Digital Directions: "In-sourcing" Production and Design
There is an alternative resourcing strategy emerging, however, in which design and production are shifting back to internal publishing teams. Forward-thinking organizations, such as Hachette and Sourcebooks, have emphasized the importance of having staff more directly involved in the production process. This "in-sourcing" is made possible by deploying strategies that leverage content standards and technologies that provide high levels of efficiency—thereby driving down costs and the dependence on low offshore labor costs. These efficiencies, which automate routine tasks, allow them to move away from external production services and bring creative tasks back in-house.
The benefits are manifold. By having creative production occur down the hall from editorial and marketing—instead of half a world away—greater collaborative development can take place within the walls of the publisher. This creative collaboration is necessary to drive the innovation needed to define and shape the emerging characteristics of their digital offerings. This innovation, which must be driven by the publisher, cannot take place with production and design functions primarily outsourced.
By bringing production and design back into the organization—and therefore enabling ongoing, iterative product innovation—publishers will not only take back control of their digital destinies, but in the process become more dynamic and energized places of work. BB
Andrew Brenneman is founder of Finitiv, which provides publishers with cloud-based services, mobile product development and digital strategy consulting.