About Open Horizons
Open Horizons is a global community of technology experts, administrators, power users and users that creates content and events in support of organisations that use our technologies. As an independent company, Open Horizons is able to provide unbiased and objective information on designing and managing advanced, multi-vendor communication solutions.
Identifying a gap in the market, Open Horizons planned to launch a quarterly magazine aimed at its global community of technology consultants and IT managers. The plan was to launch a print-only version initially, and later to extend publication to the Web.
There were two key challenges to address. First, the magazine was to be published in English, yet 75 percent of the likely contributors would be native speakers of another language. This meant that Open Horizons needed to find an efficient way to check and edit articles using a UK-based team. Second, there was a large pool of potential contributors based all over the world, and the plan was to include articles from as many different people as possible each quarter. With limited in-house resources to handle the production process, Open Horizons needed to minimise the administrative burden associated with managing such a large number of contributors.
To maximise speed and efficiency in the production of its quarterly magazine, Open Horizons decided to create a virtual teamroom, choosing Vibe® as the technology platform. The production team set up basic workflows to pass contributions directly to technical editors. Following this initial editing stage, the articles are either approved and automatically passed on to the UK-based copy-editing team, or passed back to the writer for correction. Once each article has run through the process from technical review to copy-editing, pictures are added and the document goes back to the original author for sign-off. The editorial team then prepares the final files for layout and publication.
"Vibe was the ideal solution for producing the magazine with a minimum of administrative effort," said Paul Van der Cruyssen, Production Manager, Open Horizons. "Their solution provides a focal point for submitting articles, with automated workflows to smooth the production process and keep articles moving in the right direction."
Vibe automatically keeps track of all changes made to each article, enabling the editorial team and the writer to review each other's edits. It also allows the combined team to discuss proposed changes and resolve any disputes with minimal effort. As deadlines approach, the solution automatically sends out reminders to reviewers and writers, helping to ensure that the magazine can hit the presses on time.
"With Vibe, we have a single, definitive version of every article, including a full history of all the changes made and all the related discussions," said Van der Cruyssen. "Our global network of contributors can work easily with the editorial team no matter what time-zone they are in, and there are no problems with conflicting versions of documents."
The solution requires no investment in client software: global contributors can use a standard Web browser to access Vibe, which includes simple instructions on how to submit articles and run them through the approvals process.
Using Vibe, Open Horizons successfully launched its global magazine just three months after deciding to do so. Today, the magazine has a print-run of 2,500 copies, rising to 6,000 for the Spring issue, which coincides with the conference season for technology companies, including events such as BrainShare®. Magazine content is also available online to registered subscribers; Open Horizons posts the full PDF pages on its Web site.
"Vibe gave us the tools to manage a global magazine with an editorial team of just eight people," Van der Cruyssen. "Thanks to the automated workflows, it's really a hands-off production: we put together a list of planned topics for each issue, and we also have a teamroom where potential contributors can submit ideas for articles. We can review and approve the ideas, and the contributor can get feedback almost instantly."
The content of the magazine is slanted towards technical advice, but there are also articles on sample projects and case studies on customer implementations of GroupWise® and other technologies such as BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Readers can provide feedback—also via the Vibe server—and the editorial team can change workflow easily using any Web browser.
"Without Vibe, there would not be a magazine," said Van der Cruyssen. "It would simply be too complicated and require too much effort to manage all of the different contributors from all of the different countries. Vibe makes the whole process easy and hassle-free—and this helps us to ensure that the magazine is commercially viable."