Atex Polopoly: WCM for More than Just the Media Industry

Atex knows what media companies need for publishing online today. And while its Web content management (WCM) solution puts editorial teams at home in the digital media environment, Atex wants to be your WCM system even if your company isn’t part of the media industry.

You can see how it addresses your requirements using the comprehensive data on Atex Polopoly that we recently included in our evaluation center. Click here to evaluate Atex Polopoly now.

Atex finds itself in an interesting position. News, magazine, and broadcast media organizations know Atex, but many companies outside its traditional market may not be aware of the applicability of Atex’s products.

Even traditional Atex customers don’t always have the company’s WCM solution at the forefront of their associations with Atex. Peter Marsh, Executive Vice President of Atex, mentioned to me that at the company’s conferences people occasionally tell him they remember a parent using Atex many years ago.

This is a company that was founded in 1973 by brothers Charles and Richard Ying with Douglas Drane. It’s been entrenched in the media industry throughout many changes in publishing technologies and business models, and it has reinvented itself several times. Although Atex today is not the company it started as, it’s used its experience to position itself for the technology requirements of modern media.

All kinds of companies that would not have considered themselves publishers or part of the media industry in the past now regularly face their own Web publishing problems, which requires the appropriate systems to manage. Even if your company isn’t in the business of delivering breaking news, it likely must deal with text and various digital content assets. These assets are a necessary part of eliciting interaction with a client base through Web-centric technologies.

There are certain intrinsic challenges associated with managing, presenting, and updating these assets, and the members of the media industry have already faced and dealt with them. As a non-media company, why re-invent the wheel? Perhaps that perspective explains what Atex wants to bring to the table with its solution.
Early in its business, Atex promoted its workflow for journalists, editors, and designers. It made many of the day’s existing collaborative editorial processes electronic. The company succeeded later with systems that addressed layout through electronic means. A leader in advertising management for print, radio, and other media industries, it integrated customer information management, scheduling, and other functional characteristics. All of these things now have familiar counterparts in the digital realm.

Today's companies look at digital advertising in coordination with sophisticated Web site visitor profiling, affiliated marketing management systems, and extensive analytic capabilities. Web site layout should be easily changeable by business users who have appropriate permissions. And of course workflows that enable Web content publication are critical for the people working behind any Web site. As mentioned, Atex addressed these issues with its products and seems to recognize that the Web medium needs even more.

Through its own evolution and acquisitions, Atex offers a fully functioning WCM (the core of its solution is Polopoly), an ad system (both targeting and serving), a tablet and mobile device publishing solution, and other modules, all of which support a wide swatch of criteria for the business of managing a converged newsroom—reusing content across many media formats. Such requirements are equally in demand by many non-media companies that must manage a large quantity of Web content along with the attendant user interactions.

Atex Polopoly is designed with a good understanding of many modern Web practices. For example, the system’s pervasive support for tagging and metadata is very conducive in creating new Web content. While tagging content assets and ensuring they have the appropriate metadata is hardly unique to this WCM system, the way Polopoly makes use of it is rather advanced compared to some other products.

For example, suppose you find that your site is receiving a lot of searches for a particular topic that has been in the news recently. An editor (or business user) can easily create a new page based on that topic using the tags, and have the system automatically aggregate existing content to publish for that topic. In other words, the system has a strong capacity to flexibly adjust toward your objectives. There is an obvious cross-over from the media industry toward other types of Web businesses—i.e., a news item could just as easily be Web page that focuses on selling a product. People that ensure their sites are well structured for search engines will also recognize the utility of this system.

The system’s dashboard should prove comfortable for people normally involved in media activities: common editorial workflow processes tend to flow as you’d expect, and provide helpful features. For example, Polopoly makes impressive use of its text mining technology from Temis. An editor preparing new content in the system has to ensure that the appropriate tags, categories, abstracts, and other related metadata about the content are included. The Polopoly text mining capability intelligently attempts to assign these items. This might sound like a small thing, but the ease with which it helps structure content is important. It not only saves time doing repetitive classification work, but its suggestions may help reduce error and improve the findability and usability of Web pages. You can count on a WCM system to offer support for metadata, categorizing, etc., but not every system can make intelligent suggestions for its users or properly coordinate new terms with existing terms.

To return to Atex’s customer base: it’s true the system is a particularly adroit player in the media industry, and it’s readily apparent how the system serves its core market. Still, Atex has a bit of a challenge showing that its approach to content management, its general workflow for business users, and its key features are equally valuable to non-media firms.

Obviously, managing Web content is not just a media industry need. Atex has been moving beyond its traditional customer base, appealing to companies with an online presence, which requires high scalability. It now has a small but growing client base in higher education and corporate markets. It points to its client Unibet, a large online gambling site, as a prime example of how companies outside the traditional media space have used Polopoly.

Regardless of your industry, you can see how the functionality available in Polopoly matches up with your business requirements by reviewing the data in our evaluation center. Click here to evaluate Atex Polopoly now.
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