Q&A 

Workflows: 5 minutes with… Tom York

The way publishers create, manage and distribute content is changing rapidly. How can publishers avoid getting left behind? We grab five minutes with Tom York, general manager at Atex, to find out.

By Tom York

Workflows: 5 minutes with… Tom York
Photograph: Marvin Meyer on Unsplash.

Q: What are the current trends in publishing workflows?

A: Recent trends have focused on allowing production of quality, rich content that’s formed in such a manner that it is not channel dependent or does not require a huge effort to repurpose. This allows the flexibility to determine, as content flows through the workflow, whether it follows a digital first workflow for example, or another workflow.

Of course, recent events have dictated that workflows most be transparent and accessible in a completely remote working environment.

Q: Where, typically, do workflow inefficiencies occur?

A: There has been focus on driving efficiencies for several years now, predominantly around templating of print pages and streamlining print and digital workflows. That said, with the progression of AI there are still measurable improvements to be made in these areas.

Multi-channel editing is also still a common topic of discussion. Organising this properly and really focusing on having one common piece of content containing all the required attributes, such as metadata, SEO specific headlines etc for any channel can improve efficiency considerably if implemented well.

Q: What role has AI in improving workflow performance?

A: This is an exciting area that I expect will evolve at speed over the coming years. We’re seeing interesting developments in terms of automation, that might be image recognition, content tagging, print page production or even content creation. All of which are bringing benefits to the quality of content as well as the efficiency of production.

Q: What are the benefits of a 'headless' approach to digital publishing?

A: The way readers are consuming digital content is changing rapidly, and so is the design of websites and mobile apps. At the same time, publishers typically have a great legacy, with content archives spanning across decades, if not centuries. By separating the content repository from the actual content rendering, media companies can make sure they will preserve their archive for the longer term, while always providing their readers with the most up-to-date user experience. A headless CMS provides the structure to match any production workflow. It integrates with external content feeds and it allows the front-end to be easily managed, so the user experience will be always optimal.

Q: What is the most efficient way of publishing to social media platforms?

A: Some publishers delegate the social media publishing to the same editor creating the content: in that case it’s very efficient to have the social sharing tools already available in the editor interface. While the content is created, separate fields allow the entering of a specific title and description for social media. Sharing buttons then are available to publish on each network either immediately or at a specific date / time. Other media organisations, however, prefer to have a separate team managing their social media presence. They typically use dedicated platforms to create and manage a publishing calendar across all content and channels. For them, usually an integration is provided to automatically sync content between the CMS and the chosen social publishing platform.

Q: How can publishers ensure that they get the best out of their content management system?

A: The demands of the industry are moving quickly and it’s important to have a system that’s not constrained in terms of technology, workflow configuration or integration points, all of which are changing regularly. Having all archive, agency and production content accessible from a single interface would also give publishers the content consistency and flexibility to search, manage and adapt content however scenarios may dictate.

Q: What’s in the pipeline for Atex?

A: We have found more and more publishers are now demanding a fully hosted and managed solution to reduce infrastructure and support costs. All of our products are available on AWS and this will remain important in our thinking when developing or introducing new products.

Recent feedback related to digital content creation has led to development of an SEO scoring tool and longform editor which have been included in our Multichannel Publishing system, Desk.

Similarly, our headless cms ACE, is quickly evolving to match our customers’ needs and the new GraphQL interface allows ease and efficiency of front-end development and content delivery.

We’ll continue to focus on evolving quickly with the needs and requirements of the industry, based on trends and feedback from users, bringing new ideas and solutions into our pipeline that can provide a measurable difference for our customers.

"Atex solutions allow today's publishers to scale and address tomorrow's challenges."

About us

Atex provides smart solutions for the media industry. We support publishers and media to develop a sustainable business through innovative technologies and services. Content management, digital and print publishing, advertising management, collaboration tools and optimised workflows: Atex solutions allow today's publishers to scale and address tomorrow's challenges.