The iPad: The straw that broke the camel’s back

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Sophia Farina, Quark

Here at Quark we’ve been very busy developing dynamic and digital publishing software. As part of this work we speak with analysts, the media, and customers, all of whom confirm that organizations are looking for a way to reach their consumers on the latest new digital gadgets (the most tantalizing one being, of course, the iPad). Who can blame them? After all, Forrester predicts that “US tablets sales will more than double in 2011 to 24.1 million units.1

Thinking about this immediate need to go digital, I recently realized that this digital boom truly is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Fixing out-dated publishing processes is a priority that can no longer be delayed or ignored. The way many organizations (enterprise and media companies alike) originally supported both print and Web was simply by adding more resources—and in some cases an entirely separate team. But with the introduction of e-readers, smartphones, and tablets, most organizations can’t afford to throw more money and resources to reach this new channel.

Why? Because it’s not a simple fix. It’s not just about delivering content to a new medium; it’s about providing a new customer experience. So, what do customers want?

1. They want their information available across all their devices—Web, print, and digital.

2. They want that information at their fingertips, just like the devices they carry with them everywhere, all the time.

3. They want to interact with the information—not just read it.

Dynamic Publishing: A smart fix

A few years ago we defined dynamic publishing as “professional design meets automated, multichannel publishing.” Let’s break down the way this helps an organization meet the customer’s thirst for information:

1. In order to support cross-media publishing cost-effectively, organizations must look for ways to streamline and automate their processes. This requires a publishing platform that supports a collaborative process for creating content that is appropriate for each media type, plus an automated process for delivering that content. This platform must be flexible, so that it can adapt to the rapid technology changes being fueled by the tablet boom.

2. In order to deliver information consistently, accurately, and immediately to all media, organizations must reuse and repurpose content as much as they can. The first step in creating an end-to-end dynamic publishing system is to start with content components that can be assembled automatically. This not only requires XML, but also an easy and familiar way for the general Microsoft Word user to create and edit that XML.

3. In order to take advantage of the technology offered by digital devices, organizations must be able to create and deliver engaging experiences, so that consumers can interact with information. All signs indicate that communication will continue to become more interactive, combining visual design with audio, video, and other capabilities to evolve brand experiences.

“The tablet thing came out of nowhere, and Quark wasn’t expecting it any more than anybody else—but because we’ve chosen to pursue a digital publishing strategy, we’re ready for it. And that feels good, because it validates our approach and reaffirms that it’s the right one. So when your camel’s spine snaps, you might want to consider letting Quark help you get it back on its feet.2

1 Sarah Rotman Epps. (2011, January 4). US Tablet Sales Will More Than Double This Year

[Blog post]. Retrieved fromhttp://blogs.forrester.com/sarah_rotman_epps/11-01-04-us_tablet_sales_will_more_than_double_this_year.

2 Trevor Alyn, Editorial Manager at Quark, Inc. (aka the closer).

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