The Insourcing Boom in Digital Publishing

Insourcing applies to digital publishing as much as to manufacturers
like GE, which recently restored this assembly line in Kentucky.
After decades in which it's seemed that all kinds of business tasks were inexorably moving offshore in pursuit of lower labor costs, publications like the Harvard Business Review and The Atlantic have begun to note a swing in the opposite direction.   “Insourcing” and “onshoring” are becoming buzzwords as manufacturers start to bring at least some kinds of jobs back in house.  The reasons are many, but key among them are the agility and time-to-market benefits of bringing most product development functions together under one roof.

We’re seeing the same thing in digital publishing, and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  Digital publishing is growing and changing as rapidly as any business, and at the same time, most publishing organizations now understand digital to be a core strategic activity essential to their future.

No longer is digital publishing primarily about shipping large backlists out for content conversion, or similar tasks that it has historically made sense to offshore.  Now the focus is on responding quickly to new market opportunities and exploiting the latest technologies.  From what we’re seeing among Tizra’s customers, the publishing organizations that do this best take a “big room” approach, with editorial, design, marketing, sales, production, finance and technology folks all collaborating closely.

Does this mean publishers should try to do everything in house?  Definitely not...any more than than it makes sense to build your own printing presses.  Just as with other publishing functions, you need to determine which functions truly differentiate you from competitors (including "free" information from non-professional sources), and cultivate in-house expertise in those areas.  The rest is all about providing your teams with the very best tools to empower them to carry out your organization's product vision.

For most publishers, this includes shifting many functions from outside or offshore service providers to a powerful, flexible, digital publishing platform like Tizra, which enables them to be self-sufficient and in direct control.  Advantages of the digital platform approach include...

  • Control -- When utilizing an offshore service provider, you lose the direct connection with your content and your audience, reducing control over the user experience, quality, timeliness, commerce options, and more.  Plus, with the rash of mergers and acquisitions in the offshore service provider market, you may find yourself in the position of dealing with turnover, or searching for a new partner.  With directly managed digital publishing software, you keep the key strategic expertise in house, and are in control of your brand, content and audience.
  • Time-to-market -- How many times do you need to add or update ebooks, change pricing and promotional copy, or implement new promotional codes or bundles?  With digital publishing software you can make these changes immediately, providing immediate gratification to your customers.  However, if you are working with an offshore service provider, you have to deal with time zone differences and delays related to submitting, scheduling, and implementing change requests.
  • Audience relationships -- With digital publishing software you are able to sell direct to your audience, meaning that you have full access to and control over all the information relating to your customers.  Instead of providing your digital content to an aggregator or online store such as Apple, Google, or Amazon, you can keep both your customer relationships, and your margins.  By utilizing digital publishing software, you can integrate your econtent storefront into your existing website, under your own design and branding.  You set the prices, offer the promotions, and even remix and rebundle content for targeted customer groups.  
  • Robust features -- The goal of a digital publishing software company is to deliver a quality self-service platform with a robust feature set that allows publishers to produce, market, and sell their econtent direct to their audience.  It is not something that has been adapted or retrofitted over time to serve that purpose. For example, Tizra was built from the ground up using digital document best practices and has been continuously expanded over the last five years to offer the features that publishers need to be effective.  These include mobile responsive design, search and discoverability, agile e-commerce, content remixing, detailed analytics, and much more.  An offshore service provider wants to sell you just that -- services -- with each new feature and requirement taking development time and money to implement. 
Are you publisher who feels that digital content is strategic to your business? Do you want to sell your content direct to your audience? Do you want control over the user experience, branding, pricing, and marketing? If the answer is yes, but developing digital publishing platforms is not your core strength, it's time to partner with a company like Tizra.  

Drop us a note if you'd like to learn more.

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