North Plains continues to evolve with SDL deal

Simon Nias
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

North Plains has continued its evolution from print's biggest DAM provider to a specialist in the production, management and leveraging of any visual asset by signing a strategic partnership with SDL.

SDL will white label North Plains' Telescope technology as part of their global strategic partnership
SDL will white label North Plains' Telescope technology as part of their global strategic partnership

Under the terms of the global deal, SDL will resell North Plains' Telescope asset management platform alongside its web content management platform, SDL Tridion, while the two companies will also work together on joint sales and marketing initiatives.

North Plains vice president of marketing and corporate development Eric Courville likened SDL Tridion to North Plains' own On Brand software, although he stressed that the former was a much more powerful tool.

"On Brand serves a niche market around managing brands - it allows someone like Diageo to manage all the assets for all of their liquor brands - and is mostly focussed on those kinds of B2B application," said Courville.

"SDL Tridion is much more focussed on B2C applications and has a far greater capability, but SDL was missing some of our capability in terms of Telescope's ability to manage the visual assets and so they're essentially white labelling Telescope to allow them to offer a much more comprehensive suite of solutions."

Ever since last year's acquisition of first Xinet and then Vyre, North Plains has been developing its offering around the total lifecycle of marketing assets, from production (Xinet), through archiving (Telescope) and leveraging in terms of generating specific marketing collateral (On Brand).

Key to this has been the development of its ConnectR technology, which initially allowed creatives working in Xinet to push selected assets to Telescope and which now allows bi-directional flow of assets and associated metadata between Xinet, Telescope and On Brand.

The ultimate goal, which North Plains is working on with its business and technology alliance partners (including the likes of InPress Systems, Imprezzeo, Wave2, Capgemini, Chili Publish, Group FMG, iBrams and now SDL), is to create a standardised language that will allow software products from different companies to simply and efficiently share asset management information.

Courville said that North Plains would continue to pursue its strategy through partnerships within the broader asset management ecosystem and through acquisition where that would benefit the company's core technology.

He added that North Plains was looking to increase its capability in the social media space, in terms of automating the process whereby brands use social media to guage the impact of a number of assets and then select the most effective one for each channel and market.

"We're able to do that in a manual fashion now but we're looking to automate that process of understanding very rapidly which image has the better impact and then making that available to put in a catalogue or other marketing collateral," said Courville.

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