Stratica software meets changing conditions
Brainworks’ new platform incorporates need for flexibility, rapid response
The first two pieces of Brainworks Software's new Stratica platform drew a lot of attention during the trade show at the Key Executives Mega-Conference in Las Vegas.
"We were constantly busy," said Rick Sanders, president and CEO of Brainworks. "It was terrific."
Brainworks rolled out its new Stratica Advertising and CRM products at the conference and offered demonstrations. Stratica is web- and browser-based and combines print and digital transactions. It will improve a media company's ability to make revenue forecasts and track whether projections are being met, among many other functions.
"It was time for a major refresh," Sanders said. "So now we have an entirely new architecture, and an entirely new user interface that allows us to do some very advanced functions with the presentation of the app, still maintaining the same great functionality that we've had all these years."
Brainworks is in its 31st year of business and is based in Sayville, N.Y. Sanders said the Stratica products are designed specifically for media companies but are also capable of easily integrating with other third-party systems.
"Every media company out there has partners, and they exchange data and information. As a vendor we have to be prepared to make that happen very quickly," Sanders said.
Advantages of the Stratica products in addition to the technology itself and its ability to mesh with other systems include ease of access by sales representatives in the field, a shorter installation time and a new pricing strategy, Sanders said.
A sales rep on a call will be able to use a smart phone, tablet or laptop to look up client information, transaction information, notes, credit messages, tear sheets and prior statements. The rep also can create new orders on the spot.
Installation of the new products takes 17 weeks, which Sanders said is a considerable reduction in time. Typically conversion to a new system has taken six months to a year, and media companies were concerned about the length of time their employees were taken away from duties that generated revenue.
The changes in pricing acknowledge rapidly changing industry conditions, Sanders said.
"One key thing is this pricing model. Many vendors in the industry, and for that matter us as well, have tried to lock in customers with long-term contracts that obviously fix what they have to pay for a long time. With a good deal of change going on in the industry – groups acquiring other groups and other papers – having those fixed contracts is a burden to the media community."
The new pricing model is more flexible; changes can be made monthly if necessary.
"We look at this not only from a technology and a functionality point of view but a reduction in total cost of ownership," Sanders said. "We recognize that legacy systems have gotten expensive. Newspapers are watching every nickel. We want to provide not only a system that will help them grow revenue, but also watch the expense lines too."
Brainworks has about 100 customers including several large media groups. Existing customers get regular upgrades as part of the company's 24/7 support system, and they will be eligible for the new products. Sanders said Brainworks has always been open to developing software to fit individual needs. It then shares those developments with all its clients in updates.
"We are probably first and foremost software developers. We have done over the years a good number of things that we've led the way with. We're not afraid to do development for our customers. We always feel that it's a benefit."
The Stratica platform is in the beta testing phase of its start-up, Sanders said. That is expected to take three to six months, while Brainworks markets the first two modules. Future products include Stratica Xpance for print, digital and video advertising workflow management, and Stratica Audience for subscription management.
For more information, contact Rick Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Nicholes, a regular contributor to the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association's eBulletin, is a freelance writer and editor based in coastal Alabama. She is an award-winning veteran of more than 30 years in the newspaper business. Reach her at email@example.com.