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SAP Media streamlines Washington Post operations

The Washington Post Co. is using SAP for Media to consolidate and improve its outdated billing and finance operations.

The Washington Post Co. is using SAP for Media to consolidate its advertising applications and improve its outdated...

billing and finance operations.

SAP for Media includes applications that are part of the mySAP Business Suite. Industry-specific features are designed for advertising management, media sales and distribution, circulation, intellectual property management, and product development.

The consolidation at the Post is part of a year-long upgrade of its various legacy systems, which support billing and classified ad sales. With the new SAP software, advertisers will be allowed to order and compose classified ads online, review cost and billing information, and specify when an ad should appear in print or online, said Paul Redditt, director of media solutions at SAP Systems Integration.

We don't know exactly how many we'll be consolidating because this is going to be an ongoing project," Redditt said. "They've had a plethora of small support applications, and [we're] bringing them down to one solution."

The Post also plans to implement SAP Portals to help give advertising representatives a complete view of sales and financial data, according to Redditt. The available data will show the entire sales cycle, from the creation of an agreement with a customer to follow-up actions.

A contract with the Post was signed last month, and implementation of the advertising module is anticipated over the next six months to a year, he said. SAP is also working with the Post to develop classified advertising functionality for editing, which will allow the newspaper to deliver classified advertising services to its entire advertising base.

The Post is also currently evaluating IBM hardware and anticipates an overhaul of its current systems, Redditt said.

Replacing legacy systems and applications is a difficult process for many companies, said Mike Schiff, vice president of e-business and business intelligence at Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis.

"Chances are the people who built and maintained them aren't there anymore," he said. "A lot of times companies are afraid to touch the system, since it's still working, but converting to newer systems is normally the right thing to do."


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