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Book Publishing Moves to the Cloud | Ken Michaels, President & COO, Hachette Book Group
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Book Publishing Moves to the Cloud | Ken Michaels, President & COO, Hachette Book Group

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Ken Michaels has driven his own company toward software-as-a-service and cloud-based publishing solutions. Now, he shares his insights on how these cloud-based systems are transforming publishing's ...

Ken Michaels has driven his own company toward software-as-a-service and cloud-based publishing solutions. Now, he shares his insights on how these cloud-based systems are transforming publishing's basic systems and capabilities, and how HBG is becoming a service provider of its own.

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  • “Publishing in the Cloud”. Sounds like a cool thing to do, right…..but I would wager that if we polled the room that not everyone would define it in quite the same way, that each of us would have differing opinions and that perhaps not everyone understands the context behind the growing attention of this trend and capability. So we are going to begin my short presentation answering the question of “Why should I care”.
  • The most obvious answer is a single word – “Change”. It’s happening all around and there are new requirements for modern publishing touching many processes like how we find and acquire authors; how we create content; how we store and distribute content; how we transact and improve reporting; and how we define, reach and market our authors works.Note that all of these requirements are in response to business drivers like we have here on the left of this slide. Things like shifting consumer needs, the realization that speed is now a competitive advantage, that data-driven decision making is necessary in customer relationships today as we balance demand and supply, that innovation is a critical organizational skillset not just owned by IT but by all leaders as we embrace business model changes. The wonderful thing is that technology has advanced to the point that you can access software tools from virtually any device, any location and at anytime of the day greatly reducing the investment costs, and freeing up IT to focus on more important things.
  • Thisslide depicts the before and after of this new trend. Until recently, publishers ran on systems that were, primarily, housed on their own computers, either created by or heavily customized by their own IT departments. Publishers were constantly challenged to maintain versions, to establish proper training budgets for talent, and for the all important data quality that digital now demandsToday,our options have changed and a great new field is opening up. The new systems in publishing are Cloud-based, and we’ve started talking a lot about software as a service. This is not a new concept, but one that we’re starting to see that we can use in different ways that we traditionally thought. Letting someone else worry about the infrastructure, the maintenance, the upgrades, and just plugging right into the data or services that you need is much, much simpler – not to mention cheaper, more efficient, and faster to install and integrate. It relies on sharing of resources to achieve economies of scale much the same way shared services works in larger companies. Cloud services represent a huge opportunity for the industry and players to embrace opportunities to not just catch up but to solve the needs of the supply chain we live in, quickly while eliminating the legacy obsolescence that fragments the processes in our industry.
  • The key is to identify a skill that you prefer not to own yourselves as a core competency. Once that is decided - there are several commercial models you can choose from. You can either license the software for yourself, access the software through the web for a usage-based option, or just outsource the functional execution to the cloud provider. There are no right or wrong in approaches as each are designed to best meet your individuals needs, budget, and staffing availability. The key is to understand that these options now exist, that you don’t have to own everything, and to be sure you question your functional leaders on whether they have explored these options.
  • At Hachette, we’ve been in the cloud for well over18 months now, with 100% of all our applications and infrastructure converted. We’re fully mature. All of our clients are in the cloud too.So when I speak to the benefits they come from practical experience. Things like agility in being able to provision quickly in a changing marketplace, like converting what was once capital expenditures to operational expenditures, like virtualization allowing access using a web browser regardless of location or device; and establishing shared services that enables centralization for cost efficiencies in power, networks and real estate as well as stronger idea and best practice sharing with more voices involved; not to mention improved real-time monitoring, and yes – despite what you hear, improved security with stronger redundancy & controls than what was occurring in legacy infrastructures.
  • Together, these trends are converging into a marketplace that Gartner predicts will grow with a CAGR of close to 19% to a total market size of $177 billion dollars by the year 2015. I would say that this trend is therefore worth noting by all executive impact players in the publishing space.
  • At Hachette, we look at the Publisher Services we offer as a complete suite: with the traditional physical distribution of warehouse, fulfillment and sales services still very much at the core of what we offer to our partners. As the industry has evolved, so have we, for the many clients we serve, and for publishers who may not have the capital or the know-how in handling e-file creation, apps production, ebook file distribution, or new governance capabilities like piracy monitoring or sales validation and processing. So we launched our Hachette Digital Platform and started being the cloud services provider to our sister companies in France and the UK for mobile templates and distribution pilots and US publishers around rich media products. And as cloud services become the standard mode of operating within Hachette – we have begun expanding new services we are offering in allowing the industry to take advantage of our innovations to continue to promote the commerce of books. Each solving a unique need or opportunity that we ourselves had in our publishing models.
