Somedia, formerly Südostschweiz Medien, is a Swiss family-run company and the leading media company in the south-east of Switzerland. It operates from 10 locations in the cantons of Graubünden, Glarus, St. Gallen and Zurich. With 650 employees, Somedia provides residents of south-east Switzerland with information from the region relating to politics, sport, culture, and entertainment via print, radio, TV and online services. Somedia has already been using a&f systems and the product range from WoodWing for many years. Now it is time for an upgrade – together with modernisation of the workflow to «Online First».
Starting position and aims
The Somedia software was outdated and no longer met current standards for security and user-comfort. The WoodWing environment was created in 2015 – with the last update imported in 2016. The Content Station was based on Adobe Air technology, which is no longer supported, and the web solution with Flash has been unusable since the start of 2021. Adobe InDesign CS6 became more unstable with each MacOS update and was no longer compatible with the current OS versions.
A current and up-to-date system was needed which would simplify support and which could be regularly updated. So, the old WoodWing systems (Enterprise and Elvis) were to be updated to the latest WoodWing systems Studio and Assets. The editorial team at Südostschweiz also wanted to implement a digital first strategy and improve the work processes for online and newspaper editing, which had already been merged, and include a connection to the existing Somedia CMS. To do this, an application was needed which would enable the authoring of neutral articles.
Somedia and a&f systems have been a coordinated team for over 30 years. So it was clear to Somedia that they would also work together on the new project.
«We have been working together since 1990 and value the expertise of a&f systems in the field of editorial systems. Right from the start, the project team provided good and competent support and responded quickly to our questions.»Hans Peter Bühler, Head of IT-Services at Somedia.
In summer 2019, Urs Felber and Christian Glanzmann (a&f systems ag) presented the WoodWing Studio solution (at that time, still known as Aurora) to IT management at Somedia. The product was discussed extensively within the editorial team and at the end of 2019, all participants at a&f systems could visualise WoodWing Studio. In 2020, the requirements from Somedia for the offer were drafted during a workshop. The project was finally implemented from January 2021 and went live successfully in May 2021. From the start, the product range from WoodWing was impressive at every level:
«We were able to upgrade the existing and proven, but outdated editorial system to a new more versatile and more modern solution, without having implement something completely new. We were thus able to carry out the migration without major training requirements and with little risk.»Hans Peter Bühler, Head of IT Services at Somedia.
The greatest challenge was the upgrade from Elvis 4 to Assets 6. Because the old Elvis installation presented a completely different data structure than the new Assets, a complex data migration was necessary. Technically, this was very challenging which is why a time-intensive test run for the migration was carried out first. This meant that Assets could not go live at the same time as Studio in May 2021, and was instead introduced a few weeks later. However, with the test run and good planning, the migration eventually ran smoothly. The interface to the Somedia CMS was initially underestimated by the customer and it was necessary to reduce it to the essentials to enable the timely implementation. However, this proved successful both financially and in the context of a lean process.
«The cooperation with Somedia worked really well. The technical contact partners for the customer had good knowledge and were committed to the project. The editorial team actively designed new workflows and was familiar with the new processes at the start of production.»Christian Pfister, System Engineer Application a&f systems ag
The project was a complete success, the main deadlines were met as planned. Of course, there were sometimes challenges which had to be resolved and this took a lot of time – however the good cooperation from all partners ensured that the system was ready on the GoLive date and only a few user-relevant corrections were necessary. The editorial processes were optimised, the output of neutral articles to the Somedia online platforms is now quicker and easier.
«We are very pleased with WoodWing. It is a good, integrated solution. Working in the browser with WoodWing Studio and Assets is much easier than before for both the editorial team as well as IT support.»Hans Peter Bühler, Head of IT Services at Somedia.
DER SPIEGEL relies on a&f systems and the WoodWing product range for its “Workflows + Systems” project
DER SPIEGEL has been working with WoodWing Assets since 2019. Plans are to roll out WoodWing Studio throughout the group in the summer of 2021. The print and online editorial offices merge at the content production level in the “Workflows + Systems” project. a&f systems supports the entire technical change-over process.