New Hamp­shire pub­lisher reap­ing bene ts of real-time busi­ness apps

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - News - T ▶ BY TARA MCMEEKIN CON­TRIBUT­ING WRITER p

It’s been nearly two years since The Keene Pub­lish­ing Co. in west­ern New Hamp­shire up­graded all of its busi­ness soft­ware to an in­te­grated plat­form, and the pub­lisher said it is see­ing big ben­e­fits from hav­ing done so.

Keene — which pro­duces its flag­ship, The Keene Sen­tinel as well as a hand­ful of com­mer­cial jobs — is now us­ing soft­ware from Vi­sion Data. The new soft­ware re­placed a num­ber of dis­parate sys­tems it had im­ple­mented over the years, and moved Keene to a cen­tral­ized plat­form to man­age ad­ver­tis­ing ad cir­cu­la­tion, sales, CRM, pag­i­na­tion, lay­out, ad track­ing and Web-en­abled self ser­vice func­tion­al­ity.

The tran­si­tion was the cul­mi­na­tion of a thor­ough eval­u­a­tion of soft­ware providers that led the pub­lisher to Vi­sion Data.

“We went through a num­ber of changes with our legacy sys­tems, which were made up of a mix of dig­i­tal and ana­log ap­pli­ca­tions that had be­come very ex­pen­sive to main­tain,” Chris Car­reira, di­rec­tor of in­for­ma­tion ser­vices and sup­port for Keene Pub­lish­ing told News & Tech. “Some of the cus­tomer ser­vice pieces were up­graded to Win­dows GUI-based sys­tems, and on the other end fi­nan­cial sys­tems were still ana­log-based. When we be­gan look­ing at new sys­tems, my big­gest con­cern was find­ing a sin­gle data­base on the back end that could con­sol­i­date all of that.”

That search led Car­reira to Vi­sion Data, which of­fered in­te­grated back-end busi­ness soft­ware.

He vis­ited news­pa­pers in New Hamp­shire and Michi­gan that were us­ing the soft­ware to eval­u­ate var­i­ous pieces of the ven­dor’s of­fer­ings.

“At the time, Vi­sion Data was up­grad­ing to a brand new GUI, Win­dows-based in­ter­face and it was a very at­trac­tive soft­ware pack­age that tied all of their ap­pli­ca­tions to­gether,” Car­reira re­called. “We then be­came the first site to in­stall all of it.”

The pub­lisher opted for a hosted in­stal­la­tion with re­dun­dancy via two off­site servers and a fiber-op­tic con­nec­tion to Vi­sion Data servers.

The ap­pli­ca­tions in­stalled in­clude Vi­sion To­tal Ad­ver­tis­ing, Vi­sion To­tal Cir­cu­la­tion, Vi­sion Web Clas­si­fied and Com­mer­cial Ac­count Man­age­ment, Vi­sion Web-Sales CRM, and Vi­sion To­tal Lay­out.

Real-time func­tion­al­ity key

Keene has re­al­ized tre­men­dous ad­van­tages, ac­cord­ing to Car­reira, which he cred­its to the fact that all of the news­pa­per’s busi­ness op­er­a­tions are now tak­ing place in real time.

“News­pa­pers typ­i­cally process all trans­ac­tions dur­ing the day and then run batches for jobs at night to up­date all of their fi­nan­cials,” he said. “With Vi­sion Data this all hap­pens in real time, so any ad sale or other

SPE­CIAL IS­SUE

trans­ac­tion is avail­able and can be seen im­me­di­ately. The real-time as­pect is re­ally key.”

The clas­si­fied app al­lows 24/7 self-ser­vice op­tions for ad­ver­tis­ers to place ads, re­run ads, view state­ments and elec­tronic tearsheets, and pay their bills on­line.

The sales and CRM app, mean­while, al­lows out­side sales staff to im­me­di­ately place ads via browser tools. It in­te­grates with Vi­sion Ad Track­ing to stream­line pro­duc­tion and al­low sales reps and ad­ver­tis­ers to mon­i­tor the en­tire ad-cre­ation process.

Keene’s cir­cu­la­tion app also pro­vides self-ser­vice func­tion­al­ity via the Web, al­low­ing read­ers to ac­cess and man­age their own sub­scrip­tions, and news­pa­per car­ri­ers to man­age de­liv­er­ies.

Round­ing out the pack­age, the lay­out ap­pli­ca­tion pro­vides fi­nal au­to­mated out­put de­sign with an Adobe InDe­sign plug-in for lay­out and pag­i­na­tion, Vi­sion Data said.

New sav­ings, new prod­ucts

With its soup-to-nuts so­lu­tion in place, Keene Pub­lish­ing has re­al­ized sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings.

“It’s half of what we were pay­ing for all of our other dis­parate sys­tems,” Car­reira said. “From a real-time point of view, ad rev­enue is up 9 per­cent.”

The new soft­ware also laid the ground­work to launch sev­eral new rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing prod­ucts that cater to new au­di­ences. Tun­ing into its so­cial chan­nels has helped the pub­lisher at­tract reader seg­ments that haven’t been tra­di­tional news­pa­per cus­tomers and cre­ate prod­ucts to serve them.

Among the prod­ucts that are at­tract­ing new cus­tomers are three new print mag­a­zines. Elf Mag­a­zine, is a weekly based on re­gional ac­tiv­i­ties; Fid­dle­head, is a monthly ded­i­cated to nat­u­ral and sus­tain­able liv­ing; and Mon­ad­nock Ta­ble, a bi-monthly that fo­cuses on lo­cal farm­ing and grow­ing your own food.

Keene has out­sourced print­ing of Elf, which pro­duces 40,000 copies per week. It has also out­sourced print­ing of monthly mag­a­zines Fid­dle­head and Mon­ad­nock Ta­ble, with cir­cu­la­tions of 30,000 and 10,000 copies, re­spec­tively.

With the in­sights af­forded by the Vi­sion Data soft­ware, Car­reira said the pub­lisher can better tar­get po­ten­tial ad­ver­tis­ers and better serve those ad­ver­tis­ers by an­tic­i­pat­ing which weeks will be the most ben­e­fi­cial ad buys.

“For us, an in­te­grated soft­ware pack­age for all as­pects of our core busi­ness is work­ing,” Car­reira said. “We are now con­cen­trat­ing on the so­cial as­pects of our busi­ness. We’ve changed the tech­nol­ogy and cul­ture to think in real time, and we’re in­te­grat­ing the busi­ness as­pects to so­cial diver­sity and what peo­ple want to read, day to day.”

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