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Northern Lights

When the Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald decided to adopt cloud-based accounting system Xero, they called Conformedia for help.


The Herald wanted to continue using their IPA QSales ad booking system, which is hosted on Microsoft SQL Server and where integration was not possible. As the newspaper works to rigid deadlines it was important that the move from the old system to the new one would not interrupt day to day business.


Transition had to take place remotely owning to the social distancing regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Developers at Conformedia wrote a bespoke programme to bridge both systems. This was tested extensively over a period of weeks to ensure the organisation would experience a seamless changeover.


David Rayner from Conformedia explains how bespoke programming allows publishing companies to modernise. “Publishing organisations rely on niche ad booking systems to plan page layouts as part of the booking process. It’s therefore important we preserve the programmes that work well, but not at the expense of progress.  If integration is not possible, we develop a solution to allow our clients to benefit from both legacy and new systems.”


He continues to explain how the whole project was delivered remotely. “The existing system used QSales and Pegasus Opera3 accounts, requiring all sales and management staff to be onsite to view accounts data. Clearly with the COVID-19 pandemic this was not sustainable. 

The goal was to allow the Herald’s sales staff to access customer account data through QSales and the management team through Xero, regardless of location.


“Under normal circumstances we would have been onsite at the Herald, working with the team throughout testing and implementation, however social distancing restrictions required the project to be delivered remotely.” 


Initially the team took a copy of the virtual SQL server and copied this to Conformedia’s virtual server cluster and created a demo Xero account with API access. The bridged system was then developed to replicate data to and from QSales to the Xero API, maintaining a fully synchronised system. Once completed the Herald’s staff could view the results through the demo account and bug testing could be achieved without affecting any live data.


After two weeks of testing, the team was confident the system was stable. The bridge was remotely installed onto the Herald’s live servers and configured to access the live Xero data API.


Vicki Richardson, Advertising Manager at C W Herald explains why a smooth transition was so important to the project. “Our newspaper is a weekly publication and we run to very tight deadlines. This meant that testing had to take place over several editions to make sure all the elements were in place before going live. Moving from one system to another is never easy for an organisation but I’m pleased to say that the project was delivered without a hitch. 


We don’t have an inhouse IT team and rely on Conformedia to provide all our IT support. They are brilliant to work with and always there when we need them. They have been amazing.”

  • Accounts data can now be viewed by staff regardless of location

  • IPA QSales ad booking system has been retained

  • Xero has been introduced into the business 

  • Seamless changeover with no disruption to business

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