Supporting Rapid Growth with N2 Publishing

N2 leverages Unabridged Software to provide comprehensive end to end software services. The bulk of the partnership is built around web application development but they also provide invaluable design advice, process analysis, and important technical risk analysis. We not only trust UA with our transactional data, but to develop and maintain our most critical business driving applications. Their expertise is only matched by their loyalty. It’s safe to say that UA software has been one of the top vendor partnerships in the growth and success of N2.

Michael Beams
CTO, N2 Publishing

N2 Publishing is no stranger to rapid growth. After nearly a decade of repeat appearances on Inc.’s list of fastest-growing private companies, N2 was recognized in 2019 by Entrepreneur as the fifth fastest-growing franchise in the country with a three-year growth rate of 220%.

Each month, N2 Publishing creates and delivers over 1,000 unique magazines to hundreds of thousands of consumers in targeted markets across the country. Behind the scenes, content for these publications flows into their headquarters in Wilmington, NC from 600+ franchisees and 20,000+ small business owners to be designed, printed, and shipped. This is no small operation but, in 2015, the information system supporting this massive operation was still mostly comprised of Word, Excel and email.

Needing a more efficient and sustainable way to support their growth, N2 began evaluating firms to develop a custom software application that could manage their production workflow. When other firms (from Silicon Valley to offshore) were unable to deliver a valuable solution on time and on budget, N2 turned to Unabridged Software as their trusted partner for the project.

N2’s partnership with Unabridged comprised two key objectives:

  • Develop a custom application to manage the N2’s unique production workflow.
  • Assist N2’s leadership in hiring their own in-house development team that could build and support the application long-term.

Within four months of the project's start date, Unabridged had collaborated with N2’s in-house Product Management and UI/UX teams to design, develop, and release a custom web application in Ruby on Rails, bringing the day-to-day work of some 4,000 users into one system and effectively revolutionizing N2’s production workflow.

Since 2013, Unabridged has continued to enhance and support this application which provided new data-based insights into N2’s operation and decreased their production time by 40-60% across departments. In the same timeframe, Unabridged led interviews, on-boarded, and supported nearly a dozen skilled software developers and managers who could carry on N2’s legacy of software innovation predicated on the success of this project.

The system that Unabridged built and has been continuing to support for N2 is a set of Ruby on Rails apps using React, Kafka, Docker, ElasticSearch and more. Recently, Unabridged developed several marketing sites for N2 using the Eleventy static site generator. The Eleventy sites include a custom location search, article search functionality provided without a server, and an Instagram feed integration.

Magazines flared out in a fan shape

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