Transforming Business Intelligence into Actionable Intelligence

Publishing houses are a dying breed, and magazines are going out of business every week. Future Publishing bucks the trend, having sold over 24 million magazines in 2012 alone.

Future Publishing’s success does not lie solely in print. Recognizing that in order to continue its aggressive growth path, the digital age had to be embraced, Future Publishing did just that. And, with over 50 million unique global online users every month, over 3 million iPad digital editions sold every month, and over 120 million Future Publishing videos viewed online in 2012, Future Publishing has managed the transition to digital media with unprecedented success.

You can’t be at the forefront of your industry without being a thought-leader, or an early adopter of ground-breaking technology. Future Publishing is both.

“I’m confident that QVSource will pay for itself 10 times over. The time saving alone is significant. But the impact to revenue generation is unprecedented.”

Andrew White, Head of Business Intelligence, Future Publishing

The Challenge

Spare a thought for the Business Intelligence (BI) team at Future Publishing; a group of talented individuals who are responsible for providing analytics, actionable insight and business intelligence across the 150+ internal and external brands.

It’s the BI team’s job to provide each brand with relevant information – in as near to real-time as possible - to improve company performance. They address questions like; which print publication is selling better? What reasons can be attributed to a brand’s success? (Is it a better online presence? A more active fan base?) Which best practices and lessons learnt can be passed from one brand to the next?

The sheer volume of data to be analysed is overwhelming. As a true multi-platform media organisation and a ‘house of brands’, Future Publishing operates across a myriad of digital channels with over 100 Facebook pages, Twitter profiles and YouTube channels. Just two years previously, managing, analysing and reporting on these data sources accounted for no more than 30% of the team’s workload; but by 2013, it was fast becoming a full time job.

The BI team had been gathering data from multiple legacy systems, spending a number of days collating and formatting the information, before distributing a report to the relevant audiences. The process was time-consuming, prone to manual error and, the format wasn’t particularly engaging for the end reader nor did it allow the company to react to business trends in real-time. As Future Publishing evolved its tablet market and online presence, it became increasingly important for the BI team to improve the way it gathered and shared business intelligence.

“QVSource gives my team an enterprise-wide insight into business activity. It is a truly agile solution, and with minimal effort, it provides us with valuable information on our business performance.”

Andrew White, Head of Business Intelligence, Future Publishing

The Solution

The BI team made the decision to invest in QlikView, a business discovery platform that consolidates relevant data from multiple sources into a single application, to manage digital sales channels such as Apple Newstand. The tool revolutionised the way that the BI team could pull together analysis and reports in real-time, providing actionable intelligence on business performance. The BI team could now start to understand customer segmentation, the propensity for cross-selling, and the behaviour of multiple channels for both internal and external brands.

At the same time, the BI team complimented this investment by deploying QVSource; a suite of connectors that communicate with a wide range of online services. QVSource allows an analysis of the impact of social media and other channels on revenue stream performance, by interconnecting with online services and feeding the data into QlikView.

Utilising QVSource allowed Future Publishing to roll out a suite of enterprise ready solutions for cross channel analysis and performance monitoring within weeks of signing up for the service. There was no complex API management, which meant the team could focus on making the most out of the data and the front end design.

The combination of QlikView and QVSource allows the BI team to automate the process of accessing a near real-time consolidated view of external and internal data, to make informed business decisions. This empowers the team to track trends and respond to them quickly; for example, the team can now track which social media campaigns are driving traffic through to websites and generating revenue; and importantly which are not proving to be profitable.

The Connectors

QVSource YouTube Connector

Future Publishing has over 100 video channels on YouTube. The QVSource YouTube Connector automatically extracts a report on these channels and presents the data in QlikView. This makes it very easy for the BI team to:

  • Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the company’s video strategy
  • Gather revenue information to report on the financial performance of YouTube, by brand
  • Review editorial team performance and staffing levels, to increase support in performing brands and reduce headcount in less successful titles

The QVSource reports are run daily; previously the reports had been manually collated once per month. This is a huge improvement to the team having access to real-time actionable intelligence, which has made an impact on business performance. In addition, the time and costs associated with analyzing YouTube data has been radically reduced.

