In the current digital age, media & publishing companies are combatting a vast range of products, delivery channels and revenue models, not to mention the array of advertising and sponsorship options. Clients may pay by the month, week, day, or even per article, all the while advertisers may have deals that range from placement across several publications and websites to varied options spanning video ads, specialized content or webinar sponsorships.

In a world where such a mixed-media, mixed-revenue model exists, publishers using traditional business software tools often can't keep up. Legacy systems made up of numerous business silos make it extremely difficult for publishers to have a holistic singular view of their business and, as a result, it is near impossible to cross data from the other siloed systems and analyse it before the data becomes outdated. With each silo having individualised and specific workflows, it's impossible to track a client's interactions with the company from the first contact to invoice, or a creative content project as it moves from sales to finance to creative to production and fulfilment, and back again to order renewal.

Each of these aspects is a distinct piece of a puzzle that ends up unassembled, unreviewable, and unproductive.

In an effort to correct the pain of siloed business software some publishers will attempt to connect their ERP and point solutions using an ad-hoc technical solution or labour-intensive programming, but the outcomes are usually inadequate and require constant maintenance.

Many leading publishing companies have found solace though, adopting a cloud-based ERP platform. A unified platform with media & publishing-specific features, integrated data and workflows for project management and accounting, staff and freelance time and expense management, advertising sales, subscriber data, and analytics under one, singular, unified umbrella, namely, NetSuite.

Explicitly, cloud ERP can help publishers to:

  • Manage all clients, from subscribers to advertisers, from one application, integrating sales, back-office financial, accounting and order management processes all under a unified platform.
  • Implement and run sales campaigns within the system and seamlessly analyse results.
  • Manage insertion order sales for advertisers and subscription sales in one place.
  • Track advertisements from insertion order through fulfilment and verification, and then automatically generate invoices per tailored billing schedules.
  • View the order management process as one integrated workflow that spans quote to cash.

To make sure that the cloud ERP platform you select provides that kind of visibility and control over your publishing data and business processes, you should evaluate it for four critical, functional capabilities. Those are:

Role-based dashboards.

Dashboards let you see your most critical data, KPIs, reminders and reports right up front. Cloud-based dashboards can be customized for separate roles and preferences to display a wide range of content—such as real-time graphs and charts, messages and emails, KPIs, calendar entries, deadlines, tasks, red alerts when important numbers go out of parameter, deadlines, and saved searches and reports.

Collaborative workflow.

When you can link content and messages with workflow, collaborating becomes much easier. With a flexible, integrated platform, employees from different departments can easily communicate with customers, projects and other daily issues by associating workflow tasks, reminders, emails, alerts and reports. The recipient doesn't have to search for supporting information as it's all linked and in one place.

360-degree view of customers.

With all client and project files linked together, managers and sales reps have a complete view of a client—all current and insertion orders, KPIs, emails, contracts, ad specs, etc. That's a competitive advantage to advertising reps, customer service reps, marketing managers and business analysts.

Real-time data and analysis tools.

With access to real-time data, publishers not only see the latest results in time to correct course, but can analyse that data against other real-time or historical data to identify trends, perform what-if scenarios, and forecast future performance. In an industry that runs on constantly changing data—ad impressions, content downloads, conversions and costs—that's a valuable capability.

Publishers want to have better insight into campaign performance and not be forced into reactive corrections at the end of the month. A cloud-based ERP platform can give them that kind of visibility and control.