Mark Cahill (one of the smartest guys on the topic of publishing technologies) points to this Editor & Publisher manifesto by Tom Mohr – formerly head of KR Digital on newspaper websites. Mohr posits that if newspapers want to get their acts together online, they need to converge on a common standard and set of tools. Mark and I kicked around a business plan two years ago on this very model — there is no viable reason in the world, aside from sheer hubris, for a publication to own its own CMS, metrics, and ad servers.
“Newspaper online infrastructures dot the United States like a thousand points of light. It is a massive waste of financial and intellectual capital. As Knight Ridder proved, multiple newspaper websites of all sizes (from the Biloxi Sun Herald to the Philadelphia Inquirer) can sit on common platforms and deliver Pulitzer Prize-winning quality.”What, specifically, is meant by common platforms?
“They include a common content management system, common classified marketplace solution, common ad serving capabilities, a common ad network, shared content and feature functionality within key channels, a common underlying technical infrastructure and common supporting financial systems, metrics and analytics.”
In a book I ghost-authored with some Gartner experts — Multisourcing — the panoply of IT enabled systems was stacked up against their impact on competitive and strategic advantage … a riff on Nick Carr’s polemic against the value of IT. Only the most rarified, business-transforming, bet the company initiatives deserve internal development, most, if not all systems from lowly lights-on, cost of doing business IT system such as email, can be outsourced or managed against cost.
That the publishing industries insist on building their own web infrastructures is ludicrious. It’s time for a major systems provider like IBM Global Services to step in with a common platform and let the publishers focus on what their true business is — incisive journalism.
Thank Mark for the pointer.