2018 – shaping the future

2018
shaping the future

New products, closer relationships,
and meeting users’ shifting expectations…

To mark the end of an exciting year at Publish Interactive, our directors explain how the year just gone will shape 2019, and beyond.

Emma

Emma Forber
Director of Client Services

‘What marks out 2018 is deepening customer relationships’

Over the past 12 months, we’ve signed some great new customers, renewed contracts, upgraded technology for others, and launched a string of interactive research portals. By any measure, it’s been a busy year, but what has marked out 2018 was the ever-deepening relationships we have forged with our customers.

The quality of our relationships is paramount, but during 2018 we’ve sought to deepen them further by establishing customer connections at each level of the business and across multiple departments. We now have an active customer panel to feed back into the development of our solution and our teams in operations, development, commercial, marketing, and product owners have strong relationships into our client businesses that will help us respond even more directly to their needs throughout 2019 – and beyond.

Tom

Tom Gibbs
Director of Operations

‘Much work was under the hood, developing vital infrastructure on which customers rely’

Our policy of continuous development means we rarely sit still. Since January, we’ve introduced a new content product and features to do all sorts of things – including making it easier to brand content and adding several elements to enhance workflow efficiency.

Of course, this is just the work you see; much of our endeavour has been under the hood, developing the technical infrastructure that ensures our platform will continue to grow and integrate smartly with the various technologies relied upon by our partners.

To achieve this, we’ve launched a host of new APIs throughout the year to help customers use our software in the most effective and efficient way possible; but perhaps our most critical work has been our forward architecture planning. Through this process, we’ll ensure that future iterations of our software can increasingly operate through the cloud and deliver the speed and stability our partners will need.

Mitali

Mitali Mookerjee
Managing Director

‘Developing a deeper understanding of end users’ needs will be a key focus in 2019’

Research consumers (our customers’ customers) need critical business insights supplied in a way that complements, rather than disrupts, their working lives. They need digital research services to slot efficiently and seamlessly into their workflows.

At Publish Interactive, we’ve always taken a lead on developing the technology research publishers need to meet the high expectations of their end users – and 2019 will be no different.

In the next year, we’ll focus on understanding even more about the behaviour and usage of end users, developing on the customer panels established in 2018. We’ll be enhancing our multi-format content capabilities – for example, making better use of landscape views and slide formats for PPT support – that enable publishers to deliver research to their customers in the most accessible and re-usable way possible.

Daniel

Daniel Lord
Founder

‘Our job is to empower analysts to reveal insights in compelling ways’

The explosion in data is well documented and, if anything, the past year has seen an acceleration. In an age of abundant information, analysts who can pinpoint telling and true insights are more vital than ever; but it’s a reality of research that as the nature of data changes, so does the end-user requirement.

Not a generation ago, static report formats delivered static insights: this sector is growing, this one is not. Those answers are of little use now; businesses need insight that reveals something previously unknown that they can customise or run through appropriate filters to make it applicable for them.

The challenge for analysts now is twofold: find new insights and demonstrate them in the best way possible. For an experienced and insightful analyst, the first point is within their reach; but it’s the second where they’ll need help – that’s where we come in.

It’s our job to help analysts reveal new insights in compelling ways. In 2019, We’ll help analysts reinvent themselves by making the most of the opportunities data provides. And while the future of research will certainly be enriched by artificial intelligence, key differentiators will continue to come from human endeavour and the ability of authors to express themselves in formats that enrich their insights and enable the audience to make immediate use of them.

What did our customers think in 2018?

GDPR: our plans as we approach the compliance date

If you run a business that retains personal data of any sort, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is probably something about which you’re becoming increasingly familiar.

This set of regulations comes into force on May 25th, 2018 and by that time all businesses covered by the new regulations will need to be compliant – so, to keep you up to speed on how these rules will affect our business, we’re going to publish a series of GDPR updates over the next couple of months.

What is GDPR?

For the uninitiated, GDPR is European Union regulation aimed at strengthening an individual’s rights over how their data is used. The new rules will unify data protection law across the European Union and apply to organisations that process and store personal data. They will also herald a regime of tougher fines for breaches and non-compliance.

Does GDPR apply to me?

It applies to any organisation that controls of processes Personally Identifiable Information (PII), including organisations based outside the EU that handle data belonging to EU residents.

How does GDPR impact Publish Interactive?

Publish Interactive directly handles very little PII data, so the impact is likely to be minimal. However, we take our responsibilities in this area very seriously so we’re publishing this bulletin as the first step towards becoming GDPR compliant and letting our clients know what our plan looks like.

What happens next?

As we progress towards the compliance date we’ll publish regular updates about our activities. Of course, we’ll also provide customers, should they wish, with the opportunity to ask questions, seek clarifications, and input into the process.

Here’s an outline of the topics – and some timings – of what we’ll soon be publishing updates about:

  1. Use of PII by Publish Interactive: by early February, we intend to define and document what data will be collected by Publish Interactive and how, when and where, it will be used within the software
  2. Third-Party Suppliers: by end of February, we intend to document and list any third-party suppliers who reference PII and link to their conformity statements
  3. Subject Access Requests: by late March, we’ll define and document our process for dealing with SARs – including the likely timeframe and methodology of obtaining requests for information
  4. Breach Notifications: we also intend to define and document the process for dealing with any breach notifications – ensuring time limitations are achievable and adhered to
  5. Publish Interactive Changes: we’ll also outline a plan for any changes that are needed to Publish Interactive (eg: PII opt-in on registration) and detail the dates when this work will need to be completed

Aside from our updates, should you have any questions or require any kind of clarification we’d be delighted to hear from you.

