CIOs in evolving industries can take a page from the digital publishing industry

Creating a universally accessible platform for your company to innovate on is critical to enterprise success in the digital age.

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You interact with digital publishers everyday – you are right now. For CIOs focused on helping to ensure their brand remains relevant far beyond the digital revolution, the magazine industry offers a unique case study.

The way that people consume information is changing

Just as Amazon upended the traditional retail space, e-readers, blogs and smartphones have turned the world of traditional publishing on its head. In the last 20 years, 20,000 print media positions evaporated. The fact that the World Wide Web began to take modern form during that time is no coincidence.

ValueMags and its eMagazines brand is transforming the magazine industry 

Thankfully, large firms aren’t left to figure out the future on their own. Smaller companies are quickly sprouting up to highlight the opportunities that the Fortune 500s are missing out on.

For example, as bookstore chains shutter their doors, ValueMags is leading the charge towards a digital future for the print media of yesterday. Andrew Degenholtz founded ValueMags in 1999. Since then, he has poured a significant investment of time and capital into creating a digital home for print publications – giving them an opportunity to come back into vogue with an increasingly digital population.

The challenge that many companies and industries face is the diverse set of platforms and channels that consumers use to interact with them. HTML5 has gone a long way towards making websites more accessible across devices that lack support for core plugins, like Flash (looking at you, Steve!).

Like HTML5, Degenholtz’s Universal Digital Edition Reader Program is a new standard that could revolutionize the way magazines are distributed and consumed across digital channels. Converting print media to a readable digital edition might sound obvious and easy, but that’s not the case.

Traditional magazines offer readers a curated escape from their daily lives. Every font, color and page turn is carefully crafted with the unique preferences of the reader in mind. It’s a beautiful experience from start to finish. Degenholtz is betting that he can create a platform that still allows publishers to create a unique experience without changes to their production workflow, while improving their reach and accessibility across the generation gap.

CIOs must pivot to define and lead changes in distributing information

Just as Degenholtz is pioneering a new path forward for print magazines, CIOs at firms of all sizes need to galvanize the C-suite around initiatives that take the good from yesterday and adapt it to the future needs of consumers.

One-size-fits-all isn’t the answer. Instead, CIOs should look to create technology that allows the rest of the organization to create unique experiences using a uniform foundation of internal tech. Sound complicated? It is, but the rewards are unending.

Uber defines itself as a technology firm for good reason. They’ve created a unified platform that works across a wide variety of devices and serves almost every facet of the traveling public. From a single platform, I can have food delivered to my doorstep or travel to a friend’s house.

Uber looked at the needs of a population that is increasingly disinterested in car ownership. Their technology paved the way for a huge network of independent contractors to disrupt the taxi industry. Magazine publishers will more often define themselves as content producers and the medium doesn’t matter. Be it print, web, mobile, video, the message is delivered by trusted brands that reach you where you are.

Universal technology is the foundation that massive change is built on. Are you providing your company with the technical infrastructure required to unleash the power and creativity of your enterprise?

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