Content management and digital asset management have traditionally been approached as distinct operations. There was limited interaction between content and assets during editorial development mostly coming together as print layouts were created and finalized. Workflows and tools were developed to address the separate requirements around the two components. However, the emergence of digital publishing has greatly increased options around how and what to publish. No longer are publishers constrained to print deliverables. New hardware devices, Internet applications, social media sites, and communication opportunities offer rich opportunities for publishers to use content in a variety of new ways. To take full advantage of this, publishers need to adjust the tools and techniques employed to manage content.
What is needed is a platform in which publishers can manage traditional assets (e.g., .jpg, .gif,.mov, .mp4, .mp3, etc.) to coexist with what was traditionally content (e.g., Word, XML, PDF, etc.). This platform should house both items natively. This becomes a strategic content hub that can be deployed either as a replacement for or as a layer over the existing tools and workflows that may still be required to support existing publishing channels. However, such an approach requires unique characteristics not seen in traditional CMS or DAM systems.
Download our latest white paper and learn how the unification of content and assets is possible today and how you can get started.
Today, stresses on the publishing industry are more accelerated than most other industries. New expenses are added to reach publishing targets and those expenses don't always add to total revenue. A content management system (CMS) helps publishers manage, store, transform, and delivery content in a sustainable and economical way. A CMS is a publisher’s factory.
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As a content management company, we sing the praises of our clients who have created tremendous efficiencies in publishing operations by implementing appropriate tools and technologies to reduce time to market and satisfy a multichannel publishing strategy. The information industry is under tremendous pressure to deliver digital content in many forms to many channels. However, some publishers are moving away from automated workflows and content transformations. Why would an organization forgo automation in today’s complex publishing world? Perhaps it is due to the following:
- Managing offshore vendors – Holding a vendor responsible for meeting quality standards and publishing timelines requires a different set of skills than incorporating publishing tools into an organization. With automation, some of the vendor responsibilities are moved back to editorial and production departments. While an offshore vendor can apply brute force on a case-by-case basis; adhering to structured formats and implementing templates enable content transformations and delivery in a sustainable and automated manner.
- Cutting jobs – Publishers who think that automating workflow is wonderful but equates to cutting jobs may benefit from another vantage point. Just as effective manager works with an individual to align skills with solutions, the same can be said for automated workflows. For example, technology is excellent at machine processing---XML validation, business rules validation, schematron validation. Individuals outperfom on cognitive skills that automated technology is not equipped to tackle---content development, content curation, metadata management, new product sandboxing. Saving time with efficient workflow routines equates to realigning staff to work on value-add tasks.
- Conserving culture – Some organizations don’t like technology that automates workflow. Never have, never will. It takes communication, dedication, and training to change an organization's culture in terms of new technology adoption. Working with older toolsets (eg, Word 2000, InDesign CS3, etc.) provides a comfort level to both in-house staff and external authors. But guarding a culture against change can result in antiquated processes and missed opportunities.
- Hiring vs investing – Increasing headcount is an easier sell than investing in technology. Investing in the right technology means changing the way individuals do their daily jobs but also means changing the way an organization approaches a publishing program that has worked consistently for decades. It is no small task and investing in a new CMS is indeed a financial and organizational committment. Adding up the factors that instigate the pursuit of CMS need to be part of the investment equation---lack of automated content transformation, laborious manual workflow steps, inability to deliver to multichannels, ineffective content organization, dispersed assets, inconsistent metadata, etc.
Rather than calculating ROI on a CMS investment try looking at the payback period when the pain points are resolved. If you can justify an investment in automating workflow and have a payback period of a year or less this could be an easier sell to internal staff and management.
There is little doubt that publishers have a multichannel publishing goal. There is pressure from the consumer and the competition to produce more content, more efficiently, and to more channels than ever before. A balanced approach to making changes to people (ie, structuing teams according to skill sets), processes (ie, automating as much as possible), and technology (ie, implementing appropriate tools and technologies) results in success. It is not just the technology that requires investment. Changing people, patterns, and culture usually requires a greater investment in time and education.
What approaches to workflow automation resulted in success at your organization? What pain points do you continue to face?
Most publishing companies have one of those folks on staff who is intimate with the content. Someone who knows all the images that were used in a previous edition or which drug monographs couldn't fit into the printed product in time for publication. I used to be one of those people..ask me the ghost words embedded in Tabers' Cyclopedic Dictionary, 18th edition*. Even with a photographic memory, today's proliferation of content makes this skill nearly impossible. I also like to bring up the lottery scenario risk: "what happens if Jim in Production wins the lottery and all that knowledge leaves your organization?"