How and why we’re decentralising the workplace next summer

At Publish Interactive we think of ourselves as a pioneering business. We develop industry-leading publishing software, but we’re also keen to push boundaries in terms of workplace culture. 

In short, we produce the best software we can but, as part of that process, we also want to make our employees happier and more productive people. 

So, how do we do that? 

One specific approach we’ve adopted is to move from a ‘traditional’ organisation towards something that seems less like the approach of a 19th century factory.  

Trust is central to how we organise. We don’t dictate to staff how and where they should work, or how they should organise, we simply ask that they meet their commitments and perform in a way the rest of the team might expect. 

This approach can sound slight, but in fact it’s very powerful. In fact, it’s empowering. We have liberated our teams and at the same time given them the responsibility to regulate themselves. We don’t need a hierarchical approach as our people set and manage their own projects. 

Now, this sounds very idealistic, but it works in the real world because we have self-motivated and conscientious people working on staff. Also – and this is no small thing – technology has enabled us to take this approach. 

After years of running various meeting, messenger, and VOIP applications, we have finally moved the company onto Microsoft Teams. The move has improved the way we manage our projects and made it significantly easier for us to adopt the kind of workplace culture to which we aspire. 

Work away in the summer 

As of next year, we want to experiment with a programme where employees can decamp for one or two weeks in the summer, should their circumstances allow. We want to encourage people to go anywhere (we imagine it would be a similar time zone) but still work in the usual way. The ultimate aim is to enable flexible working throughout the school holidays; so one to two weeks is just a first step. 

There are conditions: people will have to be involved in our Monday standup meeting, they will have to have a dedicated workspace with a desk, and they must continue to meet their usual deadlines and commitments. It would be work, just somewhere where people could be near to friends, family, or their leisure interests, and therefore enjoy a better balance with work (and also without the need to spend time commuting). 

We would also like to encourage groups of employees (should they wish) to go together and set up pop-up hubs for the duration. If several people were to go to the same place, that could enable pooling to pay for a nanny or other local benefits. 

The final point is that we wouldn’t want to limit these hubs to just being for Publish Interactive people. It would be our great pleasure to welcome people from other businesses into the mix. These could be friends, family members, or significant others of any kind. 

Small firm, big change 

Even though we’re a small business, we’re trying to challenge some of the drudgery that all-to-often (unnecessarily so, in our opinion) comes hand-in-glove with a job. 

Technology presents many opportunities for business, but the one that is most often overlooked or poorly implemented is the opportunity to decentralise the working world and to make everyone’s lives just that little bit more content. 

That’s all we’re trying to do here… make our people feel happier, better rested, and hopefully more productive as a result.

Content Catalyst awarded its third US patent

Content Catalyst was recently awarded its third US patent covering technology we have created as part of the ongoing development of our platform.

Naturally, we’re delighted about the award that came through in the early part of the year. It stands as recognition of all the hard work put in by our development team and demonstrates our absolute commitment to maintaining Publish Interactive as the market intelligence community’s leading solution for the distribution and management of research insights, analysis, data, and news.

The fact that we now have three patents shows we had a good initial idea and, in the intervening years since that was recognised through a first patent award, we haven’t rested on our laurels. In fact, we’ve ramped up the innovation and, as a result, gained two further awards.

As we provide our customers with systems and features that are wholly unique, we need patents to protect not only those innovations, but to safeguard our ability to continue pushing forward with newer and newer technology for the future.

A patent, for us, protects our investment in the next few years of development. It helps set the programme for the years to come and helps lay the foundations for the array of new and exciting technology we’ll be able to offer our customers.

Our first patent award covered the integration of different data types used in market intelligence; how disparate sets of information could be brought together into one document to enable a unified workflow. The second covered a technical solution for easily allotting and commercialising analysts’ time, enabling an agency where enquires to the analyst are charged for.

Our latest award really shows how the nature of the market intelligence world is moving because it relates to ‘evergreen’ content – that’s products compiled from multiple sources that automatically updates when the underlying elements on which it is based moves.

The interesting thing about our patents is how they reflect our ramping up of innovation. Patent applications are made once a development is under way, but during the application process the innovation doesn’t stop, technology is developed further. It’s made increasingly sophisticated so when it’s introduced into customer systems, it adds a wholly new level of functionality to their product.

Market intelligence firms use our product for two principal reasons: they want access to the most sophisticated and intuitive technology available, in the knowledge that this technology will remain at the cutting edge through our constant innovation; or, they understand that it is much better value to license the leading platform, rather than try to keep up with the escalating costs of meeting increasingly sophisticated user expectations if they develop their own platform.

For customers, the fact that we’re constantly making this investment in the future should be endlessly reassuring: this means we’re developing creative technical solutions to real world problems and continuously innovating our product so that it works in a simple, intuitive way.

If the next 12 years are anything like the dozen that have just passed, we’ll continue to build on our legacy of innovation and look forward to many more exciting developments in the years to come.