Content Be Nimble, Content Be Quick
Patti Ward is the director of product management for Wolters Kluwer Health, a $900 million division of international publisher Wolters Kluwer. She joined the company in 1996 as a production assistant, but new responsibilities found her re-engineering business processes for the past five years.
“We were no longer responsible for putting ink on paper, and paper in the mail. As the industry demands have shifted, so have our production technologies,” Ward explains.
As has been the case with most publishers, the impact of digital media has been profound for Wolters Kluwer Health (www.WKHealth.com), which serves professionals and students in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. Ward compares the evolution of digital to a “tidal wave.”
“That’s really the only way I can describe it,” she stresses. “And as we’ve tried to manage through it, we didn’t have increased budgets. But we had to now produce multiple formats, and put them out to multiple delivery points. How do you manage that type of content?”
Build or buy
No matter the output intention—print or electronic—expeditious and efficient publishing was Wolters Kluwer Health’s top priority, and with the emerging challenges of new media, a new workflow was in order.
“We are a publishing company, and content is our revenue,” Ward affirms. “We don’t get the revenue until our content hits the market.”
In 2004, Ward began putting together cross-functional teams—one focused on business processes, the other on technology—and the groups began to brainstorm about workflow. “We had two choices: build or buy,” Ward recalls. “We knew there was no single application that would meet all of our needs. From the beginning, we intended to do some heavy customization.
“We also knew we had to grow the workflow into a solution that would allow us to grab content at any point in the process, and pivot it out to multiple delivery points,” Ward adds. “… And we were looking for schedule and cost reduction.”