Enterprise Content Management Strategy for the Daily Racing Form

Daily Racing Form (DRF), "America's Turf Authority Since 1894," has provided horse racing fans with industry news and deep statistical analysis for over 116 years. Beginning as a four-page broadsheet publication, DRF now produces up to 2,000 unique pages of statistical and editorial copy every day, in as many as 25 daily editions.

DRF was operating it publishing business with a great deal of risk. DRF designers and writers worked on 10 year old Macintosh hardware with versions of operating systems and creative applications that were no longer supported by the manufacturers. The editorial workflow process was managed by a lightweight newspaper workflow management system that did not provide revision control, template management or any method for exporting print content for online publishing.

DRF images and videos were managed in an outdated digital asset management system. There were no standards in place for photography submission, images were not categorized and for the most part, no metadata or rights information was associated with photos or videos. This made search, retrieval and distribution of digital assets a cumbersome and time-consuming process.

Once the editorial workflow process was complete for print, DRF editorial staff would copy and paste article content from the final print layouts into the Web content management system. This print-to-Web publishing process did not allow for semantic enrichment of the article content to include related linking or SEO attributes. In addition, DRF staff had little control over the Website or the underlying platform. The design, interface and content control were locked down leaving the organization with no way to expand the solution to meet the growing needs of the business or its consumers.

DRF management was looking to modernize the editorial and publishing processes in an effort to rapidly publish content to print and Web with fewer touch points. DRF retained DPCI to help develop a technology roadmap and enterprise content management strategy to support the company’s multi-channel publishing and long-term growth needs.

DPCI helped DRF define an organizational strategy for delivery of content to print, Web, and mobile devices. DPCI conducted a series of discovery meetings with DRF stakeholders to evaluate the current state of content creation, editorial workflow, and publication across media channels. The overall goal of the meetings was to progressively elaborate on business requirements and discuss points of pain associated with content creation and semantic enrichment, editorial workflow, then multi-channel content delivery.

At the conclusion of the discovery and analysis, DPCI submitted a comprehensive, customized report that documented the strengths and challenges of the current state at DRF. DPCI found that while the current state technology and processes in place had evolved over the years to allow DRF to produce the daily newspaper, there was little to no room for improvement or expansion. For DRF to meet its goals, it was evident that a new technology infrastructure coupled with new processes was needed to facilitate future growth of the DRF brand online, in print, and on other content platforms.

Within the report, DPCI offered technology recommendations for Web content management, digital asset management, editorial workflow management, text mining, and content repository technologies that could fit DRF’s multi-channel publishing goals.

DRF put many of DPCI’s objective technological and process recommendations in place for the company’s enterprise content management strategy. DPCI helped DRF develop a scalable technical architecture to support the organization’s needs around multi-channel publishing. The primary components of this new architecture included the Drupal Web content management system, tightly integrated with the K4 Publishing System, both of which were implemented by DPCI on DRF’s behalf.

In addition, DRF upgraded its existing digital asset management system, Canto Cumulus. The upgrade provided enhanced functionality used by DRF staff to organize the volumes of photos and videos and apply metadata to aid in the search, retrieval and distribution of DRF digital assets.

In the words of Alex Lorberg, The Daily Racing Form’s CTO: “Following DPCI's proven methodology of careful requirements gathering, process and resource evaluation, and analysis, DPCI helped us transform the publishing infrastructure. This provided DRF with a lean and efficient print operation while allowing the company to quickly push relevant content to the web site and allow for addition of various e-commerce elements that promote impulse buying.

Read more about how DPCI helped DRF transform its print and Web publishing workflow using the K4 Publishing system and the Drupal Web content management system.