Singapore Press Holdings’ CMS journey benefits readers

By Fred Lai

Singapore Press Holdings



The wave of digitising businesses brought about by the pandemic continues in 2021 as the world finds a way forward post-COVID-19. Yet, traditional media has long felt an increasingly strong impetus to adapt to the digital age.

At Singapore Press Holdings, this drive to change is an ongoing and iterative one.

For years now, we have been promulgating a digital-first mindset across the organisation, putting our audience and customers at the heart of the things we do. This means serving our audience reliable information that is important and relatable, and ensuring that all our touchpoints we have with customers are intuitive.

The right content management system aids staff but also benefits the reader experience.
The right content management system aids staff but also benefits the reader experience.

To aid us in building this mindset into the core of our company, we have relied on best-in-class tools that serve the various functions, such as customer service, analytics, research, and social media, just to name a few.

As we build a common understanding of how to better serve our customers and make continual improvements, we turned the focus internally back on our newsroom processes. What does it mean for our newsrooms to serve our audiences efficiently? We decided that we have to tweak our work processes. For that to happen, we have to move on from our trusty content management system (CMS). Here are some of the broader steps to the approach we took.

Identifying pain points and researching

We began the process by surveying our peers in the newsrooms on the issues that have been bugging them — the processes they have found labourious executing on a day-to-day basis. This might include how content is being uploaded, and how it travels across the production flow for the various platforms across digital and print.

The project team also reached out to various media counterparts across the world to have a better view of the lessons they’ve learned on their own CMS journeys. We then put together what we envisioned were the ideal workflows that suit the needs of the newsrooms and began our search.

Searching for the solution

Following the tender process, we scrutinised the capabilities of the CMS solutions the vendors provided and evaluated the systems, both from a technological and editorial lens. Through workshopping and deep-dive sessions, we were able to list and weigh the pros and cons of the solutions, formulating our preferences in the process.

By now, it was clear to us what the solution should be: faster and smoother access to digital publishing, the ability to move content and assets across platforms, and the adaptability to mitigate future technological changes.

Impact and mindset changes

What are our current processes like? What works and what doesn’t? Why was it designed the way it was? What are the downstream impacts of the workflows? These are just some of the timely questions we had to ask ourselves as we took stock of our businesses to ensure we catered for all possibilities.

It is tough to go deep and uncover the “why” and keep asking ourselves if there is anything we can do better. It is also challenging to change the way we have been working. However, if change brings about higher efficiencies and better focus on the core of our business, then it is necessary. Simply put, if there’s a better way to do it, we want to be doing it that way,

The way we see it, it is a constant conversation and process worth all the hassle we’ve taken on so that we stay nimble in our changing environment and continue delivering quality content to our audience and customers.

About Fred Lai

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