Digital Directions: Understanding Your Digital Opportunities
The following three-part approach can be used to develop relevant digital content programs:
1. Product Segment: First, divide your product offerings into relevant segments. For example, segment the list according to form (reference, fiction, etc.) or subject matter, such as in the case of an education publisher (hard sciences, humanities, etc.).
2. Opportunities: Viable digital opportunities can be specifically identified for each segment. For example, e-book distribution might be a potential opportunity for trade fiction; institutional licensing of hosted content for scholarly monographs. Some product segments may have multiple opportunities, others none.
3. Execution: Each opportunity will, in turn, have specific requirements of execution, which should include both business considerations (required approval, channel strategy, up-front costs) and technical considerations (submission format, metadata). This is where costs associated with specific opportunities emerge, as well as indications of the program’s profitability.
This is not to imply that each opportunity will require a unique technology platform. Our budgets and our sanity require that any organization can use common technology platforms for working with digital assets. However, the specific way in which that platform is employed—such as how content is chunked, tagged or styled—should be determined by the requirements of each initiative. Successful digital content programs should be driven by market opportunities, not by technologies. This will keep the horse in front of the cart.
An approach such as this will result in a structured, hierarchical view that defines what potential opportunities might exist and what is required to execute them. This structure document can be used to:
- develop a case for digital initiatives;
- create implementation approaches relevant to the market opportunity;
- understand common technology requirements across initiatives; and
- prioritize digital opportunities.
Based on the prioritization, organizations can first go after the low-hanging fruit and explore new models incrementally. Breaking down seemingly insurmountable challenges into bite-sized chunks is the first step to surmounting them.