Mitt i. Newspaper publishing powerhouse.
Mitt i is not your average newspaper company.
It’s more of a publishing phenomenon, providing free local news and information to millions of readers in Stockholm, Sweden. And while most newspaper operations struggle against economic uncertainty, Mitt i routinely reports stellar profits. CEO Peter Clauson cites good organisation as the key to Mitt i’s success. The bedrock of that organisation, naturally, is Apple technology.
With an intensive production cycle of 31 newspapers, there's little room for error, especially the kind that adds to your running costs. Before Mitt i, it was accepted wisdom that free newspapers were operated at a loss. "We come from an environment where it's not acceptable to spend money", Causon says, "contrary to the older and bigger newspapers who could grow a more expensive production with income from subscriptions and government press subsidies".
So, it's a difficult industry in which to carve out a profit. But Mitt i's approach is a strong emphasis on efficiency - for example, the company doesn't have any secretaries or project managers on their staff. "At Mitt i, all managers make their own coffee", Causon jokes. "They also have a human resource responsibility for their respective departments".
And the company adopted a similar strategy with the implementation of their technology. All 1500 of their weekly pages are created with a digital production workflow based on the Mac platform. The results have been exceptional, a smooth and efficient operation facilitated by Apple software and hardware.
Roger Östberg is Mitt i's Chief Information Officer, and he radiates enthusiasm when he explains the workings of their Mac-based workflow. Every step of the way, from sales to editorial and print, through to the delivery of one million newspapers each week, the Mac underpins all of it. But most significantly, he uses a team of four people to provide over 200 employees and contractors with 24/7 support – with no overtime incurred.
"When looking at new investments, if there's a choice to make between a PC and Mac solution, we always look to the Mac solution first," says Östberg. "It's our experience that Mac OS X based solutions always tend to be a lot easier to integrate".
Several years ago Mitt i made a conscious decision to move from a mixed environment, relying equally on Mac OS X and PC computers, to one completely based on Mac OS X. Today, 95% of the hardware used by Mitt i is Mac based. "We cut out PC technology every day", Östberg states. "To begin with, only the production team were using Mac computers. Today we have 194 Mac and 6 PCs in the company. It's a great and powerful computer that adds a clean and neat look to our offices. The all-in-one solution is just perfect".
The same philosophy extends to the servers. "Out of some 20 servers, 11 of them are Xserve. And every time we add a new server, it's Mac based".
Despite all the benefits, how does Östberg's team of four manage to support a staff of over 200 people and 200 computers, spread across five offices? "Our Apple solutions just make it so simple to set up and manage servers, networks and new clients. With software like Apple Remote Desktop, we can install and upgrade computers in minutes. We service all computers and offices remotely, and we guide and train users without ever leaving our desks".
Most recently, around 150 iMac units at Mitt i were upgraded to new models. And, according to Östberg, it was all done in 15 days. "Between 10 and 15 iMacs were bought in every day, and by using Apple Remote Desktop to install the fixed software kits, all these Macs were ready to produce newspapers the same day, with very limited effort and IT support".
And if a staff member at Mitt i experiences any problems at their work station, all they have to do is find another computer, sit down, log on and start working. Everyone works from the servers, where they have access to everything they need, whether they are in the office, at one of Mitt i's remote offices, or even at home.
This trouble-free set-up has other benefits too, with Östberg's team able to focus time and resources to work on other projects. They manage the Mitt i website, train new staff, and develop new and innovative methodologies to improve future production.
CEO Peter Clauson has always been a Mac user; it was his passionate advocacy that first convinced Mitt i’s staff about the advantages of an Apple solution. According to Clauson, the Mac-based environment at Mitt i has also had a positive effect on recruitment. "Apple brings a professional factor that attracts competent new employees and partners to our company".
Apple solutions have bought positive changes to Mitt i, with brilliant IT support and a professional culture where employees are happy with both systems and software. "Our IT Unit hosts skills and knowledge at a very high level, with easily managed and user friendly solutions", beams Clauson. It's no wonder that Mitt i has since grown to become the biggest and most successful free newspaper distributor in Sweden.