  • But before we talk to Hachette as a Provider - Let’s look at some of the choices we’ve made at HBG. When we identify a new trend or new needs, we look at our options; we first look for opportunities to join up with world class providers, rather than build the capabilities ourselves where proven partners already exist.  Where did we use SAAS providers? The first example is email and let’s be clear – nothing new about that service and I would wager that virtually no one in this room has a homegrown built solution for email or an HRIS system – that all license a provider application. Thatis software as a service. But more specific to our industry, we’ve been faced with a few problems where no ready-made solution existed at Hachette or in the Trade Space. A great example is our need for piracy monitoring capabilities for our authors. We originally reached out toa partnerthat offered similar services in other content verticals and we brought it to trade publishing. Since then we’ve actually moved to another provider that was better able to meet our needs – another advantage of SaaS: easy on, easy off! If the provider isn’t meeting your needs, you can unplug and sign up with someone new. This keeps everyone on top of their game, constantly innovating and improving their offerings. Another example problem was e-book processing and finding a way to deal with the vast amount of data and varying formats from different retailers and do so in a way as to be efficient, effective, and productive while concentrating on exception management. Digital sales are growing so rapidly across so many channels with no standard way of reporting from the retailers that tracking & validating digital sales data. Royalty Share was the solution for Hachette; we brought them into trade publishing out of the music vertical over 2 years ago, and we helped to adapt their outstanding services for our needs and ultimately the industry’s. However, as I’ve said, there are times when what your company needs doesn’t exist in the marketplace. At Hachette, like each of you, we wrestled with wanting to resolve certain industry pain points or opportunities and decided in some cases to innovate for ourselves. We will spotlight these 3 on the next few pages:
  • No solution will work without understanding the challenge or problem you are trying to resolve.
  • Our first problem is one we saw spotlighted in the BISG Research on Development, Use and Modification of Product Metadata. That publishers may be releasing updates but that all retailers may not be applying them in a structured or timely way or publishers may not be sending clean or the right data properly for retailer needs. I encourage all of you to acquire this study completed in June as it is very revealing and points to several recommendations that will help improve your businesses. Until then, there is an immediate need to ensure that the files we send to retailers actually translate properly. Meaning that our epub files are actually listed as available for sale, that they are priced correctly or that we know pricing tactics that are deployed, and that all of the work of our promotion and placement is actually occurring. This last piece is especially important with the latest trend of charging for merchandize placements that’s occurring in the online space. Today, most of this activity is manual and a sampling and thus there is never the sense of comfort that we have full transparency in exactly what is happening in the retail space.So we would like to introduce a tool we have been using now for several months called Book Radar.
  • We will start with a feature called Price Monitoring. For Hachette, we send out literally thousands of active ISBN’s in our ONIX feeds but we never know if all the pricing information is updated properly for the agency agreements we have in place. So here we have the variances from our suggested retail price to actual retail price presented on a retailer website. On the left you see that we have a total of 234 titles that show a discrepancy. So on a daily basis our merchandizing department is presented with the night’s actual variances to investigate. They can sort by ISBN, by title, or by retailer and then download an extract into excel for deeper analysis like isolating promotions to ensure we know beginning and ending dates, spotlighting to retailers delays or errors in either our files or the process to help them optimize pricing revenue or promotions, and take this form of marketing tactic and lay it against POS data to see if there is actual movement in volume. Powerful stuff and all automated to help improve marketplace intelligence. We also have a straight comparison screen for the wholesaler model to do more analysis on channel differences and implications on demand – but we don’t have time to show you all the functions of the system, so I’ll move on to the next feature.
  • Our second feature in this tool is around the availability of our product for sale. Don’t assume just because you release an ONIX feed that all channels have it for sale. Also, that you have good reporting around special channel specific titles, etc. or that online retailers are complying to laydown rules or strict on-sale dates. This feature allows us to monitor how our titles are posted online. Again, we can easily see that out of thousand of ISBN’s in our ONIX feeds, we have 201 titles that do not show available for sale on all retailers or show availability prior to publication date. These are presented to sales and our data teams to ensure that what is going on in the marketplace makes sense and that any corrective action is addressed so that sales are optimized across all retail sites. The tool has paid for itself already with just this feature to ensure our titles are posting correctly on all available sites.
