DPCI Helps Source Interlink Media Define Enterprise Content Management Strategy

Source Interlink Media hired DPCI to help define an enterprise content management strategy. DPCI analyzed the business, organizational and technical challenges that company faced surrounding Web content management, editorial workflow management, digital asset management and multi-channel publishing.

SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA (Source Interlink Media) is the premier source of special interest media in the United States. With more than 70 publications, 90 Web sites, 800 branded products, 65+ events, and TV and radio programs, Source Interlink Media is the largest provider of content to enthusiast communities interested in automotive, action sports, marine and other niche activities. With over seven million paid subscribers and over two million paid single copies per month, Source Interlink Media’s readership represents the largest penetration of the prized 18-34 year old male demographic of any magazine group. Source Interlink Media’s portfolio of specialty titles includes well-known brands such as MotorTrend, Automobile, Power & Motoryacht, Hot Rod, Snowboarder, Stereophile and Surfer. The company’s complementary online components boast over 100 million page impressions and over 13 million unique visitors per month.

After the acquisition of a wide variety of brands from Primedia back in 2007, Source Interlink Media faced considerable executive management, human resource, workflow process, and technological challenges across the organization’s dozens of operating business units. The organization came to realize that much of the processes and technology in place at the time could not support the strategic objectives to reuse content across media channels and to leverage best practices and resources across brands. Additionally, Source Interlink Media sought to scale the enterprise through acquisitions of other media brands, which management did not feel would be possible without standardizing on processes and technologies.

In 2007, Source Interlink Media issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire an expert consulting firm to analyze the business, organizational and technical challenges that company faced surrounding enterprise content management, editorial workflow management, digital asset management, and multi-channel publishing. From the impressive list of RFP respondents, Source Interlink Media chose DPCI to help define its enterprise content management strategy.

DPCI began the engagement by meeting with Source Interlink Media senior management to elicit organizational objectives, clarify the scope of work, and define key success factors for the enterprise content management strategy initiative. This ensured that the entire management team was onboard and supportive of the organizational changes needed to implement and maintain a modernized digital publishing platform.

With a clearly defined scope and objectives in place, DPCI continued the discovery process by preparing a questionnaire for distribution to editorial, design, production, ‘Web,’ sales, marketing, and licensing staff across all Source Interlink Media brands. This survey gave DPCI advance information to analyze current-state within the different brands prior to conducting requirements workshops. A second intent of the survey was to give Source Interlink Media stakeholders the time to prepare in advance for the deeper discovery sessions.

Next, DPCI met with representatives from Corporate IT, who provided background on current common practices as well as which parts of the organization had differing or contrary practices. Corporate IT stakeholders also openly shared their concerns about the wide variety of technologies in place and which were either at end-of-life or unsupportable for any number of reasons. In addition, DPCI gathered information on the challenges Corporate IT faced with resource management and availability. DPCI finalized discussions with Corporate IT by documenting the desired future state for information technology organization-wide.

Following these sessions, DPCI conducted interviews with stakeholders at Source Interlink Media brands throughout the country (all of whom had received the questionnaire weeks prior) to evaluate the current state of content creation, editorial workflow, and publication across media channels. This included heavy emphasis on how rich media such as video, audio, and interactive objects were created, semantically enriched and delivered. It became evident that a number of different processes and technologies in place across Source Interlink Media were outdated and not built to support multi-channel content delivery. In some cases, the workflows and technologies in place supported the specific needs of the given Brand. In others, the practices and software in place seemed to remain simply due to inertia.

The overall goal of the focused meetings was to progressively elaborate on business requirements, discuss points of pain associated with content creation and semantic enrichment, editorial workflow, then content delivery and reuse.

At the conclusion of two months of discovery and analysis, DPCI submitted a comprehensive, customized report that documented the strengths and challenges of the current state across all of the Source Interlink Media brands. With the report, DPCI exhaustively documented options for Web content management, digital asset management, editorial workflow management, text mining, and content repository technologies that could fit Source Interlink Media’s functional and nonfunctional requirements.

Additionally, after analyzing the variety of workflows elicited from Source Interlink Media stakeholders across brands, DPCI documented best practices that could be shared across brands to not only help Source Interlink Media become more competitive with its goal to publish across channels, but to also reduce the overall operational costs due to organizational variance.

The report also plainly presented a number of the human resource challenges – both at the management and staff levels – that Source Interlink Media would need to address so as to improve the organization’s chances of meeting its goals around content delivery.

Over the last few years, Source Interlink Media management has put many of DPCI’s objective technological, organizational and process recommendations in place. The company continues to make great strides in implementing its enterprise content management strategy plan.

By centralizing its content, standardizing on editorial workflow and digital asset management best practices, then implementing state-of-the-art Web content management and other multi-channel publishing technologies, Source Interlink Media has transformed itself into a more nimble enthusiast media company in the digital age.