Darren Ryan
Darren Ryan 27 August 2019

Keep a Head in the Cloud

The innovation that is cloud technology may be the key to vast business growth that the publishing industry is looking for. While publishers seek to be at the forefront of technology's advancement, the truth is, they're falling behind. We look at how the cloud can be positively exploited in the publishing industry.

The introduction of cloud technology has revolutionised how software is accessed. It meant that apps could be hosted remotely and used like a utility. In the same way that you turn on the tap when you need water, you can use an app when you need it. It changed the way we use hardware and software, it changed business models for large and small organisations. 

Software as a Service (SaaS) is something that publishers are familiar with when it comes to their IT infrastructure. The question is whether they are including SaaS as part of their core business growth strategy. It provides opportunities for publishers wishing to strengthen their business and bring greater efficiency on board. 

A custom-built cloud

There is a cloud solution for every aspect of business and for every business niche. Organisations are cherry-picking and combining cloud services to encompass their business requirements, from ERP to digital asset management, rights and royalties to title management. 

How the cloud can help book publishers

  • Cost models

By utilising SaaS for example, publishers can reduce their capital outlay on technology infrastructure, using a paid subscription model instead. Cloud technology also means that systems can be in different locations to users and can therefore be worked on remotely.

  • Speed

Deployment of applications is instantaneous, once it's packaged and ready to go. And it can be done remotely offering greater efficiency throughout the operation for those publishers using apps.

  • Efficiency in the publishing cycle

Cloud computing has radically sped up the publishing cycle, bringing books to the marketing and launch stage so much quicker. While the goal remains to reach the right end consumer with a published work, how it is achieved should be reviewed. Publishers have largely marketed to the book dealers who have then promoted the titles to readers. But with the advent of social media, publishers can have access to their readers directly, which can be used to increase sales through social marketing. This greater efficiency leaves time to work on directly marketing to readers through social channels. 

  • Operational cost and quality

It's no secret that if you want to compete in business, you need three things: 

  • Speed to get your product to market
  • High quality
  • Competitive cost

Cloud technology has made this more viable in the publishing industry. The pool of resources is not limited geographically and the cheapest resources are easily sourced in the form of outsourcing. It is likely though that a maturing process will take place and resources will be brought to local shores again in a quest for higher quality services. The focus on low-cost resourcing will shift with other greater economies.

  • Is an e-book a book or is it an app?

Software tends to be constantly in flux and while it might appear to be 'a thing', there is an element of constant change, making it more of a process. This is boosted by the use of cloud technology. 

In an article titled 'What is a book by any other name?', the author, Roxana Theodorou, says that ebooks are, above all, apps. This idea is something that publishers should be more aware of in order to understand how to enhance their ebooks. There is a tremendous opportunity here, as it is a form of content still in its infancy as far as e-commerce goes.

Cloud technology has made a more collaborative approach to the logistical processes possible. Editing, layout and design, and proof-reading can all be done across regions and time-zones, all on the same document with proper version control. In the past, this was done by creating different documents which all had to be somehow controlled - a cumbersome and time-consuming task. 

Publishers have spent long enough focusing on the cost of technology rather than seeing how to absorb innovation into their organisations and adapt their business models to attract investment. Cloud computing has brought advancement to many industries, allowing for better software development and greater adherence to standards, but publishers have lagged in taking these on.

For more discussions on the future of publishing in the digital age, visit our publisher’s hub. We have articles, videos and guides on the impact of AI, how publishers can generate better revenues, onshore and offshoring advice and lots more.

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