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Comyan's Focus on Integration

 

Many IT people believe that integration is hard. They saw it all before: Two or three expensive systems, vendors promising everything, and at the end the two systems just don’t talk to each other and the vendors are shifting the blame on each other. No wonder why so many people buy hugely expensive all-in-one “we can do everything” systems, even if their specific features may be very mediocre sometimes.

Thinking about it, that is probably an advantage for a smaller manufacturer. (More precisely: an advantage of working with a smaller manufacturer.) He simply cannot afford to put the blame on the other system, he just needs to make it work and fix it.

Anyway, this is how we always did it (in one case in Cologne even becoming the “missing link” in the middle of two big systems, see case study), and one of Comyan’s greatest areas of expertise.

We believe that it is impossible to be good at everything. In other words, having an “all-in-one” System that washes, dries and makes your dinner is probably not a very healthy choice. We learned (yes it is quite hard sometimes) to focus on things that we can do really well. We are aiming at a level of user comfort that users will really benefit from the tool so much, making them so much more productive, that they will love it. And then we integrate it with as many as ten or fifteen different other systems, which our clients are already running in their enterprise - editorial systems, page planning systems, even other archiving systems and “content management” systems. Technically, this is sometimes not easy - but we believe it is the way better strategy, and more flexible for any needs arising in the future.

Focus on quality

Whenever we do an integration, we are striving not just to “somehow” get the data across, but to do it really well - including formatting, links and structure, all the meta-data and all the different bits and pieces that make up a newspaper, for instance. Because we already know that this material will be the basis not only for the archive, but also for any delivery to other syndication partners, for the ePaper publication and also for any other kind of digital output in the future (using our flexible template language).

Production Integration

Another example is the integration in production - getting digital assets like images, graphics or videos into the production systems. There is usually more than one production system - you may not want to produce video in a newspaper “content management system” - so having a neutral platform for these assets is really a requirement. Fortunately, techniques and options for integration have greatly improved recently, and where before Comyan had to fight to get access to the (proprietary) interface specification, now modern webservice architectures are gradually becoming the standard.

So this makes your enterprise not only more flexible, but also more independent of those “big” manufacturers, who might not always be so interested in solving your integration problems in the future.