Monday, April 22, 2019

Global Publishing Software & Services Report - Over 100 Companies


My company, Information Media Partners recently published an updated version of our Publishing Technology Report which identifies over 100 software and services companies supporting global publishers and content owners. We asked some of the recent buyers of this report for some feedback:
 “…the report helped us avoid what may have become a very expensive mistake when we were looking to replace an important set of back office applications which run our business.” – Mike S. IT Director (Scholarly Publisher)
This report sets out some parameters for evaluating which providers you will want to look at as you make your decision to invest in new technology. Technology investment is a significant undertaking for any company regardless of your size or sophistication and our report provides a framework for identifying the best options for your business. We have conducted more than 30 in-depth interviews with the leading providers to help you understand each company's product offering and capabilities.
“Michael’s report helped us save a considerable amount of time in the selection of applicable vendors for our technology project and his concurrent consulting advice helped guide our process. We enjoyed working with him on this project.” Shelly B. Operations Director (Education Publisher)
With resources tight and frequently, expertise in short supply, this report and our consulting knowledge can help you ask the right questions and shorten your evaluation process. Time is money and no one wants to waste time and effort evaluating vendors which are not right for your business.
“In our view the most comprehensive report for software vendors supporting publishing and information companies” – Partner, Private Equity
This software and services market place is under researched and our market map is unique in the way it identifies the primary providers to publishers and content owners. Several private equity firms have purchased this report to support their knowledge and understanding of this vibrant market place.

This year we ranked Fadel (rights/royalties), Klopotek (Title, Editorial, Production) and Silverchair (Content Management) as the best positioned vendors in their segment having conducted over 30 interviews.

The 2019 report is 90 pages and includes a market overview, functional and technical descriptions of the primary software applications and vendors for enterprise resource planning (ERP), title, editorial and production (TEP), contracts, rights and royalties (CRR) and content management (CMS).

We advise that you should purchase this report if you are considering any investment in technology in the coming year and/or if you want to understand the competitive environment for these products.

As an added bonus, if you engage my company (Information Media Partners) for a consulting project in the coming year (not necessarily connected to this report) I will credit back the cost of this report.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Fare Well the Editor? Springer Publishes Machine Generated Book

From the Springer press release:
In close collaboration between Springer Nature and researchers from Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, a state-of-the-art algorithm, the so-called Beta Writer, was developed to select, consume and process relevant publications in this field from Springer Nature’s content platform SpringerLink. Based on this peer-reviewed and published content, the Beta Writer uses a similarity-based clustering routine to arrange the source documents into coherent chapters and sections. It then creates succinct summaries of the articles. The extracted quotes are referenced by hyperlinks which allow readers to further explore the original source documents. Automatically created introductions, table of contents and references facilitate the orientation within the book.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

BISG Webinar: Technology Spending in the Publishing Industry

I did a webinar today for the BISG and below are the slides from that presentation.

BISG Webinar: Technology Spending in Publishing from Michael Cairns

Make sure you use the discount code in the deck
Also, I did a q/a recently and this is an edited transcript of that conversation:

Q: Tell us a little bit about your report: What made you decide you wanted to do this and what was your objective?

A: Last year I completed a similar report (although the 2019 version is more detailed and comprehensive) and received more positive feedback than I expected.  As a result, I decided to expand it and devote more time to interviewing as many of the companies profiled as I could.   Initially, for the 2018 report, I was motivated partly by my experience raising capital as CEO of Ingenta.  I needed comparative data on market competitors but there was no market research to be found.  There is also no research available on levels of technology spending in publishing which was (and remains) a point of frustration for me.

My objective was partially personal and professional-- I want to be seen as an expert in this area.  A lot of money is being spent on technology by publishers and I felt, given my background, that I had something to offer companies looking to invest in new technology solutions.  I had also never undertaken a market research project on my own before and tried to sell it.  So that part was an experiment, and it turned out well.  As I said, more industry insiders reacted favorably than I expected.  As part of this report, I created a market map of all the software players and I think many were excited to see all these companies – over 100 – depicted graphically in my diagram.

Q: What do you think are the biggest issues currently facing the companies you have profiled?

