Transform and innovate with your customers

February 05, 2019 – 3 min. read

Escenic Days 2017, focus groups
Stibo DX has turned customer input and industry insights into a key part of the development process.

Digital transformation is on top of the business agenda in most media companies today. At Stibo DX, we have been through our own transformation process when it comes to business and product innovation.

The major change happened when Stibo DX (known as CCI at that time) acquired Escenic and began developing the publishing platform CUE together. During this process, we took a new approach to user involvement in the early stages of product development. This has given us a lot of valuable learnings, which we would like to share and thereby hopefully inspire other companies that are going through a similar transformation process.

The rise of the CUE community

CUE was born from an ambition to give users of two different systems – the Escenic CMS and the CCI NewsGate publishing platform – a common and better user experience. In order to make the system future-proof, we also aimed at making CUE browser-based and mobile-friendly.

The rest of the shaping of CUE, we chose to put into the hands of its potential users. As such, we gathered a group of representatives from 18 media companies, including Axel Springer, McClatchy, JP/Politikens Hus, and Amedia. What began as a one-day kick-off meeting quickly evolved into an actual CUE work group with customer representation. Then came focus group meetings, development partnerships, and lots of prototyping and beta testing.

Escenic Days 2017, focus groups, neil mara

Every newsroom has different needs

One of the most interesting discoveries we made was how different newsrooms and media companies operate. Each company has its own preferences in terms of workflow, systems, and technical content creation tools. This led us to the conclusion that there was a need for a common user experience which spanned beyond the CCI and Escenic systems. There is no ‘one system fits all’ in the editorial publishing system business.

Instead, there should be one platform built on APIs so you can integrate your favorite 3rd party tools and customize the platform according to your workflows. So that became the focus of our development efforts. Hence, the insights gained from the CUE work group shaped CUE into being an extensible, flexible publishing platform.

Development is a partnership

Since the early development of CUE, Stibo DX has continued and intensified user involvement. We conduct regular focus group meetings and have continuous development and testing partnerships regarding specific features in our system. At our yearly user conference, CUE Days, we always set up demo stations where customers and other guests can test the latest and unreleased features. This allows us to include their input and ideas before releasing the final version.

We don’t view customer feedback as something we get once in a while, but rather as a constant and indispensable part of our product development. Much like it is illustrated in the agile development process model, our customers are an integral part of our continuous cycle of improvement.

Escenic Days 2017, focus groups, Renata

Key takeaways

At Stibo DX, we have learned that every successful business transformation or product innovation process includes these three key points:

  • Involve users from an early stage in the development process
  • Test, test, and test again
  • Let users’ feedback be a natural and constant part of your agile development process