Project Advantage Takes Shape
Trade publisher Cahners Business Information dives off a different platform
with the adoption of Windows-based solutions.
As of late, Y2K has given publishers a reason to take a hard look at their computer infrastructures, leading to system overhauls and an abundance of equipment buys. For trade publisher Cahners Business Information's Des Plaines, IL, office, Y2K had little to do with the publisher's recent conversion from a Mac-based to a Windows 95 and NT-driven workflow.
Supporting this project fell upon the shoulders of Manny Dominguez, Cahner's editorial development and support team leader, who came to Cahners with more than 10 years of experience in R.R. Donnelley's Research and Develop-ment department. The conversion, dubbed "Project Advantage," proved to be one that was challenging and remarkably beneficial, measured by a more efficient workflow.
Identifying the need
In 1998, with corporate support from Cahners and parent company Reed Elsevier, London—which had signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft, Seattle—Project Advan-tage was launched. The project's primary goal involved an office-wide platform conversion from Macintosh to Windows 95 and NT.
"At one time, Cahners believed that Apple was not going to make it," recalls Dominguez. "Another reason we decided to go with Microsoft was because of speed." Project Advantage also sought to standardize hardware. Working in a standard platform, according to Dominguez, would allow for more consistent systems support.
Selecting hardware was one of the first challenges. Dominguez realized that several departments within the organization would require unique workstations that best suited their individual needs. Based upon a recommendation from Reed Elsevier, Compaq workstations were chosen for the editorial and art departments.
"We purchased everything from the high-end machines for the art department (6300s) to pizza-box machines (6400s) for the editorial staff who wouldn't require the higher processing speeds," Dominguez reports. Each of the high-end workstations were equipped with Jaz and Zip drives. Microsoft NT servers were also installed, allowing the publisher to create "a stable system that could be deployed across the entire facility." Implementation of the new NT-based system was methodical and well-planned. "We started up the server in December and got the first three publications (Contractor, Construction Equip-ment and QuickPrint Products) working in the new workflow by the beginning of January," Dominguez recalls.