Content Automation from Dynamic Publishing
You may have noticed that Quark Enterprise Solutions has made a change in our positioning from Dynamic Publishing to Content Automation and wondered why the switch and why Content Automation.
When Quark launched our vision for Dynamic Publishing in 2008, the initial scope was to help the marketing and publishing departments within companies reduce the effort and time-to-market related to authoring content for technical publications, marketing, and more. The concept was relatively simple – using the same methodology that had successfully driven dramatic increases in productivity and ROI in the techpubs market – create an end-to-end suite of products that would enable other publishing-oriented departments to achieve similar results.
It was easier said than done and required tremendous efforts to simplify the authoring, component reuse, and design-for-automation customer experiences as well as build out new layout automation capabilities within the Quark design engine. It has also required Quark to blaze its own path in the marketplace, because there were (and still are) very few software vendors that offer dynamic publishing tools outside of techpubs and similar content types.
Over the past 7 years, through internal development, a few acquisitions, and in partnership with our customers, we began to increase the scope of our vision and the capabilities of our integrated suite of products. The early days were challenging as our capabilities lagged our vision and our early adopters felt the pain of helping us identify and prioritize improvements for ease-of-use and solution completeness.
With the dramatic entrance and rapid adoption of first iPhones, then iPads, then Android and Microsoft equivalent mobile devices, more and more companies were experiencing the pain of using traditional, manual, stove-piped processes to support content publishing in print, web, and now rich-mobile content consumer experiences. And a few markets such as financial services, just coming out of the economic downturn, began to re-evaluate their content processes and technology with their own vision for delivering improved, interactive, and modular content experiences to their customers.
Over that time, Quark has struggled to extend the reach of its message. The big analyst firms had categories such as Customer Communications Management and Enterprise Content Management, where we almost fit but were not the center of their bullseye. It was also difficult to shed the view of Quark as only being the vendor of the powerful QuarkXPress desktop publishing tool. But with focus, hard work, and our tremendous customer-partners, we have built Quark Enterprise Solutions into a powerful offering, providing value to so many customers. We see Content Automation as the future and expect many vendors and customers will follow.
Driven by our customers, we have added new capabilities that enable collaboration within and across departments. We’ve created an entire infrastructure for the integration of company data sources as assets called DataDocs. DataDocs are first-class content components that can be routed for review, versioned, and reused as communications-focused renditions of data such as a presentation table or a digital, interactive chart. Automating the data integration process – replacing the manual cut/paste/format publishing steps – provides tremendous benefits such as improved content quality, consistent presentation, reduced risk of errors, and shortened time-to-market for information products.
Our dynamic authoring template feature enables users to provide some initial context about the content they create, such as a stock ticker or product name, and the system can create 80% of a final document by automatically assembling all of the pre-existing, related text, media, and data components so the subject matter expert only has to write the new content required.
With all of this power, we recognized that our solution had outgrown Dynamic Publishing. Our customers are truly automating their content processes in ways they didn’t even know were possible in the past. Our customers are spending less time and money manually duplicating work, iterating over email, waiting on the publishing or marketing department for conversion and formatting, and can create new information products faster than ever before, all while improving content quality. While Dynamic Publishing is still a key feature of the system, our capabilities continue to grow in support of a wide variety of Content Automation opportunities.