To effectively manage content, organizations need a handle on what they have. Publishers using a Word document system simply can't be agile in today's environment. Think about a document sitting on some file server, with all its attendant assets—images, charts, chapters and paragraphs—buried within it, and the only way to know what content is in there is for someone in your organization to remember that it’s there.
Without enriching your assets with metadata and storing them in a repository that allows you to search and find content relating to a specific topic—say, tennis elbow or the Higgs boson—you could be duplicating work recreating assets you already own, wasting time searching for those assets, and missing huge revenue opportunities to sell content granularly as a custom bundle or a focused derivative e-product.
At this year’s MarkLogic World conference, Nature Publishing Group (an RSuite CMS customer) presented an explanation of how they support what I would call ‘virtual journals’. There are very specific segments of the scientific world that would not possibly justify the creation of a full-blown journal, but when you start to realize, ‘Hey, we have this very large repository of existing journals with some articles across all of them that appeal to this market, and if we gather these articles up from all these other journals, we’ve got enough content to be of interest to this marketplace.’ Suddenly you have the option to create an online-only product (for example) with very low internal costs that is of specific interest to this niche market that previously was too small to be worth going after. It’s a long-tail concept but without applying metadata consistently and systematically this simply couldn't happen.
Metadata isn't magic and it really isn't all that complicated---you need the proper tools, workflow, and people in your organization. And once you have that set up, the fun begins---new product development, automated distribution to new licensing channels, multi-channel output.
Download our latest white paper and learn how publishers are increasing revenue with strategic content management, including metatadata enrichment. The free white paper includes two case studies from Human Kinetics Publishers and Elsevier Health Science.
*While I no longer work at that publishing company, I won't ever tell!
How do you create and manage content that's ready for print, web, mobile, tablets, and future publishing channels?
The source is the solution!
The PRISM Source Vocabulary (PSV) is a standard framework for encoding digital content and configuring content management and digital asset management systems to produce future-ready content.
The latest vocabulary from IDEAlliance's nextPub initiative will be discussed tomorrow during a free webinar from RSI Content Solutions and Data Conversion Laboratory.
Come hear Dianne Kennedy, vice president of emerging technologies for IDEAlliance, share her thoughts on opportunities to advance automation for publishing systems where there has been little if any automation to date. She'll discuss where roadblocks exist, what opportunities are out there, and what role standards play in all this.
We'll also be introduced to the PRISM Source Vocabulary and learn how design-based publications can begin to and should take advantage of automation with standards, tools, and technologies available today.
May 9 | 1:00 to 2:00 EDT
Presenter: Dianne Kennedy, VP of Emerging Technology at IDEAlliance
Webinar Series on the Business Case for Digital Content
RSI Content Solutions and Data Conversion Laboratory are kicking off a 6-part webinar series next week that will address the many myths associated with the world of XML, CMS, and eBooks.
The six part webinar series called ‘Reality Check’ features experts in content management and publishing who lead the series and detail how to manage information and transform content to work within eBooks, browsers, and mobile platforms.
Following are the webinars in this series. You can read more here.
- April 26 | Truth of Digital Revenue Streams
Panelist: Darrell W. Gunter, CEO, Gunter Media Group
Having worked with hundreds of publishing professionals during the past 10 years, we've observed organizations that implement a strategic content management initiative and converted backlist titles into XML are the ones who are seeing digital revenue exceed print. Join this free webinar and hear the truths about what your organization can do recognize true digital revenue.
- May 9 | Truth About Automation
For publishers and media companies, automating editorial and production tasks is necessary to keep pace with customer consumption as well as the competition. While many knowledge workers view automation as a threat to job security and an impediment to editorial quality, this webinar illustrates the truths around automating common editorial and production tasks. Indeed automation can free staff to focus on better content development.
- June 9 | Truth About ROI
Panelist: Christopher Hill, VP Product Development, RSI Content Solutions
Publishers understand that content management and data conversion is a pivotal piece in today's publishing environment. Yet budgeting for these initiatives can quickly scale to the point where executives question why they should stray from the status quo. In this free webinar, DCL and RSI Content Solutions, will lead a panel of publishing professionals who will discuss how they made their business case and received enthusiastic executive buy-in for content management and data conversion in their organizations.
