10 Reasons Why You Will Need an Integrated ERP

Publishing companies start small and before they know it, they become mid-sized. When that happens, the number of business transactions grows like topsy. Soon, they automate the critical workflows with simple tools like MS Excel and Filemaker, along with Workflow Management Systems (WfMSs) but as business builds, those simple processes are not so simple anymore. When you are small, you can get away with “small” processes, often with little data security or cross-app validation. They work because they are simple, and the problems can be fixed by walking over to a colleague’s desk and talking the problem through.  

You cannot do that anymore when you are a mid-sized publisher, and the simple problems are not so simple with increasingly complex integration, validation, and control issues.  

Application integration is a significant part of the challenge in creating a smooth multichannel customer experience, for instance, or streamlining subscription inquiry-to-cash workflows, and generally in creating a seamless experience for customers, partners, and employees alike. And as companies add more applications into their operations, they typically spend a significant percentage of their IT resources just managing those interfaces.  

Our mid-sized publisher has become heavily invested in disparate basic software tools like Excel and Filemaker in critical workflows. All of this is a familiar story with severe long-term limitations. 

At this point, many such publishers are tempted to augment these tools with workflow management software (WfMS) that helps string the various workflows together so there is less manual intervention, and hopefully a reduction in errors. WfMSs are fine when the processes in question are loosely defined and vary greatly from one enterprise to another. And initially, at least, they are less expensive than turning to an integrated ERP system. The question is, do these workflows vary significantly from one publisher to another? The answer to that question, is generally “no, they don’t.” 

So Excel and Filemaker, in particular, tend to persist at the core of a mid-sized publishing operation because that is how they started. And it gets harder and harder to make the call to invest in an integrated enterprise ERP system that is built for the publishing industry. They are stuck. We see this all the time. Sooner rather than later, they realize they have waited too long, and must implement an ERP system to regain control. 


Top 10 Reasons for a Publishing-Specific ERP System

  1. Best-practice publishing workflows are well defined and understood. Software vendors have built best practices into their workflows for the last 25 years. They keep them updated and the software can be configured in the set-up to meet variations in requirements.
  2. Manual Integration of separate workflows is expensive. Why reinvent the wheel? It is done automatically with an integrated ERP, especially one that is publishing-specific and runs in the public cloud. There are no data “silos” and elimination of data silos is fundamental to the future use of external repositories for high-level decision-making.
  3. There’s safety in numbers. knkMedia is built on the Microsoft Dynamics ERP system, of which there are over 150,000 user implementations globally. Microsoft and knk have the resources to continually develop new technology and software that the publishing industry demands. Mobile access, digital processing POD, etc. are all part of an integrated ERP system. With the MS Azure public cloud version of knkMedia, for example, software updates are delivered twice-yearly automatically.
  4. Scalability is a given, especially with cloud solutions. Support, maintenance, training, security, and workflow development are all superior options for a growing company.

  1. The future is the cloud. knkMedia runs on the Azure public cloud, a totally scalable option. It cannot be done with custom solutions of smaller unintegrated software tools.
  2. Artificial Intelligence systems such as MS Copilot are built-in. Microsoft is building AI routines in Copilot that can hyperautomate processes across all systems, bots, and tools.
  3. Application spread and sprawl. There is little control within and between processes with WfMSs, in comparison to an integrated ERP system. In-house integration of disparate “home-grown” systems may be inexpensive and easy to start with, but difficult and costly to continue, leading to unmanageable application spread and sprawl.
  4. Better integration with business partners, customers, and vendors. Using a large integrated platform such as the Microsoft stack, there is better integration to external systems and Big Data applications that are increasingly important for intuitive decision making with a view of the “big picture.”
  5. One centrally controlled database – one version of the truth for all. Better collaboration. Data integrity is superior to multiple uncoordinated systems.
  6. One Standard Presentation and User Interface. Less expensive employee training with a UI that is familiar to all.


The key piece of a long-term systems strategy is to build a system portfolio based on an integrated, publishing-specific ERP system, from the earliest possible moment. Only then, with that in place, (preferably with a public cloud implementation, so that costs and capabilities can be easily scaled), can a WfMS be added to provide good integration for additional workflows to external systems and databases. 



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