How to select strategic partners in the digital age
E-Link, December 2010
With publishing in the midst of a true sea change, the need to
re-evaluate your publishing business is no longer simply a part of a
five-year strategic planning session, but is literally an imminent and
ongoing necessity for survival in the digital age. Many publishers have
been forced to make the difficult decisions in trimming personnel and
positions from departments that can no longer be supported in a
recessionary economy -- all during one of the greatest shifts in how
people access information since the advent of the printing press.
Publishers are facing growing needs created by an emerging and
competitive digital content marketplace. While this new digital
landscape is still largely uncharted, one thing is certain: publishers
will need new people to help get them to where they need to go.
Whereas, the old publishing model supported secondary businesses run by
publishers (i.e., warehousing and distribution), the new business model
is all about focusing on your core competency: producing and curating
great content while building solid relationships with your authors.
In a highly competitive "flat" world, outsourcing components of your
business is something every company must consider. With these
challenges and a myriad of solution providers to choose from, the
process of finding the right company to partner with can be daunting.
To help in that task, ECPA asked one of its newest member companies,
SPi Content Solutions, to give us a few helpful tips for publishers
working through this maze of options as they try to find the best fit
for their company and mission. This list is something that could be
used as a template for choosing any service provider going forward and
we hope you find it a useful resource.
- Expertise. Service providers must have the scale
and scope of services to support requirements over the next three to
five years. Service providers who work across multiple segments of the
information industry can help in implementing best practices.
- Flexibility. Publishing is a dynamic industry
today. This means changing requirements, rush jobs, volume variations,
new business models and so on. Service providers must have the
flexibility and capability to support these requirements.
- Technology. Technology is becoming a big
game-changer in the industry. Service providers must have the capability
to integrate new technologies/platforms into their workflows. They must
also have dedicated teams working on automation tools/process
transformations that reduce TAT, enhance quality, and improve
- Economics. Higher spends with the same provider
should get savings. Service providers must have options such as pricing
discounts based on cumulative spends. Pricing models may also include
sharing of risks and rewards.
- Governance. Strategic partnerships involve
multiple relationships. Starting at the operational level, relationships
are forged across both the organizations right to the executive
committee. Service provides must have the experience and organizational
ability to support this governance structure.
SPi Content Solutions has recently partnered with ECPA to develop
solutions that meet the needs of its members. ECPA members are
eligible for annual rebates.
If you would like to know more about SPi services, please visit www.spi-global.com or contact Lori Silverstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPi Content Solutions provides a full suite of editorial, content
production, conversion, customer support, and knowledge solutions to
commercial publishers, society publishers, university presses,
information providers, and corporate clients. With over 5,000
specialists in seven delivery centers across Philippines, India, and
Vietnam supported by account managers in US and Europe, we have a long
history of strategic partnership with our clients. Some of these
relationships have been in place for nearly two decades.