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by martin owen  |  February 16, 2023

Simplifying the Complex

Martin Owen

Last week I had the opportunity to talk to students at the India School of Business (ISB) in Mohali, India. The school is in the Financial Times top 10 and the class is currently studying ‘Managing Complexity’ as a core subject in their curriculum. I discussed the role of content in the digital economy, and it sparked a number of questions from students that resulted in an engaging Q&A session.

This led to a deeper discussion about how Quark is different from other organizations that develop content automation software, and what makes us stand out, particularly because Quark has been in the content technology market for over 40 years.

I know what gives Quark a competitive edge, but interestingly, I had an ‘aha’ moment.

Quark pioneered the desktop publishing tools market in the 1980s and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021. For the past 40 years to present day, QuarkXPress software has solved all design and layout issues thrown at it by customers. It continues to serve the desktop publishing community and has evolved with the times, supporting different output channels such as PDF, HTML and ePubs. In fact, Adobe and others have followed the Quark strategy and direction since inception, which is telling.


In the new world of enterprise content lifecycle management, global organizations are now beginning to understand the role content plays in supporting their growth. They seek software tools to support each stage of the content journey, from creation to publishing and everything in between. We saw this enterprise customer opportunity early on and delivered to market the first content automation platform called Quark Publishing Platform in 2015. Knowing the importance of enterprises understanding how their content is being consumed, we acquired a document management and distribution system called Docurated that gives organizations these necessary insights.

We took our 40+ years of content complexity understanding and infused it into Quark Publishing Platform, which incorporates the heart of the intellectual property that drives QuarkXPress so enterprises can benefit from a cloud-based content server capable of addressing all of the complex design and layout capabilities easily.

I found myself wondering how other vendors stack up – especially if they don’t have this level of experience and technology?


Simply put, they don’t. Most have point solutions that address very simple document types that output to content management systems. Their software cannot manage large complex documents where input from different sources across the business can lead to layout overspills, content misalignment, disorganized, outdated and non-compliant content assets, and poor collaboration and review cycles.

Other vendors are successful in addressing very simple use cases but quickly run out of steam when it comes to complex documents and variability in data sources.

We built our platform to address all those complexities. It helps companies understand the impact and learn what needs to be done to tailor content to different output channels for optimal audience consumption. Our software can be used for simpler use cases and can be scaled when content becomes complex. Tools that provide a slick, simple way to generate simple content simply cannot scale to the complex needs of many of today’s organizations. The digital world is becoming more complex.

Our customers

If you look at our customer base, it tends to be large corporations that know they face content complexities. They also know they are taking a big risk if they don’t address these challenges, particularly ensuring their content meets compliance requirements. Also, it’s not just compliance and product teams that have complexity – marketing teams do too, as these teams are ultimately responsible for content that goes out the door. And we know QuarkXPress works for designers and marketing teams. We also know that content automation for complex environments takes the pain away for all those stakeholders.

So, my ‘aha’ moment came with saying out loud to these students that our tool can be used to solve complex issues by nature and uniquely. And because of Quark’s history and pedigree in content technology, we can confidently stand behind our ability to scale.

India School of Business


The fact that the India School of Business has a curriculum on complexity is telling. They have guest speakers that talk about content (including a recent visit from a Chief Content Officer) and my visit last week. This commitment to guest speakers, coupled with the different types of questions posed by these students, really drove home that complexity is a big issue that can’t be ignored

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