Enfocus' powerful Switch technology is automating time-consuming tasks such as preflight, FTP transfers, and PDF page and image repurposing across a number of disparate production systems at The Economist. The 168-year old weekly reaching 1.5 million people around the world is based in London and printed in five countries. The Economist reports on world current affairs, business, finance, science and technology, culture, society, media and the arts.
To fulfill the needs of such broad outreach and circulation, The Economist implemented Enfocus Switch to automate repetitive tasks and reduce errors, resulting in improved efficiency. Switch connects the variety of applications within the many different system configurations in use at the organization.
Robert Banbury, Production Project Development Specialist at The Economist, says, "After considering all available automation systems at the time, our decision to choose Enfocus Switch was influenced in part by its ability to integrate with third-party applications, giving us the choice of some of the best available technology then and into the future; and also the easy-to-follow graphical user interface. Value was one of the more important factors in our final choice, but quality is always our priority."
Switch is used primarily to move and duplicate files, often using metadata to create new folder structures and route files. Utilizing over 50 active flows, the range of applications Switch automates includes repurposing of PDF pages and images, preflighting editorial and advertising PDFs, and FTP file transfers.
Success Means Expansion
Initially, Switch ran on one live server and provided an advertising-based preflight and proofing replacement for the publication's previous system. Now, four servers run a range of Switch flows supporting everything from advertising and editorial production, through to data transmission and archiving.
Banbury reports much success with Enfocus' automation technology. He says, "Switch has become increasingly important for the newspaper's production as the need to move, check and repurpose data and assets for other media outlets has come to the fore.
"Automation has removed many manually repetitive tasks from users, freeing them to concentrate on other important matters, and enabling them to meet critical deadlines." Banbury adds that lead times have been improved together with a reduction in errors, and that the publication team has been able to develop sophisticated workflow solutions in-house, avoiding the need to turn to third-party developers.
Added value with Enfocus Crossroads
Critical to long-term user success with Switch, Banbury says, is the Enfocus Crossroads community. Growing and evolving with some of the industry's foremost vendors, integrators and users of Enfocus Switch automation technology; the site exists as an open forum where ideas and flows are shared to further maximize the solution's capabilities.
Banbury comments that the Enfocus Crossroads site is garnering much needed, and deserved, attention. "Promoting the open exchange of ideas and solutions among the Enfocus Crossroads community should ensure that Switch and other high-value automation partners are brought to the attention of the wider publishing and media world," he says.
"Switch will remain a core application for the foreseeable future at The Economist. Its ability to link other applications in easily-managed workflows, whilst utilizing XML and metadata, makes it a key system tool."