A: Well, they’re probably different for each-- of course, every company has its own view. But I think there are universal challenges facing most—if not all—of the companies serving this market.
The first is that technology has been undergoing significant change over the last 5-10 years or so: Locally-installed software is giving way to hosted and subscription-based business models. Code is now built on the basis of open architecture so that applications can be woven together and data and services exchanged from machine to machine.   Publishing and media are generally conservative businesses and-- generally speaking--companies serving this segment are by no means leaders in addressing these changes.  So most, if not all, of the vendors in my report are going through some type of technology rearchitecting, and this can be perilous if not managed well.  The happy thing is that, because the pace of change in publishing is slow, these companies can be fairly methodical about their approach.  For example, I see companies like Fadel, Klopotek and Silverchair executing well through this transition.

In my report, I tried to depict this technology evolution in what II call my ‘velocity chart’--look at it and you will see most companies at an inflection point at the small end of a funnel.  As they invest in new architectures, they begin to quickly move out of this funnel and put greater distance between themselves and companies that have not invested.   Thus, companies investing in technology achieve a better competitive position against their rivals who do not invest.   Some of the laggards will get left behind, I believe.  (I’m not naming names here but I do in the report).

On the revenue side, the move to subscription models must be managed carefully since, historically, software companies would receive large cash payments upfront for perpetual licenses and this cash helped fund the software implementation process.  Those days are gone, replaced by smaller monthly subscription fees. In the short term this negatively impacts cash flow but, over time, can represent a significant revenue improvement.   The hosting model is also important here because customers are no longer obliged to manage their own local environments:  This will not only save money but deliver better technical and more flexible environments

The last issue is universal in this space and that is the relatively small size of the companies.  Most are less than $15MM in revenue, though there are one or two closer to $20MM    (CMS/hosting companies Atypon and Highwire are considered larger.)  These industry providers retain the benefits of delivering very tailored products to publishers which precisely fit their needs.  On this basis, the companies can compete very well against far larger software companies such as SAP.   Where size is a limitation as in the provision of ‘on-call’ expert resources and project teams for large-scale implementations, especially if the company has been lucky enough to win multiple contracts at the same time.  These smaller companies don’t have the financial strength of the medium- and larger- sized companies.  One other thing related to this point: Most of these players do not work with integrators (third parties which can implement their software) so the only implementation option for customers is the software developer.  In my opinion that is a problem that hampers business growth.

Q: Who are the buyers of your report?

A: It has been a mix.  I anticipated when I began the project that most buyers would be companies  anticipating an investment in new technology but I’d say those have been a small sub-set of buyers.  And that really surprised me because reading my report could save them a lot of upfront time in deciding which companies to speak to and consider in the evaluation process.  I’ve seen the vendors themselves and some investment companies buy the report--for them, it’s a good way to get to know more about the competitive market.  There’s a lot of information in the report (it's over 90 pages!) but 
I think prospective buyers get “sticker shock” at the $1,500 price tag--though I do offer some free consulting time with a report purchase.  I do have a discount code: THANKS2019 which is available now.

Q: Presumably you have clients who make use of the report and do want advice on the process of selecting a technology provider. What advice do you give them?

A: Naturally, all situations are different. But first off, it's important to understand the circumstances in which the company finds itself.  For example, what is driving the business to take the decision to replace their ERP or CMS?  One company which recently declared bankruptcy had, only a few years ago, replaced all of their financial systems with a very expensive Oracle solution.  Their motivation was that the older solution couldn’t support the new business models and strategy the company wanted to execute.  But, hindsight being 20/20, it was poor judgement to engage this costly project before there was any indication the new strategies would work.  Now, with the business in bankruptcy, the expensive system supports much less revenue than the resilient legacy solution would have had no problem supporting.   Proceed with caution: These projects are expensive, disruptive and rarely go smoothly. Your business has to be tough and well managed to execute effectively.  That is especially true if your business is less than $50MM in annual revenue.

Another thing I would point out is that it is not necessary to do a full RFI/RFP process.  Compiling a set of high-level requirements and bringing in three or four vendors can save time and money-- and you will learn a lot in the process.   Additionally, if you have someone like me to help navigate this process (generally without a vote on final selection) it will go a lot more smoothly.
The last thing I’d mention is that you should have a good idea of your current technical environment, architecture and costs.  These new systems will likely need to interface with other existing systems (some of which will also be replaced) and mapping out all these intersections in advance is an important requirement.  Data conversion and interface work is likely to be one of your project's biggest time and cost demands--starting early to understand the scope of these activities is time well spent.

