7Seas marketing process GmbH has been operating in the German market since 2003 and now employs 80 staff working at locations in Munich and Hamburg. 7Seas uses censhare to create the international sales literature of the BMW Group quickly, efficiently and economically for all media in over 50 language versions.
The agency's portfolio rests on three pillars. Firstly, corporate consultancy focuses on the analysis and implementation of processes and systems for marketing communication. Secondly, 7Seas offers content management so as to be able to organize and supply text and visual material in a streamlined, efficient manner and thirdly, the agency handles the internationalization, localization and production of communication media.
One of the agency's well-known customers is the BMW Group with its brands BMW and MINI, for which 7Seas designs and produces over 600 catalogues per year with an average of 72 pages each, as well as distributing these through various media channels. Over 100,000 pages are developed per year, including all language versions.
To this end, 7Seas collaborates with over 50 translation partners and over 30 print partners worldwide. In addition, the product and marketing managers of the German parent company have to be involved in the processes of course, as do 50 other individual contacts in the subsidiaries operating in the international markets.
In addition to BMW and MINI, 7Seas also serves customers such as IWC, RWE, Austrian Airlines, Burda Yukom and Vitra.
Managing Director Christoph Weiss explains that BMW used to work with lots of different partners and systems, lacking a uniform workflow: "Process reliability and versioning were definitely below par." The BMW model range has expanded continuously in recent years, adds Stephan Petschow, and it was obvious that manpower was not going to increase proportionally: "Processes had to be more streamlined, faster and more secure - and ultimately more economical, too."
This situation prompted a search for a software solution that sets standards and was scalable. A solution that enabled collaboration as a centralized system, as well as providing process reliability and guaranteeing significant cost-cutting in terms of DTP. And finally - as a key requirement of a company operating on a global scale - it had to guarantee maximum data security (i.e. secrecy and access rights) in view of so many individuals involved internationally. And in 2006 the decision was made in favor of censhare. "We believe it is the best product," says Petschow.
For BMW it is also important for a uniform brand identity to be preserved internationally. This is ensured by convenient integration and management of templates. What is more, complex rights, roles and entitlements have to be capable of being adapted individually. The entire production planning has to be scheduled, managed and monitored via the system. And finally, the national versions and language versions of each German master catalogue have to be developed very quickly. This requires tight workflow, translation, proofreading and approval processes which can be carried out entirely in a collaborative, web-based manner.
Sascha Luebbe, Head of Technical Consulting at 7Seas, sees the partially automated change management system as particularly advantageous here. "Over 50 national versions are created based on the German master. Changes made to the German master can be transferred to all languages as necessary by means of a partially automated system. This is possible because all layout versions are interlinked."
7Seas uses censhare not only for project and schedule planning but also to coordinate all content and process stages with the customer in Germany and the international markets. The system is especially valuable in the area of translation, as Petschow confirms: "Translators all over the world can access the system directly and translate directly into it so that you have 1-to-1 content in the database immediately - and you can instantly see how the text flow is developing." Finally, the data is outputted centrally for production, whether for sophisticated offline catalogue production or in the online area, e.g. the BMW Configurator. "We believe that it will be very important in future for companies to really make use of the full range of media relevant to their specific target group when addressing potential customers and communicating their products and brand content. Here the censhare system can make the process simpler, faster and therefore more economical."