There is nothing wrong with a sharp knife. You can use it to cut, pierce and carve. But as soon as you need to tighten a screw, the blade will suffer, and if you need to cut paper, the steel edge will start to become blunt.
Around 1890 the Swiss developed the first small tool set that provided - in addition to a blade - a splicer and piercing tool, a screwdriver and a can opener. The original idea was to provide infantry soldiers a combination tool that could be of help in cutting food as well as servicing their weapon.
The victorious march of the handy Swiss Army knife has continued apace to this day. The civil models are available as many different variations featuring wood saws, toothpicks and magnifying glasses, among others. Other models are tailored to specific target groups: there are pocketknives with lawn pedicure implements for golf enthusiasts or fish scaling blades for anglers.
The most extensive knife that was ever manufactured featured 81 tools with 181 functions, is 24 centimeters wide and weighs in at just under 1.3 kilos, which is hardly convenient to carry around in your pocket.
In other areas of our lives too, integrated solutions are replacing numerous proprietary services, applications or products. Our smartphones are a good example: telephones, e-mail access, navigation, Walkman, dictation device, camera, calendar and many other functions are all in one single device. This is not only practical, but also efficient, as when, for example, you take a picture and would like to send it right away, when you are on the go and are reminded of a deadline or a date, when you are shown the shortest route to a meeting location, or when you can immediately store the data of a business partner in an address book.
In the areas of publishing and corporate communication integrated solutions also enjoy rising significance.
Up to only a few years ago all of the relevant sequences and processes were accomplished and managed manually. In one place, texts were recorded, images and pictures were stored in another place, tasks and responsibilities were defined and the status quo discussed in meetings. Contents were passed on to the graphics experts, processed there and corrected by way of printouts, proofs and approval and release runs. In between, couriers, postal and e-mail dispatching and telephone coordination caused delays. Versions in other languages were not created in parallel, because a master copy had to be finalized first. And the issues and versions put out on other channels (web, e-books) or other media formats could only be created after the much-maligned "imprimatur", the print approval of the first copy was finalized, approved and released. Subsequently, visuals had to be adjusted in terms of resolution and texts adapted to length or the target group. Standardizations, authorizations, workflows, variant management - all these things were not really in place - and processes had to be manually steered and monitored.
Many publishing solutions make the attempt to address this information chaos . There are solutions with enable web-based content handling. Image databases for media management and archiving. Software for the administration of authorizations and domains, little technical wizards that automatically convert images for the specific type of utilization or generate PDFs. Countless archive tools and backup solutions. This list continues ad infinitum: translation memory systems, page planning, ad administration, customer data management, Web2Print, appointment calendar and much, much more …
The market of service providers and solution providers in the publishing and communication software areas grows constantly, and is very difficult to gain an overview of.
But a word of warning should be sounded here: most providers are not offering Swiss Army knives. There are excellent applications for processes and workflows that even integrate leading layout software. But in these cases, the media asset management solution has to be purchased as third party software, and an interface has to be additionally set up. In order to perform page planning a third provider would have to be integrated, while a fourth would be required for a translation management memory system. Instead of modules you buy new software. Even RTE (run the engine) scales unnecessarily.
Today's users, customers and multiplicators are not only far more demanding. Add to this the fact that the number of competitors and the volume of messages are also rising disproportionately, while more and more channels have to be served in a parallel process. It is no longer sufficient to simply address and supply target groups, individuals want to be understood as such, wherever they happen to stand. In other words, today's companies are less involved in product competition and far more engaged in communication competition .
When an integrated solution is implemented, software that administrates and manages all information in a media neutral format and enables this information to be processed across all channels, in many languages and numerous media in a parallel process, then the number of solution providers is easier to overview, and choices are simpler.
And in addition, when all the information (texts, images, geodata, users, profiles) is also to be organized in relational terms, and you do not merely want to send messages to your target groups, but also want to dialog with them - interactively, and also via social media - then we recommend our Swiss Army knife with its conversation, collaboration and communication toolkit:
censhare is the all-in-one solution in order to dialog with target groups via mobile, web, print and social media - integrated, across media, swiftly and efficiently.