Is Your Company Structure Holding You Back?
The ground is shifting under publishers' feet, and with it, desks go sliding—teams are split up or brought together, workflows change, titles evolve, positions are created and job descriptions mesh as companies seek to facilitate new approaches to information creation, packaging and distribution. If reorganization strategies are not well-planned and articulated, it can leave all concerned struggling to find their feet. Publishing Executive asked for some first-hand perspectives on the challenges of company restructuring, and received some interesting answers.
Change the Start Line
Publishers must think not in terms of whether, but when they should integrate print and digital, says a production executive at a prominent association publisher. "Integrating print and digital shouldn't be a question. A single workflow cuts time and cost, and it allows a more easily orchestrated delivery of content to various channels," he says.
Currently available design and production software should make the transition relatively painless, he says. Three years ago, his organization relocated magazine production out of marketing and into IT, on the theory that magazine creation could be divided into "creation" and "delivery" phases. Production "delivers" the content by exporting documents into print (via PDF files) or digital (via ePub).
Printers can—and should—be able to render assistance in this process, he says. "Printers have started offering digital delivery," he notes. "Ask about their latest gimmicks and data-driven vehicles."
Longer term, "get organized," he says. "A content management system or Web management system helps and makes SEO [search engine optimization] easier and more accurate."
The greatest structural obstacle? "Silos," he says. "Separated Web and print-production departments would have different goals, budgets and bosses. This adds costs and, in a CYA [cover your a*s] world, it slows innovation for one or the other, or both."
Unified departments also makes transitioning more difficult than if a top-down approach were used, but the effort is worth it, he says. "You risk death by committee, but a cross-department task force gives all teams some skin in the game."