By Joy Fang
CATS Classified will now be published using an $18-million state-of-the-art publishing system.
The print classified advertising portal of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) went through a system overhaul after 26 years of using its old system.
The new system, called Classified Advertisements Sales Hub (Cash), was launched yesterday and cuts training time for Cats staff.
Its predecessor operated on a character-based system where staff had to type commands manually. Cash is more efficient as it is Windows-based and has drop-down menus which enable easier, more intuitive selections.
In the past, two separate systems - one for Chinese advertisements and the other for English and Malay advertisements - were needed to handle the different languages. Sales representatives needed to toggle between the two systems, which proved to be a hassle.
The new system provides an integrated platform for the three languages.
Cash is the culmination of three years' worth of efforts by a cross-divisional team made up of Cats Classified core users and the IT department.
The SPH team also roped in Atex, a leading provider of digital-media software solutions and services, to develop the system.
Mr Bill Everitt, chief system architect at Atex, said that developing the system for both Chinese and English languages was a first for the American company.
The company decided to jump in because it is "looking to expand our existing product base into the Asia-Pacific region".
Ms Elsie Chua, executive vice-president of Cats Classified in the marketing division, said: "The old systems were getting obsolete, and they were reaching a point where a lot of the software was not supportable."
The volume in terms of print products is also increasing as customers make greater demands.
Growing creative needs meant that people were buying more into colour borders, special layouts and colour screens, which required a faster and more efficient system, explained Ms Chua.
"The system is now able to integrate all our English, Chinese and Malay newspapers into one, so we are able to come up with creative packages that cut across all these newspaper products. We are able to cater to advertisers' needs better," she said.