There are many possible levels of automated publishing, ranging from workflow automation to fully automated document production. Greater automation brings greater value, but usually requires a greater investment. Many organisations start out with basic automation and gradually move to more sophisticated automation, but you may choose to start anywhere and progress at whatever speed you wish.
Did You Know?
Laying out pages and applying formatting is one of the most laborious and time-consuming parts of producing communications.
This is why one of the main goals of dynamic publishing is to automate as much of this process as possible.
Levels of Automated Publishing
The following paragraphs describe the levels of automation available, in order from the least benefit and investment to the greatest:
Many business activities are coordinated through e-mail, but for complex projects, e-mail involves a lot of manual effort. You have to hand off tasks, keep track of deadlines, send out reminders, and make sure everyone has properly participated and signed off.
A workflow system can not only eliminate manual effort by automating tasks such as sending out reminders, it can also automate checkpoints to make sure that every step that's required actually happens.
For example, you may want to generate a PDF automatically at the start of a review cycle. Or when all approvals are completed, you may want to initiate an automated publishing process. If you want to progressively add more automation to your workflow, then you need to make sure that your automated publishing systems are integrated with your workflow system, and that you can easily set up the triggers that initiate automated processes.
Quark Publishing Platform provides automation for as little or as much of your workflow as you wish, from partially to fully automated processes. It also provides a wizard that makes it easy to set up automatic triggering of automated processes such as image conversion and publishing. And through integration of Quark Publishing Platform with Microsoft® SharePoint®, all of the workflow automation capabilities of SharePoint — such as automated task and project-management features — are available to Quark Publishing Platform users.
Automated Reuse of Information
Traditional publishing applications let you reuse information by copying it from one place and pasting it to another. The problem with that method of reuse is that it generates redundant copies of information. If you ever need to update such information, you have to find and change every instance where it occurs.
A better way to reuse information would be to maintain one source of that information and point back to that source whenever you need to incorporate the information into a document. That would allow you to automatically update all documents whenever the source information changes.
Quark Publishing Platform supports the automation of information reuse in several ways:
- You can use the same image in multiple documents and apply different scaling, cropping, rotation, and other effects to each use of that image, all while maintaining just one instance of the image. If the image changes, Quark Publishing Platform automatically updates all documents that use that image and reapplies the effects that you assigned to each use of that image.
- You can create text components in Microsoft® Word and reuse that text in multiple documents. Each use of that text refers back to the original Microsoft Word file, so if that file changes, Quark Publishing Platform automatically updates all documents that refer to it.
- Using Quark XML Author for Microsoft Word, you can create reusable XML text components where you can maintain just one copy of each component for multiple documents. When a component changes, Quark Publishing Platform can automatically update all documents that refer to it.
- QuarkXPress® synchronises text and pictures across multiple layouts (such as print, Web and interactive) so that you can make a single change that automatically reflects across all layouts.
Automated Cross-media Publishing
Professional publishers and corporate publishers (organisations for whom publishing is not their core business) need to make their information available on multiple types of media, both print and electronic, and "cross-media publishing" is how they achieve this. The traditional way to publish across media is first to create the publication in one format — typically print — and then to convert that format for each additional media type. This is time-consuming and expensive, because it usually requires a different team of people to produce each media type.
An alternative is to automate as much of the process as possible, either by extracting the print content and automatically converting it to other formats, or by creating the content in a media-independent format (XML) and automatically publishing it in every format.
Starting with XML lets you achieve maximum efficiency and speed, but it also involves greater changes to your existing processes. For example, your authors might need to start creating their XML content using Quark XML Author for Microsoft Word, and your designers would set up automated publishing processes based on Quark Publishing Platform.
Automated Web Publishing
You can use Quark software to generate content for the Web automatically from your print layouts or from XML. For more details, see the Web Publishing page.
Automated Digital Publishing
Quark software supports publishing to digital devices — such as the iPad — in a variety of automated ways, from automated news publishing through XML to publishing rich layout designs. For more details, see Digital Publishing.
Automated Customisation and Personalisation
Whether you're creating variations of material to meet different specifications or creating personalised information unique to individuals, your customers appreciate and expect to receive information from you that meets their specific needs.
But customising information for multiple audiences and personalising it for individual recipients using traditional publishing tools involves a high degree of manual effort, which makes the cost too high to justify. In order to efficiently customise and personalise information, you must automate your publishing process, which requires structuring your information so that it can be automatically customised for multiple audiences or personalised to individual recipients.
There are two aspects to enabling structured information:
If you create your information out of components instead of monolithic documents, you can set up processes using Quark Publishing Platform that automatically assemble components in different ways for different audiences. (Quark Web-to-Print System also supports personalisation, but its capabilities are focused on simple replacement of standard blocks of information to produce simple marketing materials for volumes ranging from 1,000 to 10,000, while Quark Publishing Platform is best for producing complex variations of documents in volumes from 10 to 500.)
You may also need to generate different variations of a single component for different audiences. To accomplish this, you can use Quark XML Author for Microsoft Word and denote the specific audience(s) for each word, sentence, and paragraph that is variable.