Hachette and Others Implement Cloud-Based Systems Solutions, Look for ROI

Hachette Book Group has been implementing a three-year systems transformation plan, updating operations across a wide range of functions in the company, including warehousing fulfillment, e-book file distribution, metadata and marketing and publicity management, according to Hachette chief operating officer Ken Michaels.

Michaels was speaking at the Book Publishing in the Cloud Conference in New York today and was reluctant to share how much return on investment his company’s transformation produced but said that the company was pleased with the value that the solutions have delivered.

“The key has been connecting all of the workflows,” he said.

In addition to managing its own systems transformation, Hachette has leveraged its knowledge and is now providing its systems to its distribution clients.

Other publishers are also implementing new types of systems, many of them cloud-based.

Wiley used cloud services to integrate their permissions processes into a highly automated internal systems subsidiary rights database, according to Alfredo Santana, associate director of global rights operations at Wiley and the executive responsible for the company’s implementation. The 10-month implementation of the technology, the Copyright Clearing Center’s RightsTrack, yielded benefits to Wiley’s customers, allowing for immediate clearance, secure online payment and a streamlined interface for multiple requests.

“We increased revenue 65% in year one. Revenue has grown consistently since we implemented the system three years ago, and the time saved and efficiencies gained have allowed us to reallocate resources to other areas of the business,” Santana said.

Smaller publishers, like Workman Publishing, David C. Cook, and Wayne State University Press, have also been able to see gains implementing cloud-based systems, especially in the areas of title management and permissions, but lack the resources of larger houses. For these publishers, systems that are scalable but affordable are essential.

“Legacy systems integration is something to be cautious of,” said  Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, executive director of digital Publishing at Workman Publishing. According to Fleck-Nisbet, finding a partner that can share industry best-practices and retaining internal systems knowledge throughout the implementation has been essential to the success of their initiatives.

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