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The Best-of-Breed Technology Series | Glide

Admin | 1 March 2021 | Read time: 8 minutes

Meet Glide Publishing Platform, a cloud-native SaaS platform created specifically for content and product teams at publishing companies. Glide is a user-friendly content management service designed to perfect the handling of complex editorial flows, supercharge subscription models, and empower businesses to secure new revenue strategies.

For our latest instalment in our Best-Of-Breed series, we spoke with Glide founder Richard Fairbairn, to discuss Glide’s positioning and his outlook on the publishing industry. 

An Interview with publisher-focused content platform Glide

Thank you, Richard, for joining us today. Could you please give us a brief overview of Glide’s journey so far?

Absolutely. In a nutshell, Glide is a publishing platform specifically created to make content businesses stronger and earn more. Our platform is wholly geared towards the publishing and media industry, which have unique demands both for their businesses and for their workforces, which make generalised CMS expensive to adapt to - if they even can. We want to make the end-users day-to-day tasks easier and empower them with an easy-to-use solution to handle complex editorial flows without ever having to modify the core.

We focus on creating a best-of-breed service for those users and businesses and making it extremely easy to build on top of so publishers do not have to become CMS companies, and can focus on the things which make them unique. Our mission is to bring forth a service designed for journalists to be excellent at what they do and for companies to succeed at a commercial level.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

The core team’s background is in newspapers and digital publishing. I was a journalist and editor, and know what issues CMS can present to content teams. The technology team has been working on publishing systems for over a decade. We are unique in having lived the problems publishers face and created something which shows those decades of hands-on experience. Compared to building your own CMS, Glide is more agile, cost-effective, and allows a purer focus on what matters most: content.

Our main point of difference from old-style CMS platforms is that our solution adapts without modifying the core platform and removes technical debt from day one. Our customers have seen development time slashed by 50-60% or more using Glide, with much lower ongoing requirement to build their own products.

You are experts in handling complex editorial flows. How do you provide your clients with scalable solutions over time?

Complex editorial flows need to address efficiency, budget requirements. And publishing and even legal implications. And as you can imagine bigger companies call for higher complexity of editorial processes.

Our clients are looking for a solution that is reliable and protects the end-users from accidental mistakes that could result in financial and legal complications, as well as making it really clear what is going to be seen on the front-end or delivered to apps and partners – without making any of that too complex or cumbersome to manage. We do that by providing a secure and reliable solution, which is AWS cloud-native and as such easily able to grow with their organisation.

What trends have you seen in the last 12 months?

Publishing as an industry has always been very resilient and quick to adapt to new trends and demands. The current and evolving global situation has only highlighted the demand for quicker results, quicker time to value and more importantly increased flexibility.

We are seeing that reflected in the industry. An increased need for flexibility has started to be matched with the demand for the right technology, and for faster-moving best-of-breed solutions.
Add to that the surge in focus on subscription products which place a clearer value on work produced, and allow closer relationships with customers, and you are seeing now a real drive across the industry to build stronger ties to audiences.

When and why should a business consider a best-of-breed approach when choosing a vendor?

Nobody in publishing has the time or budget to tolerate generic or average any more. Faster-moving cloud technologies, and those increased demands by audiences for publishers to be where they need them to be, means you don’t need to spend the time or money you used to have to building your own things from scratch - there are better ready-to-go solutions out there.

That’s the case elsewhere too, not just publishing. The cloud has mostly ended the conversation about buying your own servers and managing and supporting them. CRM tools like Salesforce have customer management tools ready to go that have accelerated the value they give to companies. Just like Zephr have crafted specific toolsets to crack the question of managing customer journeys, massively cutting back on the sort of complex dev which used to be the only way to try and handle it.

From our perspective, the business case can boil down to: do you want to spend a year or two building your own CMS on top of a generic base, and then have to maintain it for years on, or do you want a ready-to-go service that’s giving you exactly what you need and also honed to your industry and subscription strategies, that has no barrier to entry?

This best-of-breed approach is what is giving the industry this ability to be more agile and responsive then eve - in fact for any business that wants quicker ROI and has high expectations and pressures in a fast-changing environment. This approach gives you more flexibility, more confident decision-making and quicker time to value because you are working with people and services that focus on the exact things you need, and that’s all they focus on, so you can focus on your own outcomes.


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