Business publishers called ‘fairly immature’ on technology issues

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Chicago—Business publishers are “fairly immature” when it comes to adapting new technologies and continue to play catch-up, according to Patrik Dyberg, VP-technology for McGraw-Hill Cos.’ Business Information Group, who spoke Wednesday at American Business Media’s Top Management Meeting.

“The name of this panel should not be ‘IT: Making Technology Work for You’ but ‘Making Technology Work for Your Customers,’ said Dyberg, who joined McGraw-Hill last year.

He said the crucial difference between producing magazines and e-newsletters is that customers “never see” the technology in print products. Not so with online. “With the online world, you’re putting technology into the hands of your customers. That’s why [b-to-b media companies] have to increase the drivers of technology.”

Dyberg added that too many business publishers are “reactive” in dealing with technology.

“The relationship between technology and business has to change, and the lines need to blur,” he said. “You need a technology team that behaves as owners of the business, and [as] owners who know about technology, know about the user experience and understand what it’s like to put out technology to customers and react to feedback.”

Rose Southard, IT director at Putman Media, said that for those companies that haven’t already done so, it is incumbent upon them to ramp up spending on IT. “The role of IT is changing. We’re not all sitting in the backroom cranking out code,” she said. “We’ve earned our way to the executive table and are helping make decisions.”

—Matthew Schwartz

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