Q: What else would you like publishers to know?

A: I think my bias is that I’d rather see publishers spend technology dollars on product development and ‘front office’ applications which directly support revenue generation or growth.  Minimize spending on supporting applications for accounting, quote/order to cash, rights and royalties and title management and editorial solutions. Matching cost effectiveness with process efficiencies should be a primary consideration when looking at these solutions.  If you have $100 to spend on technology, don’t spend $95 on business applications—give yourself the flexibility to spend more on supporting revenue growth, new products and customer development.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Blockchain for Publishers: Workflow, Content Management, Copyright

Last year I pulled together a post discussing how I thought blockchain could (and was) be used within the publishing industry.  (Publishing in the Age of Blockchain).
Lost in the often exuberant hyperbole surrounding the potential of blockchain is the fact that blockchain is a ‘foundational’ technology similar to the internet protocol (TCP/IP) which governs all our web activities today.  Thus, blockchain is still in its infancy with respect to the applications which will eventually be built on top of it.  Setting your bitcoins aside, it is useful to think of block chain today as TCP/IP, circa 1980, and to moderate expectations accordingly.   And while bitcoin gets much of the attention, there is more to the story.
There is definitely still excitement about blockchain but my impression is less about the hype and more about actually doing stuff that works.  There are many examples similar to the following initiative undertaken in Germany by the Content Blockchain Project.  These guys just won a prestigious award for innovation from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and describe themselves as follows:

The Content Blockchain Project is initiating an open and decentralized blockchain ecosystem dedicated to media content that is operated and owned by the industry itself.
It is the goal of the initiative to create a decentralized, global, digital infrastructure for the creative community to discover, register, navigate, offer, sell and license digital media content and otherwise exchange value over the network.  The project addresses authors, photographers, journalists, musicians, artists, bloggers, publishers, content distributors, and all kinds of media companies, startups and creatives around the globe.  
In the notice of the award, the jury commented,
The Content Blockchain is an open and decentralized ecosystem to manage, identify, and interact with digital content and user licenses. A core element is the International Standard Content Code, which is comparable to traditional identifiers from the media world such as ISBN, ISSN or ISRC is. The ISCC can be generated from the digital content such as images, text or videos free of charge and by anyone with the help of easy-to-use applications. The identifiers and related machine-readable license terms can be registered on a publicly accessible blockchain network.
This is a very interesting initiative and as I said last year the use of blockchain with the identification and management of intellectual works looks like a very viable business case.   After my post last year, I was approached by several organizations in the news and image management area seeking more discussion about how some of these initiatives could help support their business objectives.  By way of example, the Associated Press announced they were working with Civil to help protect their content from misuse.

Here are some companies which I either missed in my list last year (or are new):

Workflow Management, Collaboration:

Orvium:  The first decentralized social platform for scientific collaboration, funding and publications management based on Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.  (Video).  Orvium is the vision of a team of engineers, scientists and blockchain experts drawn from CERN, NASA, Amazon, Oracle, Bitcoin Suisse, and others renowned institutions
  • Open and Collaborative Science via:
    • Social and Collaborative Platform:
    • Science has no borders: share results and data, communicate and collaborate with scientists all over the planet
  • Transparent Manuscript Tracking System:
    • A new generation of Manuscript Tracking System fully transparent using Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence
  • Decentralized Funding Ecosystem
    • Cost effective and decentralized platform to manage science funding, journals and theirs life-cycles
Blockchain for Peer Review:

Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis Group, Cambridge University Press, Welcome Trust and Karger have joined a pilot project to test blockchain technologies applications to peer review.

This initiative aims to open up the blackbox of the peer review process. They see the following problems:
  • Increasing difficulty in finding and identifying suitable and available reviewers due to the growth in research outputs, including rapid growth from emerging economies
  • Lack of reviewer recognition
  • Fraud and manipulation
  • Lack of portability of review
  • Lack of transparency and decreasing trust in this process
Artifacts.Ai provides a platform enabling all transactions and linkages across all research artifacts.  Published or pre-published.  In any form, not just articles.  Through its unique blockchain engine, designed specifically for academic and scientific research, it leverages the power of the community, while providing the authority, rigor, and validity that community sites and standard archives can’t provide.  It is unconstrained while delivering a ledger of record.

