In almost all industries, the COVid-19 pandemic accelerated digitization and added new urgency to business process re-engineering. For media companies in particular, the challenges of the past year have provided a “digitization boost” – projects that had previously been postponed, suddenly became a priority. However, the pandemic is simply one additional factor in a whole series of watershed events that make this clear: The acceleration of innovation and workflow optimization will continue to be focus issues for the book publishing industry in 2021. This article considers – without claiming to be exhaustive or exclusive – five critical, IT-related priorities for book publishers in 2021.

At knk, feedback from on-going technology engagementsand inquiries from existing customersas well as new opportunities in our project pipeline provide a critical mass to confirm those technology areas that are shaping up to be the focus of book publishers in 2021. The knk team has identified five major trends that appear be receiving significant time, attention, and investment in 2021.  

Data Consolidation

Falling under the heading of “Tearing down data silos,” this objective has been on the agenda of many publishers for some time. Will this continue in 2021? Wthink so, largely because data consolidation is a non-negotiable prerequisite for three core aspects of sustainable and future-proofed business models: first, data-driven business, second, 360° marketing (with an individualized customer approach), and third, ongoing innovation capability. In order to be able to recognize and exploit market developments at an early stage, a broad, meaningful database is required.  

The “data silo” must be become a relic of the technology past for these opportunities to be realized.  

Use of Standards

In June 2020, knk published an article that described the many benefits of using software standards for “future-proofing.” applications. These are the key takeaways from the article.   

  • Enabling organizations to quickly harness the latest technologies and reduce the cost of innovation. 
  • Cutting historical “bridges. 
  • Re-examining customer requirements for their relevance and evaluating the cost-benefit ratio.  
  • Establishing standards  

These are significant operational goals for many publishers in 2021.  

Competitive advantages and raising the visibility of unique product offerings will be enhanced by deploying modern technologyWorkarounds, here, there, and everywhere are simply not capable of delivering benefits on the same scale as standard-based technology infrastructure. 

Data Generation

Data is unquestionably the “lingua franca” of the 21st century. Collecting, extracting, and using this remarkably valuable commodity is one of the primary challenges and more importantly, business opportunities for 2021. Where does the data originate? How do we want to collect and use this data? How do we develop new business models using the insights gained from our data? And finally, how do we ensure compliance with data privacy and governance regulations? Answering these questions for the enterprise is a complex task – but it unquestionably worth solving. After all, making the best possible use of your organization’s data resources will continue to be a mission-critical factor in the future in shaping the value of consumer-focused, tailored offerings and marketing automation. And so, the trend list for 2021 includes anticipating legal and technical (keyword post-cookie) developments early on, establishing “clean” consent management solutions, and above all: collecting and leveraging data! 

Identifying and Launching New Business Models

According to a 2020 joint study conducted by VDZ and KPMG, identifying and deploying new business models was an area of very understandable focus for book publishers in 2020. 36% of the survey respondents confirmed that their teams devoted considerable attention to this goal in 2020 with additional effort planned for 2021. The review and possible adaptation of existing business models was not included but is just as crucial. Changing user behavior and customer expectations unquestionably will have an impact on existing processes and generate new opportunities. Continuous consideration of significant automation opportunitiescurrent revenue models and customer acceptance allows existing business processes to grow and leverage new opportunities. Being prepared to exploit the opportunities offered by new technologies and expeditiously integrate them into business processes provides a credible and potentially significant competitive advantage. This concept – in effect, reminding the organization that “Time is money” can also apply to the development of new business models, especially those changes which can be tested and implemented quickly and without high technical or financial costs and enhanced over time if deemed successful. 

New Work / Leadership Models

The pandemic has significantly influenced and changed the management of workflows. This accelerated evaluation will undoubtedly continue in a post pandemic landscape. Even publishers who were initially skeptical about restructuring at the beginning of 2020, now see significant opportunities as a potential byproduct of reorganizationWFH (Work from Home) has unquestionably proven itself as a credible option and the advantages of autonomous, agile teams in modern organizations create new forms of collaboration where personal responsibility and independence are promoted. It is clear that the use of tools does not fix everything. However, leadership based on trust, motivation, and continued encouragement of new ideas will be high on every organization’s 2021 agendaand will provide your team members with the opportunity to develop and contribute to achieving the company’s goals. 

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)