Some Excellent Coverage of our Digital Publishing Report

Over at TeleRead, David Rothman has a really fine writeup discussing our digital publishing report. He summarizes some of our key points about asset management and flexibility, but also raises some interesting related issues about DRM and the risks of "publishers as mixmasters."

My thanks to David for his thoughtful response.

Gilbane at Localization World Silicon Valley

Mary Laplante, Senior Analyst, speaks on the topic of Overcoming Language Afterthought Syndrome:

Gilbane’s 2009 research on multilingual content indicates that global companies are making steady progress towards overcoming language afterthought syndrome – a pattern of treating language requirements as secondary considerations within their content strategies and solutions. This presentation delivers insight into how market-leading companies are adopting content globalization strategies, practices, and infrastructures that position language requirements as integral to end-to-end solutions rather than as ancillary post-processes. The session is designed for content and language professionals and managers who need to know how to bring capabilities like automated translation management, terminology management, multilingual multichannel publishing, and global content management into the mainstream. Takeaways include data and case studies that can be used in business cases to move language requirements out of the back room once and for all.

Localization World Silicon Valley, 20-22 October, Santa Clara Convention Center

Enterprise 2.0 is Neither a Crock Nor the Entire Solution

Dennis Howlett has once again started a useful and important debate, this time with his Irregular Enterprise blog post entitled Enterprise 2.0: what a crock. While I am sympathetic to some of the thinking he expressed, I felt the need to address one point Dennis raised and a question he asked.

I very much agree with this statement by Dennis:

"Like it or not, large enterprises – the big name brands – have to work in structures and hierarchies…"

However, I strongly disagree with his related contention ("the Big Lie" as he terms it) that:

"Enterprise 2.0 pre-supposes that you can upend hierarchies for the benefit of all."

Dennis also posed a question that probably echoes what many business leaders are asking:

"In the meantime, can someone explain to me the problem Enterprise 2.0 is trying to solve?"

Below is the comment that I left on Dennis’ blog. It begins to answer the final question he asked and address my disagreement with his contention that Enterprise 2.0 advocates seek to create anarchy. Is my vision for the co-existence of structured and recombinant organizational and work models clear and understandable? Reasonable and viable? If not, I will expand my thoughts in a future post. Please let me know what you think.

Enterprise 2.0 is trying to solve a couple levels of problems.

From a technology standpoint, E2.0 is addressing the failure of existing enterprise systems to provide users with a way to work through exceptions in defined business processes during their execution. E2.0 technology does this by helping the user identify and communicate with those who can help deal with the issue; it also creates a discoverable record of the solution for someone facing a similar issue in the future.

From a organizational and cultural perspective, E2.0 is defining a way of operating for companies that reflects the way work is actually accomplished — by peer-to-peer interaction, not through command and control hierarchy. Contrary to your view, E2.0 does not pre-suppose the destruction of hierarchy. Correctly implemented (philosophy and technology), E2.0 provides management a view of the company that is complementary to the organization chart.

Addendum: See this previous post for more of my perspective on the relationship of structured and ad hoc methods of working.

XML’s Role in Digital Archives

I have a new post over at EMC’s Community site, "Preserving Electronic Public Records: Lessons from the Washington State Digital Archives." This is part of our ongoing series for EMC on the use of ECM and XML in the public sector.

Do you Have an eBook Strategy Yet?

We have been very pleased with the interest in our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook.” We have had hundreds of downloads already, the vast majority of which are senior people in the publishing industry. This tells us that the timing for the research is good and that interest is strong, and we are thinking about what to do next with this topic.

One idea we have thought about is helping publishers think through their eBook strategy. If our research (and other recent research) is correct, many larger publishers are jumping in with both feet, but some larger publishers, many medium-sized, and perhaps most smaller publishers are staying on the sidelines or testing the waters with pilots and low-cost and low-impact tests with third parties. Perhaps these efforts are part of developing a strategy? Perhaps some of you think the market is too nascent?

An eBook strategy would necessarily be multi-faceted, and would include input from sales, marketing, editorial, production, fulfillment, and others with a stake in the process. It would need to be informed by good market data, and with good understanding of what technology and channel partners can truly offer publishers. It would also need to be pragmatic, balancing the capabilities of your organization with a realistic assessment of the market opportunities you have.

We’d like to gauge interest in this kind of offering through the following simple poll. Just one question, and no requirement to log in or register. If you would like to talk in more detail about this idea, please email me with any questions.

CMIS Use Cases

If you’re like me and have been thinking about CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services), but need some use cases to help you conceptualize it better, Laurence Hart has put together a very useful presentation. He welcomes comments.

As usual, Robin Cover has a great list of resources here.

Digital Publishing Visionary Profile: Cengage’s Ken Brooks


Ken Brooks is senior vice president, global production and manufacturing services at Cengage Learning (formerly Thomson Learning) where his responsibilities include the development, production, and manufacturing of textbooks and reference content in print and digital formats across the Academic and Professional Group, Gale, and International divisions of Cengage Learning. Prior to his position at Cengage Learning, Ken was president and founder of publishing Dimensions, a digital content services company focused in the eBook and digital strategy space. Over the course of his career, Ken founded a Philippines-based text conversion company; a public domain publishing imprint; and a distribution-center based print-on-demand operation and has worked in trade, professional, higher education and K-12 publishing sectors. He has held several senior management positions in publishing, including vice president of digital content at Barnes & Noble, vice president of operations, production, and strategic planning at Bantam Doubleday Dell, and vice president of customer operations at Simon & Schuster. Prior to his entry into publishing, Ken was a senior manager in Andersen Consulting’s logistics strategy practice.


This interview is part of our larger study on digital publishing.


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Multilingual Product Content Research: One Analyst’s Perspective

We’ll soon hit the road to talk about the findings revealed in our new research study on Multilingual Product Content: Transforming Traditional Practices Into Global Content Value ChainsWhile working on presentations and abstracts, I found myself needing to be conscious of the distinction between objective and subjective perspectives on the state of content globalization.

As analysts, we try to be rigorously objective when reporting and analyzing research results, using subjective perspective sparingly, with solid justification and disclaimer. We focus on the data we gather and on what it tells us about the state of practice. When we wrapped up the multilingual product content study earlier this summer, Leonor, Karl, and I gave ourselves the luxury of concluding the report with a few paragraphs expressing our own personal opinions on the state of content globalization practices. Before we put on our analyst game face and speak from that objective perspective, we thought it would be useful to share our personal perspectives as context for readers who might attend a Gilbane presentation or webinar this fall.

Here are my thoughts on market readiness, as published in the conclusion of Multilingual Product Content:

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