The Knowbella Platform is a researcher community for open source IP projects. The Scientists can start with existing IP and develop it into new directions and applications. The Platform will provide researchers IP, access to grant funding and lab equipment, manuscript development tools, preprint server, career and gig opportunities, and AnthroTokens rewards for collaborating. In turn, researchers can drive new discoveries, innovations, and their careers.
The IP remains open under a Creative Commons (CC) 4.0 licensing model and may be developed further. Further developed IP under the CC requires all developments to be freely provided to all researchers on the Platform. Anyone is free to commercialize the advancements.

Makeelevator is a blockchain-based protocol for communicating computational workflows and helps increase the speed, reproducibility, and accessibility of computational workflows.  (Early - no link).

Pluto Networks utilizes the properties of blockchain to manage a transparent system to record research activities and facilitate fair transactions between academics. While keeping the transparency and fairness of the whole system, privacy and copyrights are ensured when necessary. Blockchain also enables a reasonable compensating mechanism for academic activities, either in economic values or in academic reputation, or both (Video).

Decentralized Science:  Through disruptive distributed technologies such as Blockchain, we both enable decentralization and relieve the pains of traditional publication processes. This is accomplished by providing a reputation system of peer reviewers that will improve quality and ensure faster reviews and distribution, helping editors, reviewers and authors.

Eureka is a scientific review and rating platform fueled by the Eureka token from Eureka Blockchain Solutions GmbH. Blockchain has the capacity to open science and make research findings immutable, transparent and decentralized. Eureka revolutionizes the scientific publishing and reviewing process by making it more efficient and fair using the Eureka token to compensate all parties involved.

The products are process tools aimed specifically at researchers in the early phase of a new project. They are especially suitable for interdisciplinary projects where the combination of knowledge from across a range of research fields will be vital to the project’s success.  The team is undertaking a new project (Project Aiur) to combine blockchain and artificial intelligence in support of scholarly workflow.


    EINSTEINIUM will enable the global community to efficiently and securely support scientific research, charitable and political causes, as well as education and IT.

    Scienceroot:  will create an ecosystem where anyone in the scientific community around the globe has the ability to gather funding, interact, discuss research ideas, collaborate and in the end, publish their work through a more efficient, intuitive and transparent platform.  Scienceroot will create their own cryptocurrency, Science Token, which can be exchanged instantly, regardless of the user’s location. The founders expect this will make it easier for both the global scientific and non-scientific community to get directly involved in promoting science by investing their money in a worthy cause. 

    DEIP provides a common infrastructure that enables automate decision-making, reduce costs and achieves best use of funds by extracting valuable insights from grant-related data.  DEIP is not just blockchain, it is a comprehensive infrastructure that includes off-chain data cluster, user interface framework – everything needed for the fast and efficient implementation of our solutions into any enterprise.

    Intellectual & Content Management:

    Lumina Datamatics is launching a blockchain based solution to manage intellectual property rights and transactions named RPRightsChain (RPRC).  According to the company using RRPC, authors, editors, and designers can now quickly and easily approve their image, send their rights request with one click and receive their licensing grant all without leaving the RRC platform.

    Scenarex is a Montreal-based start-up founded in 2015, born out of a passion for literature and technology. Using blockchain technology, our goal is to create flexible, user-friendly, non-restrictive solutions that will benefit the evolution and development of the publishing industry.
    Once users have created their account on our Bookchain® web platform, they can start uploading their digital files and fill out the parameters of the smart contract, which contains all the settings for the publishing and distribution of the ebook, including royalty distribution, price, etc. Each smart contract is powered by the blockchain and can be assigned to several files.  Once the ebook is attached to a smart contract, it’s ready to be published on the Bookchain® catalogue

    Publica (The Book ICO)

    A Book ICO allows authors to pre-sell copies of their upcoming works as readable tokens.  By doing so, authors are able to activate and reward their early supporters, receive the funds needed to finish their works, and tap into the power of the blockchain.

    Decent is designed as an open source platform that is powered by blockchain technology. Since it is decentralized, users can buy, sell, and share content without any manipulation or pay fees to middlemen.  (Youtube)

    Katalysis is on a mission to democratize the value of online content - with blockchain technology and have deployed 'feather' which is a Workpress plugin to support the correct payment and attribution of content owners.
    • Katalysis develops software based on smart contract blockchain technology aimed to help the publishing industry with the transition from off- to online. Katalysis’ product, Katalysis DecPub (Katalysis Decentralized Publishing), is the first blockchain based implementation used in the publishing industry in the Netherlands.
    Mediachain is a blockchain data solution for connecting applications to media and information about it. Mediachain is building an open, universal media library.