QVSource Facebook Connector

Facebook’s own analytics tools are great for individual pages, however it’s impossible to compare one Facebook page’s performance with another. Over 100 of the Future Publishing brands have a dedicated Facebook page, and it was challenging for the BI team to share best practices and skills across the different brands, and identify which brands were performing better on Facebook than others.

The BI team made use of two Facebook connectors from QVSource:

  • QVSource Facebook Insights Connector provides the BI team with metrics around the content on their 100+ Facebook pages. The BI team can extract data from all pages, to understand and analyze trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content.
  • QVSource Facebook Fan Page Connector gives the BI team insight into how people engage with the various Facebook pages, and compare this information from brand to brand.

It is now possible for the BI team to tie data sets together, so that they no longer have to look at Facebook or Twitter performance in isolation. The team can now analyse this data in conjunction with online data. For example, if an editor was spending 6-10 hours per week on Facebook, promoting their publication’s content, but this effort was not driving click-throughs nor resulting in revenue, the QVSource connector would give insight into this, enabling the BI team to reshape the editorial focus.

QVSource also gives the BI team access to sentiment analysis, to track which brands are being favourably received by the general public, and to measure the success of specific events, trending key words, and content.

QVSource Twitter Connector

As with the other social media channels, the BI team at Future Publishing is responsible for analysing and reporting on over 100 corporate Twitter feeds. The QVSource Twitter Connector helps the team:

  • Measure the value of Twitter within each brand, in terms of the time dedicated to maintaining the feed, and the revenue generated as a result
  • Compare more successful feeds with less successful feeds, passing on any best practices
  • Track and report on hashtags, search terms, profitable links and click-throughs, audience profiles and overlap, and trending content
  • Make decisions on brand safety

QVSource Google DoubleClick Connector

Google DoubleClick is an advertising revenue engine, helping Future Publishing capture the most value for every web impression. QVSource Google DoubleClick Connector automatically extracts data from DoubleClick, and presents it in QlikView. By combining this data with online analytics, the BI team gets a holistic view of online inventory performance. The company uses salesforce.com to track how much revenue will be made that month, and DoubleClick gives insight into the revenue that came from Google adverts. So, the BI team can combine these online analytics to understand how efficiently something is being sold.

QVSource iTunes Connector

iTtunes is an incredibly lucrative channel of business for Future Publishing, accounting for $1m revenue each month. The QVSource iTunes Connector extracts sales information from iTunes, allowing the BI team to analyse sales by brand, flagging brands that are overachieving or under-performing, allowing the business to make strategic changes in real-time.

QVSource – How has it positively impacted Future Publishing?

The deployment of QlikView and QVSource technology was pioneered by the BI team, but the benefits of the technology reach right across the organisations, with over 150 users throughout the company. As more and more of the Future Publishing brands learn about the power of actionable business intelligence, the number of users increases.

The Benefits of QVSource

  • The QVSource connectors provide a holistic view of your business, allowing you to make intelligent business decisions in real-time, empowering you to drive revenue generation and make cost savings
  • The connectors are quick and easy to deploy, giving immediate access to actionable business intelligence
  • The connectors are highly automated, which saves employees hours of time and effort and reduces operational expenditure
  • The sales team can review the business opportunities that are converting to new customers,
  • The underwriting team is able to track the number of borrowers that are moving through the underwriting process, and validate lending decisions and loan applications.

“QVSource provides timely, accurate, and actionable information. This allows Future Publishing to maximize revenue opportunities, and make intelligent cost saving decisions in real-time.”

Andrew White, Head of Business Intelligence, Future Publishing