Half a century ago, the American media theorist Marshall McLuhan coined a term which captures the reality of modern communication to this day: he spoke of the "Global Village", describing for the first time how new communication technologies have revolutionized day-to-day life. That was at a time when television was about to become the most influential medium - Internet for everyone was still a long way off. Today we use the metaphor as a synonym for the World Wide Web - the inhabitants of the Global Village have simply moved closer together.
The German agricultural publisher Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag (DLV) is a good example of how collaboration extends beyond the boundaries of time and space. DLV regards itself as a leading media company in the field of rural and agricultural issues. Down-to-earth, solid and well-grounded - by no means a collection of technology-crazy IT geeks. Nonetheless, the publisher has a team of almost 400 staff collaborating on over 30 print titles and more than 40 websites at 17 international locations. The company's output includes publications with a very long tradition such as the 200-year-old Bayerisches Landwirtschaftliches Wochenblatt ("Bavarian Agricultural Weekly News"), which, as a matter of course, harnesses the very best technologies the Global Village has to offer.
Here "best technologies" refer to an content management system
which is able to function effectively as a central control station for integrated media production. It requires a central content pool which permits cross-media processing, and it allows content - once generated - to be fed into various output channels. It also requires a sophisticated management system of all assets - visuals, copy, sounds and so on - to allow rapid retrieval and recombination of content. Another requirement is perfect workflow control
including detailed rights management. In selecting such latest generation software, the DLV finally opted for censhare.
How did this come about? Beate Schindler (Head of Process Management & IT Service): "With our very decentralized, heterogeneous structure, we wanted a way of managing our data centrally and maintaining reliable access at all times." The hunting magazine sector illustrates the problem aptly. It includes five items - both print titles and websites - which are spread over three German locations - Munich, Berlin and Hanover. censhare enables editor colleagues in Hanover to continue handling material created in Berlin, while central layout and production control is based in Munich. "As you can see," says Thomas Mirwald, Head of Controlling and member of the Management Board, "we are entirely independent of geographical location. We can create print and online products independently of the various editorial offices. This wouldn't be possible without censhare."
But publishing across multiple sites and media is just one of a series of advantages in using this type of top-class technology. Another benefit derives from the simplification of processes in advertisement management. Here DLV can combine censhare - thanks to its open interfaces
- with a business administration system and mass make-up of body copy advertisements to form a flexible integrated solution. Significant efficiency gains are also derived from the possibility of parallel operations in magazine production which is now available. While editors all over Germany work on texts, an external agency handles the photographic artwork and a layout based somewhere else creates the pages. Meanwhile, previously booked advertisements are automatically fed into the issue. Without the appropriate software, this type of complex, shared work process would be virtually impossible to manage.
As is the case with many users, censhare helps the DLV dovetail print and web. DLV aims to become the market leader for print products in the field of online/mobile, events and customer service. Such an ambitious goal requires an integrated management instrument which can handle cross-links - and it is no coincidence that this is one of censhare's great strengths.