When a midsized publisher acquired another company, the computer systems they acquired were too complex and too expensive to maintain. MIS helped them maintain the value of these new systems—while dramatically reducing their costs. Installation of a firewall and an audit of security practicies helped Information Today run a successful and safe business.
Information Today, Inc. is the publisher of Information Today as well as other periodicals, books, directories, and online products; and is the organizer of InfoToday and other prestigious conferences. These products, and magazines such as Computers in Libraries, KMWorld and CRM Magazine have helped them grow into the leading publisher for the library, information and knowledge management community.
Information Today made several key acquisitions, including American Book Trade Directory, Balker, and Elsevier. Along with one acqusition came editorial and book publishing software, running on older systems not under their control—overly complex, and expensive.
"These were high-end Oracle databases and Sun SPARC servers," says Bill Spence, Information Today's Chief Technology Officer. "We were looking at a huge out-of-pocket expense just to buy the hardware we needed, not to mention the software, and staff required for ongoing maintenance. Plus, because we needed to take over these publications right away, we were really up against the wall."
Information Today came to MIS for a second opinion.
The challenge: keep the functionality they needed, without making a huge, unnecessary investment in the existing systems. When they first researched a solution, they were told that it would take a $400,000 investment to purchase the Oracle database and high-end servers they would need.
"They were supporting editors working in multiple locations—North Jersey, South Jersey, and Tampa, Florida. Including at-home workers in the Tampa area," recalls Glenn Smith, President of MIS. "Plus they had a complicated assortment of desktop systems—including Citrix and a Visual Basic front end, all just to allow editors to input their content into the database."
MIS proposed migrating the Oracle data into a lower-cost SQL Server database, and the creation of a web-based front-end that would allow editors to easily input and manage editorial content any time, from any place. Individual desktops would no longer need IT support, or to be reloaded onto each editor's PC every time the program was changed.
MIS then assisted Information Today with the full data transformation, as well as purchasing servers and setting them up in their offices. The total cost of the hardware: $35,000. The software: $15,000.
The new solution: five times less expensive, with much higher productivity built in.
After the hardware and software were purchased, MIS completely rewrote the system as a web-based application. In total, MIS charged $250,000, a savings of $150,000 in the first year alone. What's more, Information Today was able to avoid the cost of hiring a high priced Oracle database administrator, and no longer need Visual Basic or Verity programmers.
"We estimate that we'll end up saving over $250,000 per year going forward," says Bill Spence. "Meaning that overall, MIS has provide a solution that's 5 to 6 times less than what we thought we were going to spend."
Going forward, MIS is helping Information Today develop a new Web product that draws data from their editorial database, as well as secure transaction processing and credit card verification to allow online conference registration.
"MIS is a highly professional and highly competent company," says Spence. "They're easy to work with, and I can call them any time and get them when I need them. What's more, they're smart, and find ways to solve problems in a very fast, efficient way. I recommend them without hesitation."