7 Building Blocks to Succeed in Digital Publishing – Part 5: Systems


For digital publishing, the end-user product consists out of a combination of software technology and engaging content. Coding and copy creation need to be well aligned in order to assure a great user experience.

Not only the content management systems or the front-end apps are important. A whole set of systems and solutions need to work together seamlessly:

  • Content Management System
    • Planning System
    • Print Publishing System
  • Content Distribution System
    • Online Publishing System
    • Mobile & Tablet Publishing System
  • Subscriptions & CRM System
    • Authentication & Authorization System
  • Payment System
    • Online payments
    • App Store payments
  • Analytics, Reporting & Business Intelligence
  • Advertisement Management System
  • Customer Service System
  • Project Tracking System
  • Operations Management System

Developing all these systems internally is impossible for many news organizations. Many solutions require totally different technical skill sets (e.g. iOS, Android, HTML5, Java, Javascript, C#,…) which are hard to find and retain. Additionally, the software development and deployment processes are very different for centralized software (such as CMS) and distributed software (such as apps). Finally, given the rapid evolution of the digital world, new functionalities have to be added on a continuous basis. For example, Facebook updates its iOS apps every 30 days on average.

With the emergence of Cloud solutions, many of these applications are now available as a ‘Software-as-a-Service’ (SaaS). Such applications often offer best-in-class functionality, require no investment in local infrastructure and rapidly evolve over time. However, they create the needs for integration. They also increase the dependency on external cloud providers.

Smartly choosing which systems to develop yourself, and for which solutions you want to rely on external (cloud) providers is a key factor of success. This choice should take the following elements into account:

  • Total development cost (internal & external)
  • Ongoing maintenance cost
  • Time-to-delivery
  • Access to talent
  • Impact on roadmap of provider

7 Building Blocks to Succeed in Digital Publishing – Part 5: Systems

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Digital Publishing Framework: 7 Building Blocks to Succeed is a full series of 7 articles that present a new, comprehensive framework with 7 key building blocks for newspaper companies to achieve success in digital publishing.