faster SaaS and on-premises customer app development versus Java
Develop a create once, publish everywhere (COPE) solution for complex content distribution use cases
Help customers measure the impacts of their content strategies
Add a SaaS offering to help attract new customers
30% faster SaaS and on-premises customer app development with Adobe ColdFusion versus Java
Enables customers to manage multi-channel communications from a single platform
Builds dashboards so customers can view real-time data about how customers interact with content
Supports future product enhancements, such as content personalisation
Job van Oossanen
Business Consultant, Prisma IT BV
Twenty years ago, businesses handled two-way customer communications either on the phone or through the mail. Marketers had one-way options including direct mail, print, radio and television ads, billboards, bus benches and point-of-purchase displays. That was about it.
Today, customers may not hesitate to use a combination of digital channels—including email, texts, online chat, in-app tools and social media—to engage businesses. Multiply that by the number of devices they use (e.g. smartphones, laptop, desktop and tablet computers) and platforms (e.g. web, mobile web, mobile apps and a dizzying array of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn). Furthermore, not only do customers want access to information in the time, place and manner that best suits them, they expect the experience to be personalised. Speaking to customers in a single voice has become a major challenge.
Dutch software developer Prisma IT BV helps businesses, government agencies and not-for-profit groups tackle the challenge with its ePublisher Suite. It’s a create once, publish everywhere (COPE) set of solutions that also lets users personalise messaging and measure its impact.
ePublisher MCP (multi-channel publisher) users can centrally manage content and deliver it online via websites, mobile apps and social media or off-line via printed newsletters and direct mail. ePublisher BI combines data from multiple sources and presents it with real-time dashboards to inform business decisions. ePublisher Digital Experience Platform (DXP) helps Prisma IT clients leverage customer information by linking it with their digital marketing tools.
“The explosion of content quantity and variety, coupled with consumer demands for service via their preferred channels, was fragmenting our clients’ ability to communicate effectively,” says Job van Oossanen, Business Consultant at Prisma IT BV. “Once we saw the need to simplify content distribution, we began to build the ePublisher Suite.”
Prisma IT quickly develops and customises its ePublisher Suite using application building blocks it created with Adobe ColdFusion. The company, founded in 1992, adopted ColdFusion as its web application development platform when it was launched in 1995. Compared with Java, Adobe ColdFusion enables Prisma IT to bring new applications to life in up to 30% less time.
“Adobe ColdFusion is the foundation of Prisma IT’s rapid development workflow,” says van Oossanen. “It’s faster than Java in set-up, application development and debugging. And it takes a lot less coding to get jobs done.”
After building core functionalities, Prisma IT developers use application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect ePublisher Suite applications to other systems. For example, ePublisher MCP can deliver video content hosted on Brightcove through one API and combine it with news content from its ePublisher editor and images from its digital asset management (DAM) system through another API. To the end user, the experience is seamless, regardless of the platform or device through which they access it.
ColdFusion also supports on-premises and software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments of the ePublisher Suite. Created from the same ColdFusion building blocks as the on-premises version, the SaaS option allows Prisma IT to target a wider range of customers, such as organisations that are migrating systems to the cloud or looking to simplify content workflows without a large, up-front investment in hardware.
“Prisma IT’s three Adobe ColdFusion developers leverage the solution’s simplicity, reliability and security with powerful results,” says Mark van Hedel, Lead Architect at Prisma IT BV. “The proven technology enables rapid development and testing with full control of secured access to customers’ back-end systems for every ePublisher deployment.”
Mark van Hedel
Lead Architect, Prisma IT BV
The Prisma IT customer making the broadest and most ambitious use of the ePublisher Suite is Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), also known as Dutch Railways. The state-owned company is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.
NS manages all internal and external cross-channel communications using a customised version of the ePublisher Suite called ePublisher. More than 700 content creators and editors use the standardised platform to produce and distribute content ranging from personalised email and text notifications for traveller to dynamic multimedia content for video displays aboard trains and inside terminals.
“NS wanted a COPE solution that wasn’t limited to standard channels like social media and email,” says van Hedel. “They also wanted to publish seamlessly to specific software, such as Microsoft Office 365 and NS mobile applications. Adobe ColdFusion gives Prisma IT the ability to connect easily with proprietary and third-party NS systems and data for both experience input and output.”
For example, Prisma IT developed an On-Board Information System (OBIS) with Adobe ColdFusion. It is a unique platform that connects over 600 NS trains to multiple content streams and to each other. Video monitors on each train display information about the train itself, such as location, speed and direction and travel conditions such as weather, track disturbances and which railway platform the train will use at its destination. Between stops, the monitors can also display news, NS promotional videos and multimedia information about activities at each destination on-demand.
NS also uses ePublisher for internal communications, such as messaging for employees through mobile apps and external communications, such as customer newsletters. The Prisma IT ePublisher also delivers content to monitors in train terminals, business applications in NS offices and tablet computers used by conductors.
Prisma IT content creation applications run on Adobe ColdFusion servers hosted at an Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centre. Each train also has a ColdFusion server. The applications access content and web services using mostly Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs. ePublisher automatically geocodes and channel codes all content so the platform can easily publish content anywhere at any time.
“We’re making a lot of connections to external systems to combine data coming from basically anywhere on the web and from the trains themselves through APIs, sometimes with an application in the middle,” says van Hedel. “Because every screen and every device is connected, they basically link to an Adobe ColdFusion URL, which sends the content
Mark van Hedel
Hedel, Lead Architect, Prisma IT BV
With solutions for executing a content strategy in place, NS asked Prisma IT to help measure content impact. Using Adobe ColdFusion, Prisma IT developers created a dashboard that lets business users view content engagement data in real-time. It collects data from backend systems such as Matomo web analytics, Yammer social communities and a Brightcove media player and enables NS stakeholders to drill down to asset-level performance.
“Adobe ColdFusion let Prisma IT build a powerful data visualisation tool quickly because of how easily it can connect to other systems through APIs,” says van Hedel. “Every output channel has its own dashboard page and users can combine multiple pages to create dashboards relevant to their job functions.”
The future of ePublisher and the ePublisher Suite is content personalisation. Prisma IT is combining its Adobe ColdFusion building blocks with marketing automation tools to help NS refine audience segments and target them more effectively with personalised content.
“One reason Prisma IT has continued to use Adobe ColdFusion is because of how easily it lets us create new functions for users,” says van Oossanen. “It’s perfect for doing things fast because we can connect it to almost any type of software. ColdFusion flexibility helps Prisma IT stay dynamic and evolve our solutions.”