Partners

Collaboration at the Core: How 200ok and Livingdocs Created a Customised Yet Cost-Effective DAM Solution for blue

Sarah Robins

When Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms company and one of its leading IT companies, decided to scale their bluewin.ch platform to host news, sports and tv — now known as blue — they went to Livingdocs to find a cost-effective, reliable data asset management solution. Having already worked with blue, Livingdocs understood their needs and looked to 200ok to develop a DAM product which would fulfill their requirements. In partnership with Livingdocs, 200ok developed alephDAM, a data asset management system which was then tailored to suit blue’s specific needs, in particular the optimisation, consolidation and configuration of newswire feeds to ensure transparent and reliable content delivery.

Goals

  • A more cost-effective solution than a monolithic, off-the-shelf product

  • A faster, more reliable DAM system

  • Reduction of erroneous imports

  • Better synchronicity and transparency of article import process

  • Frictionless implementation of new DAM

Results

  •  A modular solution optimised to meet blue’s individual needs at a 20% lower cost while offering 3x greater import volume

  • Better control and proactive monitoring of asset delivery

  • Negligible number of faulty imports

  • Total feed aggregation with visible status updates for individual content delivery

  • Seamless integration of alephDAM with the Livingdocs publishing system

Successful collaboration since 2018

In 2018, Livingdocs was brought on to become the technological backbone for the bluewin.ch news platform, Swisscom’s News & Entertainment branch, particularly in facilitating the interplay between bluewin news content and Swisscom TV. Livingdocs not only enabled bluewin to present seasonal, topical news content dossiers that enriched and highlighted the TV offerings — especially in the sports department — but also allowed them to develop a new, more forward-thinking business model. The Livingdocs team was successful in assisting bluewin’s move to scale, and the project resulted in enhanced editing options for the newsroom, cross-channel publishing capabilities, and greater potential for new approaches and formats. Thanks to the Livingdocs digital content creation and publishing system, bluewin.ch enhanced their capabilities when it came to creating their own digital news content by choosing a publishing system that is intuitive to use and allows them to provide readers with clustered, coherent content.

Thanks to the combination of Livingdocs and alephDAM, we are able to configure and publish feeds with less effort and without delays.

Cyrill Treptow, Head of blue

New needs were arising

In this way, bluewin.ch had started to create more of its own original content through Livindocs and was supplemented by news feeds; now, they needed better control over organising which newswire content was delivered where and at what time. So when bluewin.ch (now simply known as blue) wanted to find a data asset management solution that would improve the configuration of external article importation, they looked to Livingdocs for guidance. After all, as one of Livingdocs' first customer success stories, blue trusted the Livingdocs team based the foundation built in the first round of collaboration.

More reliability and transparency

The DAM blue was using when they came to Livingdocs for guidance was a monolithic, off-the shelf solution which, according to Cyril Treptow, Head of blue, was only used at a fraction of its capacity; there was no need to make use of its full range of capabilities. Rather, blue wanted a DAM that would be customised for their needs as a publisher and, thereby, would be both more cost-friendly and more effective. 

In particular, blue needed a newswire feed aggregator that could pull together feeds from a wide variety of agencies in a central way to seamlessly provide content for publishing. The DAM they were using did not show the status of articles imported from the feed, so there was no way to know if articles were not imported correctly and therefore not published at all. Moreover, as the newswire feeds come in different formats — and as blue encompasses a variety of media including news, sports and video — blue needed a solution that better handled all this various data without losing efficiency or functionality.

Having a more tailored, transparent, and reliable solution for feed consolidation and configuration would ensure that blue not only could provide up-to-the-minute news consistently but also could better meet distribution agreements with news agencies to publish articles at the same time. And as Cyril Treptow mentioned, these feeds come at a cost, so it was important to make sure that blue was making best use of the content. And ensuring the synchronicity of blue’s original content and that of external newswires would increase the legitimacy of the blue news platform from a journalistic standard in regard to timeliness and coherence. 

A strategic product partnership

How did Livingdocs respond to this call for assistance? We proposed the following: a well-strategised product partnership. To best suit the needs of our customer blue, Livingdocs looked to 200ok, a fellow Swiss software company specialising in product development, consulting, and open source integration. Livingdocs and 200ok had already worked together closely for years, 200ok having worked on the Livingdocs Core starting already back in 2015. Livingdocs was confident that 200ok would be the perfect partner to fulfil the brief: to create a faster, more reliable, more transparently functioning DAM for blue that could be seamlessly integrated into the existing Livingdocs CMS.

Working with Livingdocs is fantastic. We share a common passion for delivering high-quality software with leading-edge technology. Even under intense time pressure, it is easy to work with them because they stay calm and focused on delivering high value. We appreciate them as an engaged, agile and reliable partner. Most importantly, they are great folks and fun to be around!

Alain M. Lafon, CEO of 200ok

And what did 200ok do? They developed alephDAM, a data asset management system that would automate the delivery of news agency content — articles, videos, and images — with a single point of integration and configuration. And because the product was developed in collaboration with Livingdocs, it was fully compatible with our content management system. 200ok also addressed the specific pain points that blue articulated with alephDAM. For example, 200ok optimised alephDAM to show the status of articles imported from news feeds, so that one could see which articles were properly delivered, and which were not. Moreover, 200ok provided a proactive monitoring service as an additional safety measure to fix the issue upstream before anyone could notice, thereby ensuring complete alignment. This allowed for a better overview and measurably improved configuration of the newswire content.

The "one-stop shop" to create content and work with external imports

What does this mean for blue? It means no more scrambling to publish newswire articles that weren’t properly imported the first time, or missing them all together. If there is any failure of feed delivery, it is monitored and shown clearly in the status update, allowing for a faster response and solution. And if blue needs to add new feeds, this can be done without friction thanks to flexible, competent customer support. As Cyril Treptow mentioned, while implementing alephDAM may have required an initial investment, it was well worth it: “We can rely on a smooth operation.” Blue now has a one-stop stop for content creation and data asset management specifically tailored to their specific needs and the broader requirements of a publisher operating in the digital arena. In other words, the journalists’ needs to easily create original content is covered by the Livingdocs system, and the administrative need to properly consolidate and configure external imports into the system is covered by 200ok’s product alephDAM.

A tailored solution for demanding customers

The successful implementation of alephDAM at blue proved its effectiveness as a product, and laid the foundation for it to be put to use in other scenarios with a growing number of customers; alephDAM is available to Livingdocs customers who want a data asset management system that is customised and modular. With few comparable products on the market, we feel alephDAM is a great asset for publishers who need a tailored yet holistic solution to handle the massive volumes of digital content that media companies must process daily.