    Verisart enables the creation of secure digital certificates for art and collectibles and helps bind them to detailed provenance records.

    Archangel is a UK based initiative to ensure the long-term sustainability of digital archives though the design, development and trialing of transformational new distributed ledger technology to promote accessibility and ensure integrity of content, whilst maximizing its impact through novel business models for commodification and open access.  Archangel is a 18 month socio-technical feasibility study co-creating and evaluating a novel prototype DLT service with end-users to determine how archival practices, sustainable models and public attitudes could evolve in the presence of a trusted decentralized technology to prove content integrity and ensure open access to digital public archives

    Tangentially related, Woolf University aims to be the first blockchain based university.  Woolf will make it possible for any qualified academic to launch an accredited degree course and teach it. Woolf was started by academic colleagues seeking to provide students anywhere in the world with a one-to-one education in the Oxford tradition of personal tutorials.

    Read last years post for additional companies and initiatives.

    Michael Cairns is a business strategy and digital transformation consultant.  His executive roles include positions with brand name publishing companies such as Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer, RR Bowker, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Berlitz International.  Michael is open to consulting and full time c-level opportunities.  He can be reached at

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    Market Research Survey of ERP and CMS Software for Publishers - 2019


    AVAILABLE NOW  This comprehensive report identifies over 100 software and services providers and reviews in detail more than 30 providers serving publishers of all types and sizes. In this report, we list the leading providers of financial & accounting, rights, contracts and royalties, product information, editorial and production management and content management solutions.

    If you are considering acquiring new software to manage key aspects of your business, it will give you specific and actionable information that will save you time and effort in your selection process (and may even prevent a costly mistake).  Vendors will also benefit from our discussion of the current market competitors' strengths and weaknesses as well as developments in these sectors.

    Michael Cairns
    Chief Executive Officer
    Report Analyst & Industry Subject Matter Expert
    Ex-CEO of Ingenta, RR Bowker & Berlitz
    C-level consultant with PWC, Cengage, John Wiley,
    Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer, OCLC and others.

    Use this link to purchase the report:  PURCHASE 2019 Report  And see a full list of profiled companies.

    Included in the report:

    Market map of ERP, Title management, editorial and production and contract rights and royalties software companies.  Companies profiled in this report included: AdvantageCS, Klopotek, Virtusales, FADEL, Filmtrack and many others.
    Market map of digital asset management, digital asset distribution, content analytics, copyright and IP management software and services companies.


    About Information Media Partners:  For more than 20 years, our company has provided strategy and operational improvement advice for professional, academic and educational publishing companies operating globally.  Our clients include established businesses, start-ups and investment companies.  We conduct consulting engagements, fulfill interim executive roles and provide board advisory services at the C-level.  For more information, please visit our website: (

    Thursday, March 14, 2019

    A Stab in the Dark - A New York Story

    There’s a particular type of grime that accumulates on the soles of your slippers at Kings County Hospital.  It’s black with a matted sheen-- no doubt from the accumulated grease and grunge covering the hallways and wards of this large metro hospital.   You can’t really see this dirt on the floor but, when you carefully lift up your legs as you fall back into bed, you can see it on the bottom of your slippers.  It’s disgusting.   I thought they gave me the slippers to keep my toes warm but it was really to keep them clean.

    The hospital ward is filled to capacity. Starting at around 6:30 in the morning, four or five TVs click on and compete in a multinational mash-up of languages and programming. One is a ‘house’ television located so high up on a wall it’s impossible to see clearly – and no one seems able to change the channel anyway.  The din continues all day.
    I’m flanked by two new-found friends, but we have nothing in common except violence.  I am clearly an outsider in this ward.   The guy on my left is in his mid-twenties, a little younger than I.  He’s here for a minor gunshot wound-- if there is such a thing – sustained when he was mugged for “a quarter and a subway token.”  We were together in Kings County for five days, but I never saw anyone visit him.