  • Our third feature is not a governance feature on data quality or compliance but rather a display of all sites that have any of our ONIX ISBN’s for sale. We are calling this merchandising placement as it shows us where any ISBN is featured -- whether it be on the home page or any other wireframe sub-category to the home page. Here too there is a download feature that allows us to take the actual promotional placement and time snapshot of first-seen to last-seen clock so that we can do a compare and contrast to POS intelligence. This is a way to track ROI of placements and as retailers begin to understand that they can charge for online positioning we will have the data to understand the value that is accrued. Also, it’s a great way to show authors what is happening with their titles as when you click on the retailer logo it takes you to the actual web-site page that the promotion is occurring on. Like all of our features, we have a simple metric tracking tool to reflect what we are seeing in the raw data.
  • All of these metrics can then be displayed in a partner performance history by retailer by feature as a way of focusing us on where we need to pay attention to help us serve our retailers better or help them understand so we can grow revenue together.
  • The second example of achallenge we had to solve was around our Publicity Tools. We needed to create a single source system for all the intelligence of influential and impactful media contacts of the industry categorized by genre or media outlet…..and then automate the connection to market campaigns, publicity events, and author handling….while creating simple communication & reporting tools to quickly create itineraries for sending to authors, publicity, marketing, sales or customers. Until we launched this solution, we had fragmented databases, multiple tools, poor data quality, and departments weren’t well coordinated on the activities around our titles let alone the volume implications of publicity events that might change how you do your inventory management.Our solution? We built a robust Publicity Intelligence Platform. It could easily be called the marketing platform, the sales connector platform, or the event side of demand planning tool but we stuck with publicity as this is where we harness the power of the company for the benefit of our authors.
  • It’s hard to show a single slide on this tool but suffice it to say that at it’s rudimentary level we deal with a centralized contact management system that has intelligence on who the major influencers are around what you are trying to do, with the ability to customize who and how you reach out, with campaign details and planning that can convert to snapshots you can use internally for coordination and decision making as well as inform outside parties like authors or retailers to coordinate holistically around events.
  • Here is a sample screen shot. You can see in blue on the top the 3 interconnected modules that you manage across: Contacts Management, List Management, and Campaign Management. What you are seeing here is a modification screen inside list management where you can save established or custom lists and make them public or private while tracking last update and for what intent….. with a number of drill down features and compare functions to help match and merge campaign approaches quickly.
  • Here we have just 2 of many sample reports that can be generated which is a nice simple author handling itinerary that authors can read and understand with messages (whether you use humor or not is your call) that can be sent to both authors and those handling the author. On the right we have an overall release approach on media and branding as a snapshot with links to deeper data or material that allows buyers or sales reps to understand the magnitude of promotion around a certain title.
  • Our last spotlight is how we get awareness up in one of the largest social media communities in the world. Of course, I am talking about Facebook. At the end of 2011 Facebook was reported to have 800 million users. If you note that Europe (with Russia included) has approx. 727 million as a population – I think you get the picture. The power and reach of Facebook cannot be denied and we needed to develop a tool that was inside the community without problems of linking outside to our content. And like most of our tools, we wanted to gather critical consumer data to help us learn and advance our engagements and material. So today I am also presenting to you our Facebook tool called “ChapterShare”
  • This is powered by our Hachette Digital Platform (yet another integrated piece to our total solution) that allows us to launch preview chapters or samples of our authors upcoming or existing works that can generate buzz and be shared virally across Facebookcommunities. The high quality of the reading experience does not require you to leave Facebookand is easily shared while feeding back valuable metrics around # of likes, # of shares, and frequency of comments.
  • This is what the user experience looks like. Very clean, very simple, with easy links to start reading now, to share the excerpt, and where to buy for immediate commerce.
  • Understand that these are just 3 of the new tools we offer through the SaaS model (and I have pamphlets on each of these available for those of you who would like to have some details to take away with you). There are others that have been out there for a while that are part of the reason why Hachette won the Publishing Innovator of the Year award last year from Book Business Magazine.
  • In conclusion, Regardless of what brought you to this conference today, if you take one thing away from this presentation – take this – that you don’t have to build it for yourselves anymore – that there is a growing army of firms full of innovation and ideas that you can literally plug into that represent a much cheaper and more effective way of solving your companies problems. Cloud computing is here to stay. Thank you.

