Here is what you need to keep in mind
The speed at which the dynamic publishing domain is morphing into, is mindboggling. And as publishers face the challenge of having to deliver more content, more frequently across multiple delivery channels, multiple devices and languages that are platform agnostic. This shift to a digital dynamic model is challenging and constantly evolving.
Most organizations do not give much thought to their workflow. Small teams invent their own workflows to serve their own needs, but those workflows break down when extended across departments, across an organization, or across multiple organizations. A new workflow developed without an appropriate reconfiguration of organizational structure will be suboptimal, misunderstood, and resisted. More so, digital workflows are invisible & documenting them is an important way to understand the impact of any changes across the supply chain.
Legacy print driven content development workflows cannot scale to support digital or platform agnostic models. Intangible costs like editorial support continue to rise along with tangible costs of production. In an environment of fast-changing business models, publishers feel continuous pressure to leverage technology to enable operational workflows and strengthen the partner and customer experience. Technology can be a way to reduce costs and drive efficiency, but it is only one leg of the stool — without an eager team of people and dynamic workflow processes, the potential of innovative technology will not be realized.
Another point to take cognizance of is that legacy practices may be embedded in processes, tools, and organizational structures. We’ve found that legacy practices can get codified or embedded in the workflows we use to produce, manage, and deliver content. Often enough, these were good practices at some point in the past, but they may be limiting us now. For print products, the folio convention (i.e., page numbers) used by layout software makes perfect sense, but it can complicate efforts to make an eBook, or sell a component, or index for an environment that doesn’t have pages. When new formats or uses arise, workflow often needs to be rethought.
Book publishing is often described as a mixture of both art and science, with some debate about where the line is drawn. When changes are proposed or resisted without appropriate measurement and analysis, people involved in the change effort can point to organizational culture as the culprit.
The good news is, solutions are within reach. Thoughtful investments in technology can strengthen publishers’ infrastructure to position the organization for future growth. Publishers can accelerate internal and external workflows through advanced content and knowledge management systems and an effective change management approach. Additionally, the adoption of a proven metadata strategy can amplify this potential for innovation.
Another important aspect in evaluating the effectiveness of existing workflows and any potential changes, is to identify the skills of the people involved, any training required, as well as where they are engaged in the workflow. A new workflow developed without an appropriate reconfiguration of an organizational structure will be suboptimal, misunderstood, and resisted.
Companies operating across the book industry supply chain can improve their chances of making successful changes to their own and cross-segment workflow. As publishers embrace digital workflows, it is imperative to make workflows visible (maps, data flows etc), share these maps, pictures across the team, and use it as a prompt to improve cross function and cross segment understanding.
There are ways that companies operating across the book industry supply chain can improve their chances of making successful changes to their own and cross-segment workflow. As publishers embrace digital workflows, it is imperative to examine an array of tools actually available.
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