“High-quality independent journalism is our trademark.” True to that principle, Heise Medien GmbH & Co. KG, one of Germany’s leading tech industry publishers, publishes magazines that include c't, iX, Mac & i, the technology magazine Technology Review, and the multiple-award-winning online magazine Telepolis. The heise online website is also a primary source of German-language high-tech news.
Optimizing and automating magazine production while simultaneously repurposing content across a multitude of digital channels is a significant challenge for many publishers. And in the case of “print first” processes, it leads to an enormous amount of work. In order to publish across multiple channels in a way that is highly efficient, cost effective, and error free, Heise Medien made the decision to completely overhaul its Heise Medien production processes as part of its “Content First” project.
This involved defining a number of key requirements, which included:
- Standardizing processes across all titles and editorial departments and setting up a central production unit.
- Establishing the means to combine content across the entire company to create new products, such as cross-brand subject-specific dossiers – in a way that is highly automated and not tied to a specific medium.
- Reducing the amount of administrative work involved in producing magazines across all formats, as well as for in-house development of proprietary production tools.
- Focusing the work of each employee on his or her core competence.
All of the proposed measures were designed to increase efficiency in the overall process and shorten production times.
To meet these challenges, Heise Medien turned to Xpublisher. The first step was to give all employees – from the editorial team to the desktop publishing (DTP) department to the in-house IT staff – the opportunity to take a closer look at the Xpublisher online editorial system in the context of a simulated production process.
The next step was to define the requirements together during joint workshops. Then followed the task of transferring and optimizing the existing process in the Quark Publishing Platform into an InDesign workflow. As a result, all processes were standardized and the specific needs of the individual editorial teams and users were integrated.
Configuring Xpublisher and connecting it to the in-house systems was accomplished by applying agile work practices to deliver initial results quickly. That also helped when it came to adapting requirements from the definition phase on short notice whenever necessary. After just one year, Heise published the first issue of iX magazine, produced entirely with Xpublisher. This was soon followed by Technology Review and the most prominent title in the portfolio, c't, as well as an additional magazine every three to four months.
The numbers are a testament to the project’s success: Instead of the typical production phase of ten days, the first issue of c't was ready for printing in just nine days. In digital production, the company succeeded in both enhancing quality and shortening the production time.
Going forward, this extra time will be available for other projects and further growth. Xpublisher provides the full range of tools and capabilities, enabling Heise Medien to recombine existing content with very little manual effort and to launch this content by means of innovative products such as special editions devoted to specific topics.
- “Content first” outshines “print first”
- Digitalizing all processes
- Standardized processes and systems across all magazines
- Flexible content repurposing options to support new publications and future growth
- Replaces legacy systems
- Greater efficiency