Publishers share five top tips to integrate technology more intelligently in your organisation
Published: 20 Sept 2022
Technology evolves rapidly – faster, perhaps, than digital publishers can incorporate new solutions into their tech stacks. It takes a certain amount of time to identify which new providers are offering a long-tail solution, evaluate the cost against the benefits, and start the process of integrating the tech into your organisation. By which time there may well be a shinier, newer solution promising to deliver above and beyond.
With so much change, publishers need to be smart about which tech solutions they invest in. Ahead of Publishing Tech Talk this October 10-13, we reached out to our speakers to discover their ideas for how publishers can integrate technology into their organisation more intelligently.
“Overcommunicate!” stressed Lauren Dick, Director, Business Development at Mail Metro Media. Despite the need to embrace automation and technology, there’s still a need for human intelligence – both to ensure that the technology continues to function seamlessly and to ensure that the technology is harnessed across all areas and teams of an organisation. Being clear about the use case and benefits for integrating a new technology into the organisation can head off future problems down the line.
Steve Wilson-Beales, Head of SEO & Editorial Product at Global, reminded us of the importance of involving the inhouse stakeholders in all the key meetings: if someone is going to be responsible for utilising a technology, they should be a part of the process from the very outset. This early engagement will avoid potential conversations down the line about the benefits and also ensure that the relevant leaders can begin making gradual changes in their work to allow for a smooth transition once the technology has been fully activated.
By involving the core users in the conversations, you might identify new use cases.. “For publishers, there is often a huge list of strategic initiatives they could be developing at any given time,” shared Lauren. “Often a simple conversation will surface additional ideas or use cases for a given technology or solution, making it even more valuable for the business to adopt.”
The other advantage to starting communication early with the relevant stakeholders? They have the time to start building the capabilities into their team or reprioritising resources if needed. “One of the biggest failures I see in the industry – particularly on the SEO front – is companies signing up to big external enterprise solutions without considering that outsourcing still requires inhouse resource to manage and monitor,” Steve Wilson-Beales explained.
Without proper consideration, it can be very easy for tools to be underutilised or missing the initial work required to get the tool up and running. “Invest in capability to get the most out of any technologies you implement,” advised Steve. “Dedicated capability and focus is a game changer.”
There’s a temptation to go for breadth rather than depth in order to cover all your bases. However, while it’s important to test and explore a variety of options to guarantee that you have the best solution for your requirements, keeping your technology stack simple will avoid a lot of stress in the long-term. “Once you have found the best solution for you, think about cutting back on others, and leaning into a primary goal,” recommended Daniel Powell-Rees, Global Head of Revenue Yield Management & Operations at Economist Impact
Pete Wootton, Digital Media Consultant at Danegate Media Ltd, agreed. “Focus on interoperability,” he shared. “If you know products are easy to connect together, you have more options and the ability to get best of breed for each product (which might be needed in the future even if not now.)
It’s also key to define in advance what success would look like, and continually measure yourself against that benchmark to see if the technology is delivering against your needs. “Be eclectic when selecting and testing technology,” Daniel explained, “but learn to succeed or fail fast, and remove what does not work instead of expending resources to try and force positive results.”
Publishing technology is evolving – and rapidly. Keeping an eye out on new opportunities making ripples in the industry will help you stay ahead of the curve. “Don’t focus on re-creating what you have in the face of change,” suggested Daniel Powell-Rees. “Look for technology that understands and capitalises on the opportunity that change brings.”
Terry Hornsby, Group Digital & Innovation Director at Reach plc, also highlighted the need to cut through industry noise and identify which areas are really going to progress your organisation, but also reminded us of the importance of industry collaboration: “The partnership should be a continual feedback loop to ensure the technology is working and developing and evolving for the publisher needs.”
As quick as technology is developing, we also need to work together to develop new costing models. “We need to move away from procurement models where you have to sign up to a minimum of 6 or 12 years to see if the solution works in your organisation,” stressed Steve Wilson-Beales. “Publishers always want to innovate, but we need innovative costing models as well.”
No matter how much specialist knowledge you have in your team, the chances are that someone who lives and breathes a particular topic will have better insights than you in that area. Talk to the experts, talk to those in your network who have gone through something similar, talk to those who took a different approach. The more help you ask for, the more informed a decision you’ll be able to make.
“Most people are happy to share ‘warts and all’ experiences,” Pete Wootton explained to us. “We used someone who had experience of choosing and implementing a CDP when we went through the process. It really helped in defining criteria to use to decide between suppliers and how to implement it effectively. It’s much cheaper than choosing the wrong product or a bad implementation.”
At the Publishing Tech Talk this October 10-13th, we’re gathering experts from across the publishing industry to share their honest experience about integrating and utilising technology to give you the tools you need for the future. With four days of content – including two days of in person events in London – there are a multitude of ways for you to tackle your most pressing challenges ensure you’re making the right choices to support your organisation.
To find out more about the Publishing Tech Talk and how you can get involved, CLICK HERE
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