Perspective. Best Practices Continuum Map for Newspaper Publishers. Abstract

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1 Perspective Best Practices Continuum Map for Newspaper Publishers Balaji Sankaran Abstract Multiple news channels and interactive advertising are challenging the newspaper business. Legacy systems and disparate technologies prevent newspapers from being agile and to compete with the new content providers. Newspaper publishers are being forced to reshape their business by improving operational efficiency and content processes. This paper presents the Infosys technology transition roadmap, which facilitates newspaper businesses to transform their IT systems to meet the challenges of the new market realities. Sep 2006

2 Introduction The advent of content-rich, multi-dimensional media has disrupted the newspaper business. News websites bombard consumers with free information, and young readers who define the future of the industry are migrating away from newspapers. The newspaper publishing business is now faced with two harsh realties: Slow growth in advertising revenues Declining circulation and readership Typically, advertising contributes to 75% of newspaper business revenue*. Lack of advertising revenue growth impacts the ability to make capital investment and increase shareholder wealth. Advertisers who were earlier satisfied with the ROI on the dissemination of their advertising messages, are now demanding measurable growth in business as an outcome of these ad spends. Keyword-driven search engine advertising is the trigger driving this shift Newspaper Advertising Revenues 49 Value in Billion $ Source: NAA Year Further, circulation is another critical dimension that is showing signs of slowing down, especially in the American market. Newspaper Circulation - Weekdays 56 Million copies Source: NAA Year Newspapers are at an inflection point. The only way forward in this scenario is to identify, embrace and reengineer the enterprise around best practices. The best practices detailed in this perspective are: 1. Editorial Workflow 2. Advertising Management 3. Circulation Management 4. Production Process Optimization Newspaper publishers should identify business processes that need to move up on the best practices map, measure the present state and then map the transition path. 2 Infosys Perspective

3 Editorial Process Newspapers need to change their view of the editorial process and utilize news to create content for multiple delivery channels. Publishers should try and leverage news content beyond its traditional life span of a single day. Benefits File Hierarchy Collaborative Workflow Sequential Workflow Copy-fitting after story writing, using pagemakeup software Creating the day s pages Workflow not optimized for delivery time Consistent editorial software usage across geography Image replacement to facilitate more efficient page layout Streamlined product usage Lower maintenance & support costs Dashboard view of story scheduling Database for published content Rights managed access to workflow Centralized of content creation Access to content for re-use Digital Asset Management for managing stories/ images through the workflow Remote access to missing partly workflow Re-purposing content for multiple channels Transform content in to digital assets Adopting best practices will help newspaper publishers to make their content creation process faster, more efficient and less error prone. Collaboration, scheduling and monitoring the content creation process ensures predictable newspaper production. Further, usage of DAM repositories facilitates content reuse in multiple delivery formats. Advertising Management Advertisers are being drawn towards multiple media and ROI-measurable advertising opportunities. Newspapers should provide focused advertising solutions tailor-made to their needs. To compete more effectively, newspapers need to consider offering: Multiple space buying options Flexible material deadlines Customized advertising solutions Advertising Centralized Cross-media material handled customer data selling and as films bundled pricing Customer Information stored in multiple locations Space availability and reservation through coordination All advertising material handled digitally Booking information centralized and updated to reflect current state Customer interaction history record and tracking Credit maturity and receivables Advertisers integrated in publisher s workflow Usage of B2B information exchange standards - AdsML Sales analytics Audience demographic targeting Infosys Perspective 3