Book Publishing Moves to the Cloud | Ken Michaels, President & COO, Hachette Book Group Book Publishing Moves to the Cloud | Ken Michaels, President & COO, Hachette Book Group Presentation Transcript

  • Publishing in the Cloud Ken Michaels, COO Hachette Book Group
  • Why should the C-level care? Business Drivers Technology Enables• Pace and Complexity of Technology • Broadband• Skillsets and Ongoing Training • Remote Access Technologies (Culture Shift) • Corporatizing Capability / Efficiencies• Tighter End-Customer Relationships (Process & Analytics) • Virtualization• Fiscal Pressures on Investment & Costs • Web-Based Applications• Quicker Time to Market• Free up IT for Innovation and Decision Support / Analytics• Model Change in New Market, New Distribution and New Revenue Opportunities• Shifting Customer Expectations (Mobility, Infrastructure, 24x7) 2
  • What is the underlying premise?Traditional Build On-Demand 3
  • There are three choices of Cloud/SaaS models Models License Pay Per Use Full ServiceWe provide the We provide the We provide the fullapplication. application, and process: application, we host it for you hosting and staff.You need your own from our cloud.host servers and You just need an SLAstaff to use it. You need your own staff to use it. 4
  • Benefits of Cloud Foundation Cloud Foundation Scalable, Secure and Agile Infrastructure 5
  • Cloud / SaaS Trends 6
  • HBG Publisher Services CategoriesPhysical DistributionServices relating to handlingof physical product, primarilyinto the trade book market.• Warehouse & Fulfillment Digital Distribution services eBook services and• Sales Services synchronized distribution of content to consumers through mobile devices. Applications • eBook file distribution Tools for Publishers to help improve operational efficiencies • Piracy protection and/or lower costs through a SaaS model. • Digital Audio Initial systems include tools for: • Digital sales validation & e- processing • Monitoring online sales • Managing publicity • Remote ordering & catalog tool • Facebook Branding 7
  • HBG is both SaaS Acquirer & Provider Acquirer Provider Bought SAAS Tools available via SaaS Email to partnersPiracy monitoring Monitoring digital sales (on sale date, price, E-processing merchandising) Publicity Database & Campaign Management Social Media plug ins 8
  • Publishers’ Challenges HBG solutions
  • Publisher challenges: Monitoring online metadata/practices• Monitoring vendor compliance of “price” changes and “on sale” date under eBook agency or wholesaler model.• Correct errors and omissions that may occur in supply chain.• Track and confirm title promotion placement across vendors.• Scorecard vendor performance.• Significant time spent manually tracking titles on vendor sites. Solution = 10
  • Book Radar: Price Monitoring Displays discrepancies between site’s posted price and HBG weekly ONIX feed. 11
  • Book Radar: On Sale Monitoring Displays titles on sale prior to HBG On Sale Date or not on sale past On Sale Date 12
  • Book Radar: Merchandising Placement Displays title’s promotional placement (Feature, Banner, Showcase, Brick) and tracks duration of campaign. 13
  • Book Radar: Performance History Scorecard snapshots of vendor performance for Price and On Sale 14
  • Publisher challenges: Publicity Tool• Need to maintain complex databases of media contacts, and manage personalized communication with individuals in the media and online communities• Antiquated tools requiring many manual workarounds• Limited sharing of publicity contacts and best practices• Individual workflows and non-standard process• No industry solution tailor made for unique publicity needs• Lack of integration with other core systems; need to tie publicity campaigns to marketing, sales, and demand planning Solution = 15
  • What is the Publicity Intelligence Platform?• Centralized Contact and List Management • Publicity contacts stored and shared across all divisions • Contact “compare & merge” allows for easy data clean up• Campaign Management • Ability to organize and store full publicity campaign details • Create itineraries and publicity reports to be shared with authors, agents, and sales• Other Business Benefits: • Easy to export data – such as tour feeds – for use by 3rd parties (Bookish, Edelweiss, etc) • Review requests tracking • Integrated mass-emailing and label generation 16
  • What is the Publicity Intelligence Platform? 17
  • What is the Publicity Intelligence Platform? 18
  • Publisher challenges: Facebook Integration & Easy Sharing• Need new ways to create content for authors, publishers, and e- tailers that will engage consumers around an author or brand and spread the word about books.• Need tools to create a viral experience on Facebook, a viral platform that allows publishers to generate early buzz and pre- orders for digital and print format• Driving consumers to content within a platform theyre using is essential, and there was no turnkey way to create and share excerpts on Facebook• Gathering data on reader behavior and impact of a piece of shared content is critical for marketing, and is a challenge in the industry Solution = 19
  • What is ChapterShareTM ?• ChapterShareTM creates a unique seamless, high-quality reading experience within Facebook.• ChapterShareTM integration with HBG’s Consumer Digital Platform automated the posting of content -- an excerpt from a book -- within Facebook in an easy-to-read format.• Without leaving Facebook, readers can read a sample of a book and share it with all their Facebook friends instantaneously.• Readers can also preorder the book at their preferred retailer.• Integrates with Facebook’s API and provides usage data back to the business: # of likes, shares, commends and click to buy. 20
  • What is ChapterShareTM ? 21
  • Award winning innovative solutions…. 22
  • The future is in the cloud… 23