The Workflow Imperative
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Posted by: Brian O'Leary
On March 15, BISG is hosting “How to Make Publishing Workflows REALLY Work”, our second two-hour program of 2018. The discussion is planned and moderated by Carolyn Pittis (Welman Digital), who has assembled a star panel of industry thought leaders, including:
- Peter Balis, VP Strategy, Planning, and Development, John Wiley & Sons
- Luyen Chou, Chief Product Officer, Pearson
- Leslie Padgett, VP, Publishing and Workflow Technology, Macmillan
- Kilian Schalk, Founder, PurpleGray Consulting
This in-person program takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Metropolitan Library Council of New York. Members attend for free, and non-members can join us for just $99. Interested in being part of the conversation? Register here.
This program starts a BISG conversation about what I call “the workflow imperative”: The central roles that process, technology, and organizational structure play in helping, or hindering, our ability to deliver valued content where, how, and when readers need it.
Professional, scholarly, and education publishers have faced the workflow imperative for several years. These markets moved to a blended model of print and digital well before eBooks rose to prominence. In these segments, publishers continue to adapt to deliver digital and online products, including assessment, that serve their audiences.
Agile workflows are book publishing’s holy grail, but they aren’t easily obtained. In 2010, I wrote that changing workflows is publishing’s equivalent of a heart transplant. That remains true today, even as the need to make those workflow changes grows.
Print-centric workflows break links to the content and systems that determine how digital-native content delivers value. In blended and digital-first markets, how we work determines the value of what we produce. In professional and educational settings, the complete package – a book – still holds value, but its components are also valued and must be ready to link to things like assessment modules and user databases.
The opportunities keep coming. Digital formats offer book publishing a cost-effective way to deliver content to print-disabled audiences, said to represent 3% to 7% of the total population (some estimates are higher). We know that accessible workflows are useful and cost-effective largely when they start with the idea that we’ll meet the needs of all readers. That commitment opens our eyes (and hopefully our workflows) to questions about how we design, describe, and deliver content.
The March 15 program won’t solve all these problems, but it’s only part of our work to open a conversation about the workflow imperative. In 2018, the content structure committee, which oversees efforts to promote digital books and content accessibility, is presenting two webinars on its work. The BISG Quick Start Guide to Accessibility will be updated and released this year. And, a webinar following up on the March 15 program is set for November.
The conversation is getting started, and we need you to help extend it. We’ll see some of you at Carolyn’s program, more of you as the other webinars and programs take place. Tell us how we’re doing, what we’re missing, and where we can address your needs.