How NS keeps its 21,000 employees involved and informed with ePublisher

Manager multichannel at NS Edger Louwaard was looking for one content platform for internal communication via all distribution channels. It resulted in our SaaS ePublisher solution. Louwaard: "ePublisher is a digital experience platform with which more than 600 editors inform their colleagues throughout the country via newsletters, the intranet, apps and TV screens, among other things. This way our 21,000 employees stay involved and informed about the organization. "

Edger Louwaard proud that he is the “founding father” of a SaaS solution that is used by many national and international organizations. "Around 2010, when social media emerged, we were looking for a successor to our traditional CMS," Louwaard recalls. "Traditional CMSs were very page-oriented. While I just wanted a system with which you could create texts, images and moving images from different building blocks and then distribute them in the form of blog posts, sites, tweets, articles, videos, newsletters, live streaming or broadcasts on a TV screen. "

Louwaard ended up at Prisma IT. "I did come up with the idea, but in the end the development of ePublisher was a joint effort. Prisma IT has done the technical design and has ensured that the platform has grown into the versatile SaaS solution that it is today. Prisma IT will therefore use this in the coming years as a basis for the further realization of the NS's content strategy. The contracts for this have recently been signed by both parties.

Create once, publish everywhere

ePublisher is built around the create once, publish everywhere idea. Editors create content from various linked sources - such as websites, social media, LexisNexis news reports, travel information and analytics - after which they can publish it on all desired channels. Cutting images into the right format, adjusting the video resolution, tagging all types of assets: the platform does it all automatically. An interesting new addition is the social module, with which the NS gives its employees as ambassadors of the organization a stage to share their experiences with the outside world.

Louwaard: "Our communication department of 50 FTE does all business communication for the Dutch Railways. We also facilitate the entire organization primarily to communicate itself. For this, more than 600 employees are active daily as editors on ePublisher. Together they have now published more than 300,000 messages and sent more than 10 million newsletters. "

The communication from these 600 editors rests on three pillars: B2C, B2E (business-to-employee) and B2B. On the basis of nearly 10,000 screens in trains and service stores, communication with more than 1.2 million travelers is done daily via narrowcasting. The 21,000 NS employees are reached through newsletters, the intranet and apps, among other things. And newsletters are used to communicate to retailers at stations. All with ePublisher as the central digital experience platform.

Huge impact on internal and external communication

"The impact of ePublisher on our internal and external communication is enormous," Louwaard notes with satisfaction. "The main goal was to get synergy in our communication. Thanks to the new system, commands and subcommands do not have to be copied everywhere, there is no noise between the channels and the message is uniform everywhere. "

In addition to being more efficient, NS communication has also become more effective, says the multi-channel manager: "We can reach our target groups much better. And that is going to get even faster. We are currently linking our Customer Data Platform to ePublisher to offer more and more personalized and customized content. "

The ePublisher dashboard also gives the more than 600 editors insight into the effect of their communication. For example, they see in real time how the messages are consumed, when newsletters are opened and what the top 10 articles are. Louwaard: "Then you can closen the loop. We then look with editors: what has worked and what could be better? In this way they learn to understand the context in which they operate and ultimately do their work better. "

Last but certainly not least, ePublisher has resulted in enormous cost savings for NS, says the multichannel manager: "We had many different content management systems, including for narrowcasting and newsletters. By working from one platform now we are much cheaper. "

Simple, scalable and customizable

According to Louwaard, ePublisher is very easy to use: "And it must be, because every editor - from secretary to project manager - must be able to arrange his own communication. Compared to large content platforms such as SharePoint and Salesforce, there is a big advantage there. "

He also praises the scalability and high degree of personalization. "You decide for yourself what your distribution strategy is and which channels you want to use to reach your target group. Everything changes incredibly quickly, especially with B2C activities. Then it is nice if your application moves with it. And that you don't have to wait unnecessarily long before channels or mechanisms have been added, as is the case with large, unwieldy packages, "says the spiritual father.

Work in progress: AI and machine learning

No matter how happy Louwaard is with ePublisher, he remains keen on extra functions: "I very much believe that AI and machine learning can simplify the creation process for editors. For example, I would like to see automatic image suggestions made based on written content and that metadata from uploaded images that is supplied automatically without having to enter labels yourself. Because Prisma IT keeps the entire user community involved, new projects are well aligned with the wishes of the Dutch Railways. For example, an image bank with machine learning techniques will be added in 2020. "

Exchange learnings with other organizations

Louwaard can soon be even more proud. Prisma IT is going to organize community evenings, where he can learn from other organizations how they use ePublisher. "It will certainly be interesting to hear from hospitals or optician chains, but also from the large business sectors, how they handle tooling," predicts Louwaard.