
"Skyhigh TV annually produces more than forty programs, including many well-known Dutch programs such as De slimste mens, Het familiediner, Over mijn lijk en Hij is een zij. "
Every season, the editorial team of each program is looking for interesting participants, organizations and celebrities. Until recently, the editors collected the data of the approached persons in Excel sheets, but it was difficult to keep an overview that way. When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became more strict in 2018, it gave Skyhigh TV the final push to look for a new system that would be both GDPR-proof and user-friendly.
" Standard software doesn’t match our working method. Kempen Automatisering reasoned the other way around: what is it you need? "
Albert Quarles van UffordCFO Skyhigh TV
Developing what you need
One of Skyhigh TV’s most important wishes was to have a high degree of flexibility in the database. Skyhigh’s CEO Albert Quarles van Ufford explains: ‘We initially looked at ready-to-use CRM packages and tried to fit our business processes into an existing framework. But standard software simply didn’t match our working method.
Kempen Automatisering reasoned the other way around: not aligning us with a system but aligning a system with our needs. This way, they created a custom database in FileMaker, based on our wishes. For example, what’s of great importance to us is that potential participants and celebrities are properly approached by the right people. Therefore, the system had to be designed to guarantee this.
We also wanted all information to be managed in one central location, so that there would be no misinformation or misunderstandings about whether someone has already been called or not. In addition, we wanted a more integrated input. Ideally, an automated data flow, from online forms and our AFAS software right into the database. Kempen has ensured that all these wishes have been incorporated into the system. So, we’re very satisfied with this collaboration!'
"Skyhigh TV has many employees who deal with personal data all day long. With this system, we guarantee that data is safe."
Mariska WitteExecutive Producer Skyhigh TV
Skyhigh TV has a lawyer who was closely involved in the development of the software. She made sure that the system would comply with all AVG legislation. Software developer Maarten Huijs of Kempen Automatisering explains: 'The distribution of rights within the system, in particular, was an important part. In accordance with the GDPR, we have ensured that the information is bundled and encrypted in one location, and is only accessible to authorized employees.'
At Skyhigh TV, privacy plays a major role under all circumstances. Executive Producer Mariska Witte explains: 'We build a relationship of trust with the participants, and of course, we wish to keep that trust. Skyhigh TV has many employees who work with data all day long. It’s important that only employees who are linked to a program and who have certain rights can see the personal data of participants and celebrities.
This way we prevent an intern from spontaneously calling his favorite artist, or sensitive information ending up with the wrong person. In addition, it’s important that people give explicit permission for the use of their data. People should be able to unsubscribe, or indicate that they want to be completely removed from our system.’
"‘Even when we have seemingly impossible wishes, Kempen never says it isn’t possible. If we think something is important, they make sure it’s taken care of"
Mariska WitteExecutive Producer Skyhigh TV
Sort faster and better
Casting & Research editor Astrid Ottens works with the system on a daily basis and praises the practical search functions. ‘Of course, a new system always takes some getting used to, but the added value is obvious.
Previously we worked in Outlook files or in Excel sheets, in which it’s difficult to sort by characteristics, especially on the specific characteristics that are important to us. The new system has been specially designed for this. When we search the database for specific keywords, we have an overview of potential participants for a program in no time.
Moreover, the system is built in such a way that new employees can quickly get started with it, there is an intuitive logic in it. It’s also very well-arranged and you can add many details: for example, you can indicate which people you still need to call. With this system, the administration is definitely in better order.
Step by step development
About ten editorial teams of Skyhigh TV programs now work with the system. Eventually, most teams will use it. Mariska explains: 'We started with a number of editorial teams, to test it and see what could be improved. There has already been a lot of useful feedback. Kempen Automatisering has always responded quickly to the feedback, which is great in a collaboration. Even when we come up with seemingly impossible wishes, they never say: that’s not possible. If we think something is important, they make it happen.'
Another important advantage of the system is that an extensive database is built up. Astrid explains: 'Ultimately, we want to build a very large database of potential participants. We used to work per project: we’d approach a large group of people for a program, but afterward, we would no longer do anything with the data of people who didn’t participate in this specific program. While they may have an interesting story, such as a very large family or a special history, and might want to participate in another program in the future. Now we have a growing overview of personal stories of participants that we can call again. This way the database becomes more and more beneficial!'
Albert notes that with the arrival of this database, a lot has been automated. ‘The integration with our business software AFAS is very useful: all data about the broadcaster and the roles of the employees are automatically stored in the database.
This way, we prevent errors in input and it saves us a lot of work. Especially at a company of our size, where interns and employees come and go.
Soon we’ll also start using an online registration form, which is linked to the central environment. If participants fill in this form, all their data will immediately appear in the system, so we’ll immediately have an extensive profile. If they indicate that they’re interested in a certain program, they’re also immediately linked to that program. The relevant editors will then receive a notification. Right now, this process is much more cumbersome: forms come in via e-mail and then the data has to be entered manually into our own documents. Finally, we now also have various automatic e-mail functionalities: for example, we can ask large groups of people if they want to participate in something, or if they want to update their profile. The system knows exactly who submitted a consent form, so only those people are emailed. All in all, the processes are therefore a lot faster, more organized and safer than before.'