Mixed progress on digital transformation – study

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A study analysing digital transformation in the publishing industry found that 25 per cent of publishers see themselves as 'lagging' behind the rest of the industry in their current transformation efforts, while only 25 per cent feel they are 'leading'.

The study, which included 25 publishers in education; scientific, technical and medical (STM); and trade, was commissioned by software professional services firm and leading provider of publishing solutions Ixxus, along with its parent organisation Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).
Overall, the study found that digital transformation in publishing is being driven by consumer demand (41 per cent) and the desire for new revenue streams (26 per cent) and new products (22 per cent). Fifty per cent of publishers interviewed are looking for ways to replace declining revenues from print and advertising, with 41 percent looking to new product options.

Publishers unanimously agree that digitisation is critical to business growth but are experiencing confusion and frustration at the complexity of the journey.

'Publishing is a legacy industry that is suddenly facing an overwhelming demand for change that will uproot not only its products, but its people, processes and business models. This research gives us a deeper understanding of the challenges – real and perceived – publishers face as they seek to transform,' said Tracey Armstrong, CEO at CCC.

'The good news is that the desire for change is permeating publishing from the top down. We expect increases in investments and shifts in organizational culture to drive digital transformation forward.'

Publishing executives were asked to score their current capabilities and planned future investments in five main elements of digital transformation: content storage, metadata, content agility, discoverability and collaboration.

Key findings include:

  • Metadata is a top priority: Metadata ranked as the highest priority for publishers across all verticals (4.6 out of 5), but also represented the largest gap in current organizational ability (2 out of 5). D
  • Discoverability is a close second: Publishers ranked discoverability as the second most important transformation element (4.5 out of 5) and felt that current abilities were the highest in this category (2.5 out of 5).
  • Content agility is most meaningful to education publishers: Content agility ranked as the third most important element of digital transformation, with a variance across verticals. Education publishers put a higher emphasis on this element as it is a key enabler to personalized learning, targeted content and predictive analytics.
  • Publishers overestimate their abilities when it comes to content storage: Content storage was ranked second to lowest on 'importance to the business' as many publishers feel they have already made significant investments in this area.
  • Organisational culture blocks collaboration: Publishers used the terms “fragmented,” “inconsistent” and “limited” to describe current automated collaboration abilities and consider email and Excel spreadsheets sufficient tools for content sharing.