    The guy to my right is slightly more gregarious. I never found out why he was in the hospital but he keeps telling anyone who will listen that he’s convinced he has HIV.  There doesn’t appear to be any reason to believe it—it’s the eighties and the doctors and nurses treat him no differently than anyone else.   We have some curious conversations over the course of my week-long stay but none I remember clearly.  One occasion I do remember: He has the curtain around his bed drawn—possibly because I am attended by an animated nurse telling me a story.  In her excitement, she waves her arms around and hits my neighbor through the curtain right across the bridge of his nose. We hear a muted “ouch”.   It’s like a scene from the movie Airplane!

    It’s relatively rare in life to be completely transported outside your normal, predictable existence.  It happens when you travel to countries where you are a true outsider, and that’s what makes travel fun.   But to be transported to a completely different world just miles from your own home is more than disconcerting—it’s scary, confusing and, in my case, very depressing.   When I was brought up to this ward at 4 am on a Saturday morning, I was still in Brooklyn but it was a foreign country: There was a gurney parked near the door flanked by cops. On it was a patient handcuffed to the side rails. I started to refer to this as the prison hospital.

    The day before had been the end of my first week of work at Macmillan, Inc.--March 17, 1989.  It wasn’t late--around 9pm--and I was almost home.  Someone grabbed me from behind, stole my briefcase and stabbed me in the leg.  He did it deliberately – he stepped in closer to me, reached around and knifed my quad through my coat.  He had no need to do this whatsoever.   I’d been in New York since late 1988, sleeping on a friend’s couch and looking for a job but I’d finally landed a great position and had moved in to this apartment three weeks earlier.   Direct deposit hadn’t yet been set up and my first week’s paycheck was in my wallet--now gone.  But that was the least of my worries: I managed to make it to my apartment building and walk up the steps, but collapsed in the lobby as my blood pressure dropped like a rock.  Before blacking out, I had time to tell the super to call an ambulance. When he asked why, I just looked down and we both watched my blood pool around my shoes.    I recall very little else until I woke up in the ER later that night.  I have a sketchy recollection of the EMS crew trying to wake me up in the ambulance but, other than that, nothing. Until I awakened to find myself in a large room with more than 30 gurneys haphazardly pressed together.

    By this time it was around 11 pm on a Friday night in an emergency room in Brooklyn—what I suspect is “show time.”   In the room near me, one large muscular victim was attended by two overly made-up ladies - one his wife, the other his girlfriend – who spent the time arguing with each other and tending to the stricken guy.  I later learned that one of these ladies had aggressively inserted a steak knife into the guy’s chest. I never worked out which one was the perp.   But with all of the apologizing going on, I actually think he was enjoying the attention.

    On another gurney, accompanied by his wife, was a rotund gent who kept moaning “I’m having a heart attack” over and over again.  Occasionally, a nurse came in and disdainfully told him “relax, you’re not having a heart attack”.  Other patients (myself included) were getting tired of this.  

    Around 1 am, I was bandaged up and more than ready to get out of the ER. A friend of mine had been able to make it to the hospital so I was cleared for discharge.  Still very light-headed, I knew I wasn’t right but they let me go.  As we walked down the hall to the exit, my friend saw I was bleeding down my leg.  Later, it transpired that the knife had nicked a blood vessel, which was also why my blood pressure never returned to normal.   But they were going to let me out.  Back I went to the holding pen where Mr. I’m-Having-a-Heart-Attack was still going strong. 

    The doctors decided they had to admit me but the hospital was so busy there were no beds.  Which is why it wasn’t until 4 am that I made it to the ward.  I often wonder what happened to the person who vacated that bed in the middle of the night.  Through the central door, the ward extended to the left and right; it was entirely dark except for a single beam of light focused on the prisoner cuffed to the gurney, the two cops keeping watch over him in the night.  It was like the baby Jesus in the manger . . . only different.

    In addition to my other troubles, I had the misfortune to arrive in Kings Country on a Friday: It was determined I’d need a minor operation to fix the blood vessel (at first they thought it would “fix itself”) but there were no surgeons available until Monday.   The weekend came and went. Monday came and went. My slippers got blacker and blacker. But the surgeon finally performed the fix on Tuesday.   By this time my parents had flown in from the UK and, boy, were they surprised.  The only part of Brooklyn they had ever seen flashed by on the way in from JFK.  

