Strategic use of social media makes it an enabler

by Sohini Bagchi    Apr 18, 2013

Poonacha Machaiah

Qyuki, a social networking platform launched by industry stalwarts Shekhar Kapur and A R Rahman, has already created a buzz in the media and entertainment industry. Poonacha Machaiah, CEO of Qyuki tells CXOtoday how the company is marching ahead by leveraging cutting-edge technologies. 

What is the concept behind Qyuki?

A sporty conversation between two creative minds, Shekhar Kapur and A R Rahman led to the birth of Qyuki in 2012. The objective of this social expression platform is to empower people’s self-expression and help them build their creative identity with the help of user-generated content. We are targeting the 100 million Internet users and 900 million mobile phone users in the country. From that perspective, the platform uses a crowd-sourcing technique to develop content such as music, blogs and personal videos. The company since its inception has roped in Cisco for the hardware and networking requirement. Here the content such as video, text, images and music is moderated by experts which can be done online or through a mobile phone. The platform is aimed at Asian audiences with a strong focus on the Indian market and enables creative individuals and businesses to form communities that helps them network, collaborate, share and showcase their creative talent on various subjects.

Can you tell us something about your business model and how has IT contributed in the growth of the organization?

To promote the social expression platform, we followed a hybrid model that takes into consideration marketplace model, subscription model, premiere content as well as the advertising model. IT has contributed to every aspect of the organization. Our entire IT infrastructure has been backed by Cisco systems. We have moved some of our critical infrastructure to the cloud and also gone for server virtualization. We have deployed a digital rights management systems to prevent unauthorized redistribution of digital media and other copyright issues. We have also introduced an e-payment model on the website so that all transactions can be made online. Mobile is used for brand promotion and information to subscribers and we wish to explore this technology to take Qyuki to the next level. Our inhouse IT team has developed a Qyuki app that is available on platforms such as Android, Windows and iOS. We are there on all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others. We are using social media strategically so that it can act as a growth enabler, as we use the data from social media to analyze audeience behavior and enhance our online presence.

What are the biggest challenges in your sector and how do you use technology to overcome them?

The biggest challenge in our industry is the fact that we are unique and it becomes difficult to make people understand the concept. In the first place, Qyuki is not a product – it is the creation of abstract. So, the first step is to generate an interest through proper content and collaboration. From that perspective, social media can be a great enabler when used strategically. The other very important thing is to have a website that is interactive with easy navigation and is user friendly. So, we have built a website with rich interactive features that attract the viewers to stay on the site and understand the concept better. Currently, we are using Google analytics to track and monitor the viewers on the site and how we can increase the number of visitors and engage them to the community. Social media anakytics is another area we are extremely upbeat at present. We would like to move into advanced analytics in the near future.

What is the role of the IT team in your organization?

There are two aspects of IT within the organization, one is the backend IT that requires bandwidth management followed by managing cost and compliance. We use a lot of customized tools and business models for our in house operations and mostly rely on open source technologies. So the IT department is expected to have adequate technical knowledge and expertise to deal with new and emerging technologies in order to create a competitive edge. The other area where technology plays an important role is in creating a unique customer experience. For this, we use IT both as a support system and a key enabler. As I said earlier, emerging technologies such as social media and mobile are increasingly helping us connect to our customers. To create an experience and build communities/network require a lot of innovation with technologies. And not only the IT leader, but every key person in the organization plays an active role in fostering customer-centric innovation.

What’s Qyuki’s future road map and how do you like to innovate with IT going forward?

We would like to position Qyuki as the one-stop self channeling content hub in india in the next one year and will continue to innovate with technology. We are exploring the marketplace concept further for greater collaboration. There are a number of untapped opportunities in video on cloud and mobility space, which we are going to bring out in the coming months. Going forward, we are bullish on streaming video content used for encoding and transcoding and emogram that measures and analyzes human expression based on graphics and information and are working in these areas. We are practicing a collaborative model where we are looking to partner with various market players with domain expertise to foster innovation in the organization.