Based in Amsterdam, WoodWing Software is a recognised thought leader in the field of content technologies. The company has set itself the goal to excel in providing publishers, big brands and agencies with solutions that will enable large teams to efficiently work together on creative processes, within systems that are easy to manage.
Later this year, a new platform called Enterprise Aurora will be introduced onto the market. It’s been developed in collaboration with some of WoodWing’s largest clients. New CEO Jan de Roos says it is another step towards creating “future proof solutions” to a market where publishers, brands and agencies have diverse demands.
As a computer science scholar, who has worked in publishing for a large part of his career, De Roos boasts a unique skill set. He has spent 13 years as CEO of a leading Dutch publishing group of newspapers, magazines and books but having founded and managed companies in the services and technology industries, including innovative smartphone makers, he modestly says it makes his life “slightly easier” to navigate the difficult terrain where technology and publisher demands hit a crossroad.
Having taken over the role of CEO as recently as February this year, De Roos sees his task as “identifying the real and pressing issues media companies are trying to overcome to ensure their future health”. He explains more: “I’m familiar with disruptive models and know how to make things work in a time of change, and to take advantage of the possibilities posed by technology… With my skillset and the knowledge of my colleagues within WoodWing our aim is to ensure sustainable growth for publishers.”
To realise this goal, WoodWing’s objective is to develop publishing software that equips publishers, brands and agencies with real easy-to-use solutions. Among WoodWing’s arsenal of publishing tools, is Enterprise Aurora. It’s currently being trialed with a select group of clients, and will be rolled out during the second half of this year. Aurora, says De Roos, encourages team collaboration, production and workflow speed for platform agnostic content creation, yet is optimised to export content to print, mobile, social media and the web, all within one system.
In an environment where many publishers are already confused about multi-platform publishing, new tools “make their lives considerably easier”, explains De Roos. “With the implementation of Enterprise Aurora we ensure that the platform on which you eventually publish is not important from the outset. The platform offers the opportunity to create quality, platform-neutral content. Once it’s been created on the platform it is an easy process to publish it to every channel necessary, whether this be digital or print.”
The goal is to reduce the silos between teams and facilitate collaboration by easily reusing and repurposing content between digital and print teams, so reducing costs and streamlining the content creation process.
De Roos says they have received great interest from a number of large publishing customers to participate in the Enterprise Aurora beta programme. “The devil is always in the detail but I am confident that we are ready for implementation in the second half of this year and will be able to market the platform in the final quarter of the year.”
To be able to repurpose existing content, it is important to have a digital asset management system (DAM) that is linked to Enterprise Aurora. WoodWing’s current asset management system called Elvis DAM is being updated and a new version of Elvis will also be introduced within the next couple of months. “It’s really important for publishers to be able to store digital assets in a way that will enable them to easily retrieve assets when the need for repurposing content arises.”
De Roos says WoodWing doesn’t just provide solutions for publishers but also big brands and agencies. Some brands have different demands from publishers. Whereas our solutions should be able to deliver on these demands across the board, in some cases they might need specialised customisation, which can be provided by our partners.”
Ultimately, the desired outcome is to use the latest technology to enable large teams to work together on a creative process on platforms that are easy to manage.
The future of publishing
De Roos says despite the uphill battles many publishers have been experiencing during the last ten years or so, he remains positive about the future of publishing. But stresses that future-proof solutions need to be sought out. “It is really hard to predict exactly what will happen next, we need to prepare for the hurdles ahead and be ready for the adjustments that might be expected. In order to be ready for changes in the publishing landscape.”
To avoid instances of failure, “you do need a global overview of what the most successful media companies are doing. We work with some of the largest media companies in the world and there is great value in what a community of publishers can share.”
He explains that publishers who create a platform where they can share and communicate best learnings and best practices not only add to a discussion but also underpin a healthy industry. “We don’t merely want to deliver helpful products to the industry but also knowledge about what can work and what can’t work…especially against the current backdrop where certain publishers are battling to monetise their content.”
De Roos continues: “Today, there are so many media companies and initiatives out there. Some are as diverse as those monetising from blogging. What I like is the fact that we can all be connected – we need to start understanding what the future strategies of many media companies are and also where big brands and agencies are heading. It is essential to share information to decide what the roadmap needs to be over the next two to three years – not only to create products but also create those products that we haven’t even thought about.”
Innovation is also about co-creation, he stresses. This cannot happen in a vacuum. “We live in a world where no single company knows exactly where it is heading. We need to challenge each other… and once we have overcome the question related to properly monetising digital, the landscape will become easier to navigate for everyone.”
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