The delivery of content is becoming almost as important as the content itself. That’s why Clickability, a software as a service content management provider and Akamai, a global service provider for accelerating content and applications online, have announced a spiffy new partnership which aims to provide an integrated solution that will improve the speed, reliability and performance of the web sites of their shared customers in the media industry.
The Changing Dynamics for Online Publishers
In an interview with Rob Lamb, Clickability’s Director of Customer and Partner Development and Pedros Santos, Akamai’s Senior Product Line Marketing Manager, the challenges facing traditional publishers in the online world were discussed along with their new partnership to help these publishers maximize their digital assets through the use of on-demand services.
According to Rob Lamb, content is no longer proprietary. Users can go from one site to another to find the best place for information. With over 20% of the Internet traffic flowing over Akamai’s services, the cost of taking the time to switch between sites is not an issue. As a result, time to market becomes critical and where once the goal was to get as many paid views as possible, it’s now the quality of the experience from a delivery perspective that is key.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
So what are these two companies doing? Using Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator Solution in conjunction with Clickability’s cmPublish content management platform, they are providing the Minneapolis Star Tribune with a 100% hosted web presence that is expected to reliably scale to support their needs and provide a rich user experience their web site visitors expect. Their needs are great. The Star Tribune gets over 2 million page views per day and they add over 35,000 new content pieces per week by some 200 plus contributing editors.
Both Santos and Lamb discussed the changes that are happening behind the economics of media companies today. Years ago, newspapers and magazines had to have a website. Today web sites need to have a newspaper. Traditional publishers aren’t just competing online with each other; they are competing with YouTube, social media and user-generated content sites. Thus the volume and type of content they serve is paramount. It’s also not just about the content itself, but how they can optimize their content assets to repurpose for monetization and conversion events. Lamb says customers are asking for new things every day.
The Philly.com Connection
This isn’t the first time Clickability and Akamai have saw fit to partner. They were brought together by their shared customer Philly.com to design a solution that would enable them to build a world class media site. Recognizing the need for an extremely scalable infrastructure, Philly.com wanted to be sure they were prepared for whatever their future would be. Already having been through two significant site redesigns that introduced new functionality and rich media, Philly.com is now in the middle of a major video initiative said Rob Lamb. The solution Akamai and Clickability provides them has allowed Philly.com to grow in any size or direction.
Akamai’s Dynamic Site Accelerator
Akamai has created a digital operating environment -- dubbed the EdgePlatform -- for the Web. The system consists of a network of 26,000 servers worldwide equipped to service their customers. This network is designed to improve the performance and reliability of rich dynamic content, applications and online video regardless of where that content or the person requesting it is located.
According to Pedros Santos the Dynamic Site Accelerator speeds up the delivery of assets online. It utilizes the EdgePlatform and is not just about caching, but about routing the content through the fastest path. The Dynamic Site Accelerator also provides secure content whether through SSL or protected by access controls. Customers have access to a portal that contains tools to monitor and manage Web site and content issues, configuration and performance.
cmPublish is a fully-hosted (SaaS) web content management system. It offers authoring, staging, publishing, email management social media and analytic tools.
The product has 100% web-based interface and includes a hybrid data model for both structured and unstructured content. Traditionally, Clickability’s clients have been in the media space, but they are diversifying into the corporate web content management arena, as well as expanding eastward, with new offices in the United Kingdom.
Rob Lamb says that one of the biggest benefits of using cmPublish which is a “software as a service” solution platform is that they take on all the risks of hosting and maintaining the web sites. The company implements three to four major releases a year. Companies aren’t able to do that using an in-house software solution. The benefit to the customer is that they can focus what’s truly important to them -- the content and to increase profitability using that content.
What’s Next for Akamai and Clickability?
When asked what’s next for the partnership, Rob Lamb indicated that Akamai will become a premium service offering for Clickability customers. While it there is no single solution to fit every customer, those with tremendous volumes of content -- and content that is more than basic text and graphics -- will gain the most from the Akamai service.
Publishing to the web is a core requirement for media and marketing companies. The need to produce high quality content combined with a high quality user experience shows that these web sites are becoming a two-way communication tool that traditional publishing doesn’t support.
Pedro Santos agrees. He indicated that a number of publishing companies are using the Akamai services today to help monetize what they are doing online. It’s not just about the pay load; it’s about the marketing side and the digital assets that are delivered. To do this speed becomes critical and according to Santos, the Akamai solution is key.
It does seem like this partnership will do wonders for the upper tier Clickability customers. But to get their money's worth they are going to have to take the time to build, analyze and rebuild their content strategies. Web publishing content is no longer static text and images, it's blogs, videos, podcasts, tagging and lots more. Defining the right mix of multi-media assets and text-based content is a critical skill we're all still just beginning to understand.