Wave 2 Blog

Publishers look to mainstream IT

As experts in automated publishing solutions, we’ve recently seen a significant shift in the marketplace as publishers look to renew their IT infrastructure. It’s a profound trend, rooted in the need for publishers to save costs and use their resources more judiciously. It is also a recognition that third-party vendor solutions offer significant advantages and are often light years ahead, at least in terms of ongoing development.

In previous years, publishers would invest vast amounts on bespoke solutions tailored exclusively for their own businesses. The investment protocol went something like this: identify the business challenge and build a software solution specifically to address that challenge. Indeed, sometimes it wasn’t just the software but the hardware too – specialist desktop computers built to process heavy duty graphics spring immediately to mind.

At the time, such investment made sense. Firstly, established publishers were cash-rich and had the resources to invest huge sums of money into IT infrastructure projects. Secondly, and this is a big point of difference, the pace of change in IT was slow. Investment made into IT infrastructure could reasonably expect to last upwards of ten years or more.

Those days have gone. The pace of digital change is speeding up exponentially to a point that as soon as a custom-built IT project has been initiated it becomes out of date the moment it’s installed. Of similar concern is the level of investment required to keep that very same system up to date and state of the art moving forwards.

Off-the-shelf enterprise software from expert IT vendors has therefore become immensely attractive. Not least because these solutions don’t carry anywhere near the same level of costs and also because these they are being iterated upon continually.

The entire sands have shifted. The migration to Amazon Cloud is a classic example. Eighteen months ago, Condé Nast sold its entire data centre in Delaware in favour of an all-cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Yet it’s what Condé Nast CTO Joe Simon said that underlines our own views. Speaking to CIO.com, Simon stated that the company’s management had arrived at a realization that owning and operating its own data centre would not give it the infrastructure agility and flexibility it needs as it expands its presence in digital publishing. “…we are not in the business of maintenance,” he is quoted as saying, “We’re in the business of rapid change.

As specialists in automated publishing solutions for publishers, this entire blog post could be encapsulated in that final quote! We are in a time of dynamic change and it’s really only the dedicated publishing software vendors that are nimble, flexible and quick-footed enough to pioneer solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.