Zürcher Oberland Medien – A successful move to the cloud

Zürcher Oberland Medien AG is the leading publishing and media house in the region. The daily newspapers «Zürcher Oberländer» and «Anzeiger von Uster» reach 64,000 readers each day. With the news portal zueriost.ch, Zürcher Oberland Medien AG provides an around-the-clock, comprehensive overview of events in the region. The portfolio also includes a subscription newspaper and a weekly newspaper. The three media  – daily newspapers, weekly newspaper and online – form the pillars of the multimedia strategy for Zürcher Oberland Medien AG.

Initial situation

The production environment (editorial system incl. peripheral systems) for Zürcher Oberland Medien was built on local servers. With the new build in Wetzikon, Zürcher Oberland Medien AG took a great step towards a modern future. Within this framework, the majority of the local IT infrastructure was also to be outsourced to the cloud - with the help of a&f systems ag.

«As a partner and systems integrator for many years, a&f systems has extensive knowledge and experience in the fields of cloud and publishing. The customer thus receives everything in one place. With our 7/24 hour support, we also always guarantee production security.»
Stefan Schärer, Director of Sales and Marketing, Deputy Managing Director, co-owner of a&f systems ag

Objective

A WoodWing update was carried out back in summer 2019. Within this framework, Gerd Krieger, IT Director of Zürcher Oberland Medien AG and Philippe Lindegger analysed whether the IT environment should continue to be run on-premises – or whether a step into the cloud would be advisable. The advantages of the cloud quickly convinced the customer and were also an excellent fit for our corporate strategy. The foundation stone for migration to a cloud environment was thus laid. In a second step, the advantages of a digital-first strategy were explained.

Digital first enables new processes for the creation of content. The focus here is on the creation of media-neutral stories. The technology provided with WoodWing Studio enables the creation of channel-neutral content via the Digital Editor. Conversion to the corresponding channel is carried out automatically by the system, manual copy & paste steps are no longer necessary. As soon as a story has been positioned on a layout, it can be processed in the browser on a line-by-line basis with appropriate micro-typography using the Print Editor.

 

«There is no need to decide in advance which channel will be used and the focus has changed to a principle of Story First. Publication on digital channels is just as easy as publication in print.»
Christian Glanzmann, Head of Innovations a&f systems ag

Project flow

The joint project between Zürcher Oberland Medien AG and a&f systems started in October 2019. The goal of the migration was to fully outsource the production infrastructure to the a&f Community Cloud at the Green data centre. And consequently, to produce all editions of Zürcher Oberland media in the cloud. With this outsource, systems were hosted and maintained centrally and they remain scalable. High security standards were also guaranteed at the Green data centre in Lupfig. The first successful production in the cloud took place back in March 2020.

«Migrations in productive environments are never easy. With the professional team and Diana Fenato as the Team Leader, we were able to implement the upgrade of the various systems and applications without any production down time. In a publishing company like ours with 110 employees, a project like this is not just a technical migration, it is also a content and process-based migration which demands a lot of commitment from all those involved. a&f was able to provide us with professional support at all times and in problematic situations.»
Gerd Krieger, Director of IT / Software Engineering, Zürcher Oberland Medien AG

Conclusion

The project is a complete success. All persons involved are very satisfied with the end result.

«For us, a&f is a valuable, professional partner with specialist expertise and experience in the field of IT infrastructure, pre-print stages and applications. Everyone is very satisfied with the result. We will continue to take additional expansion steps this year and position ourselves accordingly for the digital future and Digital First.»
Gerd Krieger, Director of IT / Software Engineering, Zürcher Oberland Medien AG

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Philippe Lindegger, CEO, Head of System Engineering, Co-Owner
Philippe
Lindegger
CEO, Head of Systems Engineering, Co-owner
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