Apprenticeship Levy, DevOps

Moving the BBC Music Platform to a cloud-based system

11 February 2020 by Isla Lightfoot

This Spring, Corndel will launch the UK’s very first levy-funded DevOps Engineering training programme. We are delighted to be delivering this programme in partnership with Softwire, a leading digital consultancy trusted by organisations including the BBC, News UK and many major high-street banks.

Learn more about Softwire and their brilliant work.

This case study explains how Softwire helped move the BBC Music Platform to a cloud-based system, highlighting the extensive industry expertise that has gone in to the design and development of the Corndel DevOps Engineering Diploma.

The Challenge

To create an interactive personal music experience for artists and the general public.

Recognising that digital trends in music were changing, the BBC wanted to modernise its high-profile music portal to offer new features and capabilities.

They envisioned having a music site where songs would appear as they were played on the various channels and users could add these songs to their playlists. The aim was to allow users to build up their own music collection based on their own interests, using the BBC and third-party services to listen to the tracks in full.

Softwire were asked to modernise the platform, overhauling their current technology and infrastructure to support a production-worthy system that could evolve with user needs.

The Solution

Softwire helped to restructure the applications architecture to make it cloud-ready.

They supported the BBC as it drew up its transformation roadmap for BBC Music. This included providing technical expertise to ensure the modernisation projects aligned with the corporation’s priorities and planned infrastructure evolution.

Softwire redesigned the user experience of the public-facing web application. Following this, Softwire consolidated all the music management tools into one (TUPAC), which linked with MusicBrainz to maximise all information sources. Softwire introduced the concept of a ‘record’ to create a unique identifier for a single performance of music that could be easily reconciled with third party sources. Following this, Softwire built a modern system supporting the development of new features, minimising risk to the organisation.

Using our extensive knowledge of BBC systems, Softwire carried out a seamless transition from the old to the new system, migrating dependent systems one by one during a period of dual running.

The Results

First trusted supplier to deploy to the cloud for the BBC.

The new platform redeveloped BBC Introducing, providing a springboard for new and aspiring artists to have their music heard by new audiences. Whilst the BBC worked internally to move from their own hosting infrastructure, Softwire were the first suppliers trusted to deploy cloud.

Improved User Experience

The UX is hugely improved, thanks to a new interface design and much faster performance. Data quality and data-handling are better across the platform, resulting in superior search results and recommendations. Users are able to easily find tracks they have heard on any BBC channel and add them to their personal collection.

The new system has streamlined cross-functional teams at the BBC. Softwire enabled the BBC to continually roll out new features and capabilities. This ensures its producers and the wider public can continue to enjoy the very best experience as they continue to explore the BBC’s world of music

More information about the Corndel DevOps Engineering Diploma.

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