4 Benefits Designed for Structured space Multi-product simple & selling / multi-media small scale of advertising operations Sales force enabled with updated space information Simplified customer interaction Focused advertising solutions Customer selfservice By optimizing the applications employed in managing the advertising process, newspaper publishers can: Establish transparent and efficient processes for advertising Equip their sales-force with updated advertiser and booking information Monitor business by category, geography and sales groups Circulation Management Dwindling subscriptions is forcing publishers to offer value-added services to retain customer loyalty. Superior service and improved logistics are a high-priority for circulation managers. Publishers can achieve greater efficiencies in circulation by adopting best practices in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), logistics and. Through this, publishers can lower their delivery costs and improve customer service. Benefits Stand-alone Distributor Online bundle applications & retailer labeling manage information Demand circulation, centralized forecasting subscription and Lack of centralized customer data Cost-reduction focused Bundle label printing offline Distribution planning and tracking manual Systematized demand capture and, route planning systematized Carrier planning, monitoring & payment processing centralized Cost-efficient planning of operations Tracking & control of Carrier costs Customer selfservice for subscription related requests GIS used for planning logistics Sales analytics High customer service interactivity Optimized 4 Infosys Perspective

5 Print Production Process Print production costs significantly impact bottom line. Therefore, publishers should have systems that provide budgetary and efficiency metrics-based control mechanisms. Improved efficiencies in the production process can result in better quality and greater customer satisfaction. Benefits Product planning by telephonic coordination De-centralized spreadsheets for recording machine performance data Manual spare part indenting and monitoring In-efficient and unstructured production performance Job scheduling through capacity applications Material indenting, purchasing approvals tracked by accounting audit and not system enforced Structured & Systematic production scheduling Detailed scheduling of the individual pages/ items of the print product Automated material inventory monitoring Machine performance metrics monitored through data capture and analysis Tracking & control of pagelevel schedules. Optimized inventory planning JDF based job tracking Reel-to-reel newsprint accounting Machine performance analytics Product wise unit-costing Maintenance scheduling and accounting applications Automated production tracking, Systematic cost measurement & control. Based on analytics, publishers can take corrective actions. Further, tight monitoring of high value cost components, like newsprint, will facilitate significant cost reduction. Infosys Roadmap for Transition to Best Practices Publishing enterprises should adopt best practices to improve competitiveness and growth. Infosys recommends that technology migration should be: accompanied by appropriate human resource interventions like training, change, etc. in line with the business strategy of the newspaper done incrementally to avoid the high risks associated with larger scale transformations Infosys Perspective 5

6 The migration to the unified end state must be a phased, sequential and calibrated process. Continuum Maturity Data Exchange Stand alone Applications Applications sharing data selectively Function-wide data flow End to End Deployment Transition Roadmap Measure Plan Improve Deploy Application Portfolio Optimization Interface Integrate Unify Infosys Transformation Process for Newspaper Publishers Measure The first step is the measurement of actual state ascertaining maturity level of existing processes and systems. This is done by mapping the processes against the best practices continuum. Plan The desired state must be established after evaluating the systems servicing the key process and mapping them on the continuum map. The publisher needs to identify the: processes to be transitioned level to which the process should migrate and timelines for the migration functional/technical characteristics high-level IT architecture of the desired end-state feature/functionality release plan implementation road map This must have a time bound action plan aligned with the organization s strategic and tactical goals. Improve A key factor for the success of the transition map is the demonstration of quick wins. They play a key role in materializing the benefits of transition and removing barriers to change. This phase involves: assessing whether transition must involve a custom-built application, enhancement to existing applications or installation of a new packaged application pilot rollout at select locations with less complexities creating a test strategy to mitigate rollout issues requesting and acting on internal and external customer feedback releasing scheduled and iterative improvements to achieve the planned steady state 6 Infosys Perspective

7 Deploy Deployment after pilot rollouts facilitates quicker transition. However, it should always be accompanied by: robust documentation of the system at the higher levels of process maturity training for all users who directly interface with the system change sessions - highlighting the positive improvements of the new system, for all those who are likely to be impacted The typical time frame for transition is three to six months, depending on the organization s geographical spread, size of operations and employee morale Conclusion Publishers should constantly reengineer their processes to serve the ever-changing needs of the market. Migrating to higher levels of the best practices continuum provide self-sustaining returns on account of: lower cost through improved efficiencies higher revenues through increased customer focus Migration to higher levels of maturity will enable newspaper publishers to be better equipped to meet the challenges of the emerging New Age Publishing Paradigm. About the Author Balaji Sankaran is Senior Associate, Business Solutions Consulting Group, Transportation & Services.

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