Changing Technology Platforms
Today's fractured media landscape and its subsequent revenue opportunities is placing extra demands on magazines' publishing platforms. Publishers moving heavily into online content deployment, for example, either must update and standardize their technology platform to efficiently drive content back and forth between mediums, or devise expensive interfaces to patch together disparate systems.
Moving to a new publishing platform;QPS to an InDesign-based system, for example;requires extensive due diligence, not just on capital investment or technology impact, but how it will change the entire workflow. And then there's convincing your CFO that an overhaul is not just about having the latest and greatest technology.
"Clearly, if you're choosing a new technology platform there's the IT techie piece of it," says New York chief technology officer Joe Galarneau, "but there's also consideration of the editorial piece, production and your workforce in terms of staffing and skills acquisitions."
Galarneau, in building his own case to present to senior management for upgrading his magazine's publishing platform, offers some key considerations.
Time Is Money
"The cost-avoidance piece can become more costly as the years go by. We're a big Web publisher. Other publishers have very expensive solutions to extract data. We have a lot of manual processes here and as the Web becomes a bigger piece of our business and we get more data interchange between print and online, crossing that barrier becomes much more expensive for us."
"A lot of companies are trying to standardize certain types of architectures and platforms. That's not necessarily something that drives a decision, but it's something that really has a pile-on factor. If we have a great solution that supports the business, is flexible and we can train people on it, and it meets our architectural standards, that to us as business managers means that we can take costs off the operation from support and development."
"Asset management in the magazine industry is something we haven't done all that well;being able to repurpose content and syndicate it and manage the rights to it. People are beginning to get that religion, but they're starting to realize that if they add something to their back-end but don't have a front-end that supports it they're asking for a world of hurt because they're creating manual processes that will have expensive interfaces between the front and back-end systems."
"For these things it all depends on the number of seats you have. In terms of capital investment, it's definitely substantial, but not overwhelmingly so. In talking to other folks it seems for most people, unless you have a big multi-title operation, it's a six-figure thing, it's definitely not a five-figure thing."