Digital Directions: Transformation's End
Andrew Brenneman, founder of Finitiv.
● Production needed to evolve from a print-centric to a cross-platform production approach, in which design (presentation) is separated from content so it can efficiently be delivered in a variety of ways, to a variety of devices.
● Editorial teams needed to evolve editorial processes to support more continuous publishing and greater frequency of updates that can be supported by digital delivery.
● Financial managers needed to architect the P&L structures of the organization, as the creation and management of dynamic content services are far different from the established P&L structure of traditional book publishing.
● Technology teams and their partners needed to bring online new systems to support digital content creation, management, distribution and delivery.
Many publishers have embarked on the path to digital transformation, and learned a lot along the way. One of the key lessons learned is that the course of transformation may need to be adjusted from time to time, as assumptions are tested and proven or disproven, and as new understanding of the marketplace emerges.
On the other hand, other organizations have resisted fundamental change, despite the clear impetus for doing so. Some reasons they have resisted change include:
● Perceived) Lack of Resources: With print revenue down and margins thin, organizations — particularly smaller publishers — feel squeezed. Publishers that do not have access to investment resources believe they cannot entertain efforts of digital transformation that may require investment. (Unfortunately vendors often overstate these capital requirements.) More significant is the pressure on internal resources: People are already stretched doing their "day jobs" and cannot take on any additional work that transformation may require.
● Incentive: Many who hold positions of responsibility are often not given the incentives to pursue change, even though the long-term viability of the organization depends upon it. P&L leaders commit to their boards the execution of the financial objectives of the current model, not investigation of new ones. And for that they are richly compensated. One level down in the organization, functional managers have grown dependent upon the relationships they have built with third-party service providers. These relationships become strained when new models are contemplated.
Related story: Rethinking the Monolith