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Ten Reasons Why In-plants Should Offer ePublishing

In-plants are already handling information in printed form. Why not expand the usage of that information to electronic publishing to satisfy your customers’ demands for it?

September 2014 By Tricia Bhattacharya
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Have you noticed the recent transition of in-plant production capabilities? Since mobility has become standard in our day-to-day lives, digital capabilities have interjected into the "lives" of in-plants—and that's a good thing.

At the recent IPMA annual conference, I observed attendees taking notes on iPads and checking their smartphones. It was a testament to how, on a personal level, my colleagues have integrated new technologies into their lives. With the modernization of in-plant production capabilities, in-plants should also expand their services in much the same way with a "full speed ahead" attitude.

According to wearesocial.net, a social media and marketing agency, Internet penetration in the U.S. is at 81 percent and the mobile phone penetration rate is at 101 percent. That means there are more mobile phones than people. The improvements made with Internet speeds and data storage have enhanced the ability to send and receive content via mobile devices.

The greatest threat to in-house production centers is also the greatest opportunity—the disruptive force of digitization. It's a two-fold scenario: communication predominately happens online, and when materials are printed they are often printed digitally, in shorter runs. The opportunity for in-plants is to capture more digital pages and deliver cross-media communications that their clients are requesting. Ultimately, it's not about a print or a digital communication vehicle—it's about print and digital communication vehicles.

In a recent survey conducted by Brigham Young University, 400 students were asked about their print versus digital preferences. In response, 65 percent said they preferred print; 44 percent said they wanted communications in both print and digital forms. Since in-plants already handle printed pieces, it makes sense to expand offerings with complementary services in line with the digital communication trends of today.

One such service is ePublishing, also known as electronic publishing, which includes the digital publication of e-books, EPUBs, digital magazines, and the development of digital libraries and catalogs.

Here are 10 reasons why ePublishing is a great opportunity for in-plants:

  1. Deepens relationships with existing customers and opens doors to new ones. Do you need a reason to talk to the marketing department? Ask them how they plan to communicate with customers through mobile and online platforms.
  2. Enables expansion of services without investment in costly technical resources. There are options that are cost-effective and easy to use. In fact, there is no need to invest in expensive equipment or staffing because there are software solutions that fit into existing workflows.
  3. Enhances the value and lengthens the life of important communications. Create an app to host alumni magazines, newsletters, training manuals and catalogs for easy online access.
  4. Helps meet sustainability goals. Many organizations today are focused on reducing their environmental footprint. Offering ePublishing services is a great way to align the in-plant with green initiatives.
  5. Presents information the way people want to receive it. ePublishing is a perfect complement to print. In-plants are already handling information in printed form, so why not expand the usage of that information to electronic publications as well? People still want print, but they also want information available electronically.
  6. Provides a dynamic experience for recipients. Print and electronic distribution offer distinct advantages. One way to create a dynamic experience is through embedded hyperlinks and videos. Another is the search functionality available within the electronic versions of the documents.
  7. Offers tracking and usage statistics for document owners. Information is the new currency (evident with Google and Facebook). The more information provided to document owners about the usage of their documents, the more valuable you become.
  8. Uses analytics to improve content. Document owners can use data the in-plants provide to understand what content is most valuable to their audience. This information can help drive new print and cross-media campaigns that are targeted at the recipient.
  9. Enables new revenue streams. ePublishing offers in-plants the chance to add new services at a reduced cost or a healthy margin, depending on one's business model.
  10. Makes in-plants more strategically relevant. Organizations are embracing digital, so work with your client to make the journey complete. Keep "new" digital/print business inside so you can continue to be the trusted partner they rely on.

About the Author

Tricia Bhattacharya is currently manager of Global Production Marketing in the Large Enterprise Organization at Xerox. In this role, she is focused on providing solutions for in-plant environments. Her 20+-year career at Xerox has spanned roles from product development to marketing, and she holds several patents for technologies developed while working on high-speed color product innovations. She earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Lafayette College, an ME in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the Simon School at the University of Rochester. She is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Contact her at:

Tricia.Bhattacharya@xerox.com

 

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