Genesis Group Associates is an entrepreneurial business strategy information organization publishing an extensive offering of strategic reports addressing business development issues in pharmaceuticals (Rx and OTC), diagnostics, managed care, and health policy. They annually publish approximately 40 journal-style newsletters (approx. 50-75 pages each), and over 50 reports (approx. 250 to 1,000 pages). Typically, they have distributed printed copies of their reports to their subscribers.
In recent years, subscribers have come to demand more distribution of the publications in electronic form, so that users can access and view the materials online. Their clients wanted to be able to access the information that interested them quickly and efficiently, and from their desktop. In order to meet this growing need, Genesis has tried sending disks and emailing files. They created files in some of the more common database formats on the market, depending upon the platforms this limited number of customers wanted. This way they could avoid having to train their own personnel in new software products and avoid any further computer investments.
The problem was: while costs were being held down, they were not getting the widespread distribution they needed. They always had to deal with software compatibility and conversion issues with potential customers. Even when they handled these issues, they were not able to readily provide accessibility to their reports throughout the client organization.
Top executives at Genesis had been hearing about Lotus Notes and some successes that some of their industry colleagues had been having. They decided to go ahead with a pilot project using Notes to distribute the reports. They could replicate their reports via modem or the web to their client organizations that had Notes. In addition, due to the extension of Notes to the web via the Domino server, they could use the same databases and provide web access to clients that did not have Notes. This would solve both the compatibility and distribution issues.
The primary focus of the initial implementation was to make the reports available to clients Lotus Notes, since many of their clients had Lotus Notes. Genesis contracted with AcroVision Business Systems, a Qualified Lotus Business Partner, to devise and implement the solution. Databases were developed which could readily display the newsletters sorted into a variety of categories for drill-down by the user. Users would be able to quickly navigate through the data to find articles most pertinent to them. In addition, they could search the data using Notesı built-in full-text searching capabilities.
Beyond the Pilot Project - Extending to the Web
Shortly after implementing the solution in Notes, Genesis decided to make the Newsletters available on the web. Using the web capabilities of the Domino server, a powerful web server that extends Notes databases to the web, AcroVision Business Systems web enabled the newsletter databases. In addition, to create a portal for accessing the publications on the web and to promote the Genesis publications, Genesis contracted with AcroVision to build a web site. Due to the ease of developing and managing everything within Notes, the web site was developed using Domino. By extending the Notes solution to the web, Genesis was able to provide their clients with quick electronic access to their publications using any common web browser. From the web, users could view the listings of publications in relevant categorized listings, and could quickly find articles of interest using powerful full-text searching. In addition to promotional materials about all of their service offerings, Genesis also placed a catalog of publications on the site. The catalog is easy to maintain and is regularly updated by Genesis personnel.
Security of its intellectual product was also a critical concern for Genesis. They found that they could easily manage critical security issues, limiting access to paid subscribers. They found that it was easy to limit access to specific articles and publications to which the customer had subscribed.
Genesis plans to take advantage of the search, distribution, and security features of Notes to provide their large reports to subscribers on the web. In fact, the flexibility of Notes will allow it to take advantage of some key advantages of Adobe Acrobat pdf file technology to allow users to download reports for offline use.
Future projects under consideration are readily possible using the built-in features of Notes. They include: utilizing the workflow features of Notes to reengineer and more closely align the publishing processes for hard copy and electronic publishing; taking advantage of capabilities to receive news feeds directly into Notes; enhancing their subscriber offering by emailing users, based upon preference, links to newsletter articles and reports at the instant they are published. By selecting the Notes platform, they have a world of capabilities already in-house, and they know that as IBM and Lotus advance the technology, they will not be left behind.