Practicing What They Preach
The result was not only "seamless interfaces that eliminated redundant keying of identical data," according to Dugan. The process also speeded recovery of the $125,000 BusinessWeek invested to define and acquire the system. Indeed, the software paid for itself in the first year through cost-savings and added efficiencies, BW's Masterson says.
The resulting custom software not only costs less to operate than the old, mostly manual workflow. It's also faster and more accurate than the process it replaced—and it's not dependent on any key personnel.
Perhaps the change with the biggest impact is how the Pragmatix solution makes it possible for BusinessWeek to eliminate paper magazine shipping labels. This became an issue whenever the circulation department had to deal with a special request from an advertiser or editor.
Say an editor is speaking at a conference in Seattle, and wants 1,000 copies of the latest issue sent to the show. This used to require manually filling out forms to intercept the print run, and have 1,000 issues packaged and shipped out separately. It was expensive and time-consuming from both a labor and postal perspective.
Now, using a Web-based form in the software built by Pragmatix, BusinessWeek's production people can have 1,000 copies bundled with the new address, and dispense with the problem in minutes.
The new system also delivers higher data accuracy by reducing typos and automating delivery decisions, Masterson says: "For special copies, it was confusing [as to] what delivery method should be used. Was it for a speech? To go to a key CEO? Due overnight or a week later? This [new system] automates and sorts out how things go."
Production workers can also automate requests. "[The software] lets requesters set up standing requests for, say, fast shipment of the issue to the CEO of a big advertiser for three months," says Bill Abram, CEO of Pragmatix. "For the first time, they can set up that request automatically."