by martin owen  |  October 28, 2021

40 Years of Quark: Where We’re Going Next

40 Years of Quark: Where We’re Going Next

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary in business, I want to thank you for sharing this achievement with us. With a new leadership team, a streamlined product line, and enhanced alignment between our product and support teams, Quark is experiencing a milestone year in our history. I am grateful for our global employees and customers who have helped us navigate this critical period of transformation.

Earlier this month, parts one and two of this blog series examined the history and evolution of Quark, the graphic design and desktop/digital publishing industry that we helped shape, and our expansion into enterprise content lifecycle management. While it’s important to recognize where we came from, today I want to shift the focus toward our future.

One of the first words that comes to mind when I think about the future of Quark is ecosystem. But I don’t just mean our own ecosystem of solutions for content design, content automation and content intelligence. Of course, we love helping our customers design brilliant content, automate the workflows around it, and provide deep insights that will make your content strategies hum.

But we also recognize that modern enterprises rely on a complex ecosystem of platforms, tools, systems and processes. To create, manage, collaborate, publish, deliver and analyze a content asset (and then repeat it all over, as the “cycle” in content lifecycle management suggests), you need solutions that seamlessly integrate with your existing set-up. It’s why our current solutions can aggregate assets and data from practically any source. It’s also why we’re actively focused on ensuring future updates integrate with the technologies, APIs and data sources of tomorrow.

After all, the world of enterprise content is changing fast. Modern audiences expect a steady stream of brilliant, on-demand content in the channels of their choosing.

Yet many enterprises still struggle to keep up due to disorganized assets, time-and-labor-intensive workflows, and a lack of clear data-driven insights to support meaningful content initiatives. This trend was further accelerated by a global pandemic that’s driven a massive increase in remote work and communications. The statistics behind this change are undeniable: A study last year found that, on average, consumers had doubled their content consumption during 2020 – up to a total of six hours and 59 minutes.

First, let’s take a closer look at the trends, technologies and friction points that will dominate the conversation around enterprise content this decade. Then I’ll show you how Quark is rising to the challenge.

The Future of Content

It’s no secret that content is big business. Statista values the market for traditional enterprise content management (ECM) solutions at more than $17 billion. And according to one study from the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of organizations view content as a core business strategy, up from 72% in 2020.

However, awareness today does not equal preparedness for tomorrow. To get a better sense of what’s around the corner, it’s worth reviewing a December 2020 report from Forrester called “The Future of Documents,” which details some key trends they believe will dictate the evolution of enterprise content through the year 2027. Some notable takeaways include:

  • Documents are poised for their own form of digital disruption, and enterprises must move past the current paper-based mental model.
  • Most ECM solutions are not currently architected to support this disruption. A primary factor is that antiquated file-and-folder storage systems are bogged down by the friction between emerging cloud-native documents and traditional static documents.
  • Agile content tools that automate workflows and utilize structured metadata to organize assets and support Google-like search capabilities will become (even more) essential.

As this disruption unfolds, Forrester predicts that other changes will naturally follow – many of which are already underway. AI/ML will continue to play a prominent role as robots share writing credits with humans more frequently. Traditional content formats also need to be componentized and given context by structured data, so they can be understood by machines that will assist with metadata tagging, search functionality and content creation and curation.

Unfortunately, many enterprises still underestimate the precise planning and structuring that is needed to fully unlock AI/ML capabilities in their content operations. I view that as a critical oversight. That’s because the changes enabled by AI/ML and more sophisticated metadata tactics will also accelerate the expansion of automated workflows that increase efficiencies and reduce the manual workload. And it’s not just a question of productivity – as content is componentized for increased omnichannel consumption, the complete lifecycle governance of documents in highly regulated industries will become increasingly tricky.

If that sounds like a lot to undertake, well, that’s because it is. But my intention here is to educate – not present you with a laundry list of challenges to keep you up at night. So what can your enterprise do to future-proof content operations – without breaking the bank or your back?

The Future of Quark

Now that you know what challenges are around the corner, let’s look at some of the ongoing initiatives at Quark. We’re constantly working to ensure that we deliver the most innovative enterprise content lifecycle management solutions on the market. That process relies heavily on user feedback (our product team is listening), clear roadmaps that embed innovation for each product family – QuarkXPress, Quark Publishing Platform and Quark Docurated – and an overarching strategy that aligns them into one cohesive solution to meet the needs of individual users when required. Here’s what this means for:

Content Design: QuarkXPress helped establish the desktop publishing market and continues to be a powerful content design tool. After all, every asset’s lifecycle begins with brilliant content creation. QuarkXPress supports this process with dynamic page layout and digital publishing capabilities backed by integrated tools for refining graphics and editing photos.

Users can expect future updates that expand integrations with our content automation and intelligence tools, improving workflows and placing critical insights into your hands at step one. We’re also focused on ensuring that updates continue to work seamlessly with all of your critical systems and applications – while also increasing access to your favorite stock images, fonts and other creative tools. Other updates include new options for licensing and subscription, further integration of our AI/ML capabilities, and much more.

Content automation: Quark Publishing Platform automates every stage of creating and publishing various types of content. It also directly addresses the need that Forrester identified for componentized, metadata-rich content that can quickly and collaboratively (including AI/ML recommendations for components) be assembled for use across multiple channels.

As we move forward, users can expect an expansion of these AI/ML capabilities to aid content creation with smarter recommendations, while also making the editorial and approval process smoother with dynamic-source validation and change-history assessments.

On top of this, we’re further improving the ability to modularize content and provide feedback about the components accessed and reused the most, so authors understand what has the most business value — how they are adding value. This sort of data, plus being able to use their favorite tools – like Microsoft Word – will make the lives of subject-matter experts a lot easier.

And we’re working to provide a variety of flexible deployment options and expanding self-service capabilities, including template creation, to enable your teams to be self-sufficient in the ever-changing world of content.

Content Intelligence: Quark Docurated takes the guesswork out of content, making it easy to aggregate, store, locate, deliver and track assets. Then it helps you understand what’s working, so you can continue to optimize content strategies. Rich metadata support means that we’re also answering Forrester’s call for a modern content repository that utilizes Google-like search features, so your employees can stop crawling through endless folders and files. Furthermore, Quark Docurated supports our overarching focus on fully integrated enterprise ecosystems by aggregating content from Box, Google Drive, Salesforce, SharePoint, financial feeds, internal repositories, and many other complex data sources

In future updates, we’ll continue to extend Docurated’s full-lifecycle integration with our other tools. AI/ML capabilities will also be further enhanced to provide even more support in the automatic categorization, tagging and search for componentized content. Users also can expect a variety of new out-of-the-box features, including improved reports for identifying top performers among both personnel and assets as well as improved ecommerce and monetization capabilities.

As we wrap up this blog series, I want to reiterate my appreciation for all of our global employees and customers who have made these last 40 years possible. The future certainly poses a lot of challenges, both known and unknown, and the only way we can move forward is together. So keep the feedback coming, keep pushing us, and together we will drive the innovation necessary to thrive in a marketplace that’s gone mad for content. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds for all of us.

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