Condé Nast turned to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)-and the company didn't have far to turn, since the product (then known as CQ to Condé Nast) was already being used for the Vanity Fair website. Smith says the company was wondering "what could we do where we take the assets that we have and more easily get them ready for a traditional magazine team to pour them into easily workable templates."
The answer was right under the company's nose. "Many people around the company were kind of like, ‘We have these assets already going into the website, we're pulling prism XML content from closed-print pages and preparing it to be ready to go to the website-we know we've got people there who are trained to do these things; why can't we find a way to use the asset management available in AEM and really use that as the interface for magazine people, who are really familiar with print assets, to be able to edit and navigate through their content?'" Smith says.
Smith says Condé Nast was "extraordinarily fortunate" that the AEM team from Canada "really came and partnered with us." She says the team came to Condé Nast's offices and "really introduced to us a lot of the ideas about more easily manipulating content and ways that we could more smartly build templates so that they would respond well to what we're doing."
One thing that was unique about their partnership is that Condé Nast was one of the first companies to use the combination of AEM and Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite together-a fact that was highlighted in a February 2014 Adobe press release announcing the integration of the two products.
Adobe wrote of the new integration, it "enables publishers and brands to create, deliver and measure experiences across content-rich apps, like digital magazines, and the Web using one set of assets. As a result, organizations can accelerate application authoring, reduce publishing costs across channels, and deliver a consistent brand experience and content marketing strategy on the Web and mobile devices."
"Basically, we did this together," Smith says. "It was truly like a Condé Nast, AEM, Adobe project to make this work." Dave Dickson, senior product marketing manager for Digital Publishing Suite at Adobe, also touts the success of the partnership. "It's a consistent brand experience across different channels," Dickson says. "They can deliver content in a more seamless fashion with the iPhone app."
Dickson says, "It really allows them to take their content they've produced in digital format and keep that in the central repository and accelerates that offering for the iPhone app by 5 days, using less workflow." Also-and this is a key selling point for a magazine as image-friendly as Vanity Fair-it's easy on the eyes too. "It's a gorgeous publication that really takes advantage of the iPhone, and with this accelerated workflow, it's certainly delivering business benefits to Condé Nast also," Dickson says.
Smith agrees, saying the new product has "been hugely successful for us." In using AEM for this project, she adds, "We tried to kind of use the system we've been able to create for our regular digital edition and make sure we are then able to further streamline that and make it more effective."
And it sounds as if Condé Nast has been able to do just that. Smith says creating the traditional digital publication using Adobe's Digital Publishing takes about 2 to 3 weeks per issue and possibly more, depending on the content of that month's issue. The company's goal for the iPhone edition was to put it together in a week. Working with AEM, the company has been able to achieve that goal.
So what's the next Condé Nast title to benefit from this new AEM-fueled app method? Smith says four magazines at the company are currently in development, but she wasn't able to disclose the titles being worked with.
Smith says, "The goal for our company is that we are available everywhere. Our goal is to make sure we have content where our readers are, and if they want to read this in print, we have it available for them there. If they want to read this on a tablet, we have beautiful interactive editions for them there. If they want to read it on their phone, we want to have a beautiful, interactive phone editions available for them."