- August 29 | Truth About DIY CMS and Conversion
Panelist: Pat Sabosik, Elm City Consulting
While using internal resources to develop a homegrown content management tool or convert your backlist to XML sounds like a cost-effective approach, the reality is that 82% or IT projects fail. This webinar focuses on the real concerns you need to address so that your organization can make educated decisions based on truths and not what simply seems will work.
- September 19 | Truth About Quality
Panelists: Mike Edson and John Corkery, The DETI Group
The premise of all publishing organizations is to provide quality content in a format that customers desire. Ask any copy editor about house style and you can anticipate a lengthy and thoughtful response. Authors too expect nothing but perfection when transforming intellectual property into a print or digital product. So how do successful publishing organizations blend automation into workflows without sacrificing quality?
- November 19 | The Truth From the Publishers' Perspective
Panelists: Barry Bealer, CEO, RSI Content Solutions and Mark Gross, CEO, Data Conversion Laboratory
Throughout the year, DCL and RSI Content Solutions have polled a large number of publishing and media executives to understand where they are in terms of strategic XML content management. We’ve asked tough questions around true revenue numbers, quality-control issues, content automation, and ROI. In this webinar series join CEOs Barry Bealer, RSI Content Solutions and Mark Gross, Data Conversion Laboratory who share not only the results of our 10-month polling but also their views on what the metrics mean.
Last week's O'Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) event in New York had a theme of Change/Forward/Fast. Based on the keynote presentations, I think the publishing industry heard loud and clear that they need to change....and now! However, the other underlying theme for the conference was also articulated by the hosts as "we are confused." Needless to say, these two themes are in conflict with one another. How can you change if you are confused? Confusion generally leads to paralysis and that is what I have seen with publishers over the past few years.
While publishers heard success stories about building audiences before publishing a title and on-going interactions with that audience, what was suspiciously absent was how publishers are delivering content to the various devices. Maybe it was the wrong venue, but I suspect many of the success stories started once content was in a sellable format rather than how easily the content was created and published in their content management system.
I also suspect that many in the audience were from the business side of publishing and the TOC event makes them pause and think about their business. TOC did not, for me anyway, tackle the more difficult challanges of multi-channel publishing using home grown or antiquated technology. Sadly, that is what many publishers are wrestling with today. Once they are able to get content in ebook format, they can do really cool stuff with it. Until publishers address the content management side of the equation, I don't see how they will efficiently meet time-to-market demands. The reality is that most ebooks today are created by publishing services vendors because they are converting various flavors of legacy files. Most publishers today are not multi-channel publishing but sticking with the print paradigm and then, through various publishing services vendors, creating ebooks for distribution. Publishers who are stuck with this publishing process need to "change/forward/fast."
I will say that overall the TOC conference appears to be rejuvinated. Two years ago the conference seemed to have run its course, but I believe it is back to being an event that publishers will want to attend to learn how the newbies are doing it without the "burden" of print. Pushing the envelope is what TOC is best at and I hope they continue to push the industry's thinking along the way.
Content industry analyst, John Blossom, shares his opinion on how a CMS like RSuite helps publishers accelerate revenue and profit growth through better content management.
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Lisa Bos shares her thoughts on content mangement trends for the coming year. Lisa is CTO and co-founder of Really Strategies, with primary responsibility for the RSuite CMS product vision and engineering. RSuite is a content management system used by some of the world's leading publishers to manage content assets from creation through multichannel publishing and distribution.
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RSuite Cloud the industry's first hosted end-to-end content management and automated publishing system, allows book publishers to create, manage, and distribute single-source content to multiple channels.
The Joss Group awarded RSuite Cloud the prestigious Seybold Report “Hot Pick.” The Seybold Report Hot Pick designation is given to products, technologies, and services that add obvious value to professional publishing processes and reflect the Seybold editors’ vision of where the industry is heading.
“RSuite Cloud is transforming the world of book publishing,” stated Dan Dube, executive vice president of cloud solutions at Really Strategies. “We believe there should be no barriers for book publishers to deliver content to their audience—in any format, in any language, at any time. RSuite Cloud is already making that happen, both at global publishing houses and at small boutique publishing firms.”
“When I saw this solution transform Word manuscripts into XML and then automatically publish print and e-books, I realized RSuite Cloud is how book publishers can get into the world of XML without high cost,” explains Molly Joss, owner and publisher of the Seybold Report.
Want to see RSuite Cloud for yourself?