Acquia Cloud and Support enables KSF Media to effectively streamline website operations
KSF Media publishes Swedish-language newspapers in Finland.
The main titles are:
- Hufvudstadsbladet (hbl.fi) – a nationwide daily established in 1864
- Västra Nyland (vastranyland.fi) - a regional daily from the south- west, established in 1881
- Borgåbladet, established in 1860 and Östra Nyland, established in 1881; both papers are from the south-east. Borgåbladet and Östra Nyland share the site ostnyland.fi
In 2008 KSF Media was established to unite the non-editorial and supportive functions of all these papers. Digital publishing is a central field of development for KSF Media with their readership rapidly transitioning from print to online.
KSF Media initiated a project to standardize its toolset for digital publishing. At the time, each paper had its own setup, with many old systems in use. In 2009 the decision was made to consolidate and use Drupal as the common framework for web publishing. The basis for this decision was that Drupal had proven to be very flexible and capable in sites developed for subscription services. KSF Media also valued the community model that delivers Drupal. It gave access to unsurpassed functionality but also to an endless amount of documentation and experience, freely available on the Internet.
KSF Media’s previous CMS infrastructure was diverse, with various commercial solutions running on the smaller sites. These were limited both by their inherent weaknesses and closed, proprietary nature, making them difficult to improve. On the other hand, hbl.fi was run on a system developed in house in 2007. While this system could be enhanced and updated the small technical team at KSF Media quickly realized they could not keep up with the technical innovations required to deliver the flexible web sites they required.
KSF Media, with a technical crew of three people, started to feel challenged by the increasing complexity of the environment and demand for their services. At the time they managed everything internally, hosting and administering Linux server environments, backups, Apache, MySQL, Solr and of course the development work which they consider the main mission of the web team.
KSF Media came to the conclusion that they either needed to significantly expand their team and divide all these specialties, or alternatively they could work with an external hosting provider who would substantially reduce their workload.
“It is not possible for us to employ experts to manage every aspect of our hardware, software and development in-house. We wanted to feel that we weren’t alone in supporting this infrastructure and to be able to concentrate our internal resources on developing valuable digital services, rather than being distracted by reversing problems.” Joachim Fagerholm, Head of Technical Web Development, KSF Media.
When KSF Media researched hosting services, they found that almost all of them offered only very limited support. Generic hosting providers did offer 24/7 support for emergencies but in practice all they could guarantee was that a technician would be available to reboot at the client’s request. In the end KSF Media decided their best option was to partner with a Drupal specific hosting provider. They ultimately chose Acquia because of the combination of a proven, Drupal-optimized hosting platform with the specialized expertise and proactive support available 24/7.
In June 2011 hbl.fi went live on Acquia’s Cloud. KSF Media leverages Acquia Support by allowing direct access to their working environment to manage the administrative functions, version control, and other operational necessities; and now their web team can focus and spend more time enhancing the user experience on the sites.
KSF Media has also been impressed with the Acquia concept of “Advisory Support hours” which offers access to Acquia’s consulting expertise to assist with questions that generally start with ”What’s the best way to...?”
KSF Media has realized significant benefit from their relationship with Acquia and now they are in the process of moving all their news sites to Acquia Cloud, including their business critical site that manages customer subscriptions.
“Acquia has helped us maintain our course towards ever more sophisticated services without having to expand our staff. Thanks to the dedicated and specialized cloud we can spend more time developing services that our readers benefit from and leave more of the infrastructure work to the experts at Acquia. This approach is crucial to our continued success.” Joachim Fagerholm, Head of Technical Web Development, KSF Media.