Client name . Centaur Media PLC
Sector . Media and publishing
Summary comment . Steve Marks, Apple Support Manager, Centaur Media PLC
"We couldn't do the things that we do without FileMaker. It's flexible, scalable and gives the power and depth that we need to deliver a range of services for our teams across the organisation."
Centaur Media PLC
FileMaker creating headlines at Centaur Media
Centaur Media PLC is one of the UK's leading business-to-business publishing companies, serving a dozen vertical markets with a portfolio of magazines. Based in London, the publishing house – established in the 1970s – owns a number of major magazine brands including Marketing Week, Money Marketing, The Lawyer, Creative Review, The Engineer, Homebuilding & Renovating and Perfect Information.
Centaur Media PLC is a long-time FileMaker customer. Originally introduced to the company in 1996, FileMaker has flourished within Centaur and is now used across the organisation.
Steve Marks is the publisher's Apple Support Manager and manages the FileMaker deployment across the organisation: "Before FileMaker was introduced, we were using card indexes to manage information across the company." With Centaur expanding however, this solution was fast proving inadequate. "We needed a modernised solution and one that could be customised to our specific needs," explains Steve.
It was at this point that Centaur turned to FileMaker, specifically Version 2 of the software. It was an immediate success, providing Centaur with the ability to bring all of its data together in an ordered and intelligent way, with separate databases created for each of the publisher's magazines. Since then, the publishing house has moved through upgraded versions of FileMaker Pro.
The long journey that Steve, Centaur and FileMaker have been on since 1996 has left the publishing house with a cross-functional solution that provides support right across the business and one that is still developing and expanding today.
A business-wide solution
The latest iteration of the FileMaker system sits across a number of key areas at Centaur. Members of the sales, exhibitions, conferences, marketing, legal, accounting and credit control teams all use FileMaker as the foundation software for their roles.
Unsurprisingly, the system has developed and been refined over time. "When we first put it in place, FileMaker was used mainly as a customer contact and booking management database," says Steve. "That contact database grew to become the sales system, allowing us to track our customers and bookings against publications. From there, expansion out towards the other functions was a natural process, and it's been tailored to their needs. We now have almost 300 people using FileMaker here."
He cites the way in which Centaur's exhibitions team uses the database as the perfect example of this in practice. "Our exhibitions team is made up of people who take the bookings and those that then organise and deliver them. So the system we've developed for them is one that means that they get not just sales, booking and customer data, but also everything they need in order to make that event a reality. And both sides of the team get that data in a format that makes the job easier for them."
A similar setup is in place for the conferences team. While all bookings taken for conferences are pre-paid, integration with Centaur's central accounting system means that all payment records are uploaded each night into the accounting system to ensure that the accounts team is updated with the latest information. Steve cites this as an example of FileMaker's depth of customisation and a major benefit of the system.
That flexibility now extends even to Centaur's facilities management, financial and IT support teams. The latter work using a FileMaker integrated web browser, allowing them to view an issue when it has been raised, deal with it, and then update notes on the system to confirm that it has been resolved.
"One of the great things that we've found about FileMaker is that the intellectual and theoretical possibilities of what you can do with it are limitless," explains Steve. "Essentially, if you can think of it, you can build it." The latest project is an upgrade to the existing advertising sales system which will process cross-product sales and a direct data upload to the central accounting system.
- One product, unlimited uses – FileMaker's customisation and versatility means that Centaur has been able to satisfy a wide range of business needs with just one package
- Company wide integration – FileMaker keeps information moving in the right direction across Centaur, cutting down on duplication and tackling data inaccuracies
- Simple and refined – as deep as needed, FileMaker is also simple to change and build at a core level, meaning that Centaur is never more than a few steps away from an updated solution
- Comprehensive and robust – a powerful, tailor-made solution that gives Centaur the confidence it needs to run FileMaker across the organisation
Better information management – FileMaker's up-to-the-second data collection capabilities ensure that no one is left in the dark when it comes to customer and booking information