Like every other bit of news that has come over the wire during the past few months, recent announcements from web content management company Clickability were colored with a somber awareness of the world’s current state of economic uncertainty. Clickability employs a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which in the technology industry in general has struggled to assert dominance over the traditional installed software model. But in these tight economic times, Clickability executives maintain that the agility and efficiency of the SaaS model are becoming much more attractive to prospective WCM customers. Clickability’s announcements aim to show that the company is working to drive technological innovation and keep up with industry trends. "This is a series of announcements built around the idea that we’re not talking about business as usual," said Clickability CEO John Girard. "We’re talking about survival."
Monday, November 17, marked the announcement of the availability of Clickability’s Media Solution. The product provides a centrally managed SaaS content repository that enables large media companies to share digital content across their organization and publish it to multiple devices and web channels. Its feature set includes tagging and annotating, and asset-linking across channels and publications. The repository allows companies to create targeted microsites or regional portals that rely on metadata to automatically populate with appropriate content and contextual links. The Clickability platform also allows for the sharing of content among separate customers, creating a mutually beneficial content-publishing ecosystem.
Girard is quick to tout the Clickability Media Solution’s SaaS-based delivery platform as a sound financial option for companies that are struggling to make ends meet in the midst of an international credit crisis and a volatile stock market. "Those who aren’t bold enough to move aggressively and transform their businesses are unlikely to survive," he said. He points out that SaaS solutions keep companies from having to worry about building and maintaining their own dedicated infrastructure. Because of the nature of SaaS, which does not depend on hardware releases, customers do not have to wait months or years for new improvements to be released and installed.
Through private, beta-style partnerships the software has already gained some traction. Clickability’s Media Solution is already being used by media companies such as the Star Tribune Company in Minneapolis, Philadelphia Media Holdings (the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News) and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
Clickability executives flew into New York City from their San Francisco home base last week for the inaugural meeting of the Clickability Media Board of advisors, held on November 14. The formation of the board is the outgrowth of the company’s efforts to drive technological innovation and keep up with media industry trends.
"The essential mandate is for us to understand, based on the experience and skills of our advisors, what is happening in the media industry and how we can play a part in this rapidly evolving marketplace," CEO Girard said. "The return for our board members is for them to have a chance to sit down with their peers and discuss these issues together."
Members of the Board of Advisors include, among others, Brian Buchwald, SVP of local digital media and multiplatform for NBC; Aiden Colie, former SVP of internet technology for Time Inc.; Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal; Bill Grueskin, dean of academic affairs at the Columbia School of Journalism; and Michael Rogers, futurist-in-residence at The New York Times. Topics to be taken up at future meetings of the advisory board include how new technologies, such as cloud computing, social media, and shared content repositories are creating new revenue opportunities through collaborative content exchange.
While Clickability’s recent efforts to encourage new ways of thinking about WCM solutions may not solve all the world’s economic woes, CEO Girard thinks the company’s approach can at least ward off some of the gloom that has beset the media industry. "We’re trying to figure out what we can all do as media companies to take advantage of technological trends," he said. "I think that digital technologies are going to be the savior of the media industry."