    I didn’t eat the entire time I was in the hospital.  On Saturday, a nurse came by with dinner--the whole offering was an unappetizing shade of brown.  The tray, the food, the plates.  It looked horrible.  I declined and, for some inexplicable reason, the nurse said “I’ll put it over here in case you want it later.”  She popped the entire tray full of food in the drawer of the nightstand.  On Tuesday, another nurse found it and wondered what the hell it was doing in there.   By then, it just looked like a brown sculpture.

    Was I happy to get out of there! Violence in NY in the late 1980s was far more common than it is today but, even then, it didn’t seem as if it could possibly affect a white, middle-class, budding corporate exec.  There was a sense of unreality about the whole experience, in spite of all the very real, shocking things that happened.  My life jolted out of the norm but, within a few weeks of the event, the impact began to dissipate.   I found it interesting that my parents heard stories from their friends about similar things happening to their kids.  None as extreme as my version, but the casual crime and violence was very prevalent at the time.  What I recall most is the arbitrariness of the violence: The guy next to me robbed for a quarter and a subway token . . . stuck in the hospital for weeks.

    As I had started at Macmillan just that week I had no health insurance.  Someone I knew mentioned an agency called the Crime Victims Review Board which would reimburse victims for lost wages, costs and bills.  This turned out to be such a useful resource: My hospital bed cost $825 per day and I was in there for five days.  The bill for the ambulance arrived by mail before I was even discharged.  But Crime Victims paid for all of it.
    After getting out of Kings County, I spent the next five days in a suite at the Barclay Intercontinental (my father’s employer) so it kind of evened out.   I had landed the job at Macmillan with the help of a classmate from Georgetown who was already working there.   There was a developing relationship and we had been planning to have brunch on the Sunday following the incident.  She was unaware of what had happened and had been leaving increasingly obnoxious messages on my answer phone when I didn’t return her calls.   That turned out okay though.  I remind her occasionally things could have been worse.   She edits my stuff now.  Not a lot of people know this story.  30 years ago.

    Harvard Business Publishing Partners with Degreed

    From their press release and interesting announcement from Harvard Business Publishing.
    Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning and Degreed today announced a partnership to help organizations address their most critical talent development and skill gaps through a personalized, learner-driven solution. The next release of Harvard ManageMentor® Spark™ brings together world-class leadership and management expertise with an industry-leading learning platform to help organizations foster a culture of continuous workforce learning. Harvard ManageMentor Spark provides employees with a personalized, learner-driven experience that allows them to explore their interests and develop their skills to keep pace with the ever-changing business world.
     Harvard also has a blog post discussing the fundamentals of personalized learning as they relate to this announcement.  Post.

    Readers may also recall my post on continuous and life long learning from late last year:
    Three macro-economic changes facing traditional publishers will help open up a market of 200 million potential students far beyond their existing markets.  Expanding their reach beyond college level students to employer-based education, certification and life long learning programs relies on existing competencies but also presents significant operational and strategic challenges.  The rewards will be considerable.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2019

    Report: Tech Giants Should Release Customer Data

    From the FT, reporting on a report published by the UK Government on internet competition.
    Professor Furman said: “The focus should be doing what we can to increase competition, not to punish incumbents, but make it easier for new companies to enter the market.” “This is a report for the UK and the option of breaking up Google, for example, is not a policy option for the UK,” he added, stressing that at this stage the emphasis should be on changing the behaviour of tech giants. The central suggestion in the report is to force companies to release their stranglehold on data, which enhances their ability to develop artificial intelligence and prevents start-ups competing for business on a level playing field. The data held was often more valuable to tech companies than the services provided free to customers and the lack of competition allowed tech giants to avoid both paying users for their data and taking adequate steps to keep it secure.
    Here is a link to the 150 page report:

    From the exec summary: 
    We believe the standard tools of competition policy, evaluating whether mergers can proceed and whether antitrust action is warranted to remedy abuses by companies, can play a role in helping to promote competition and the associated better outcomes for consumers and innovation. To do so, competition policy will need to be updated to address the novel challenges posed by the digital economy. Some of these updates can happen within current powers, but legal changes are important to ensure that this job can be done effectively.The biggest gains, however, will come from going beyond these tools to focus on policies that actively promote competition, foster entry by new competitors, and benefit consumers. This will entail a code of conduct for the most significant digital platforms, measures to promote data mobility and systems with open standards, and expanding data openness. By working with businesses and other stakeholders to set up predictable rules in advance, this can create a regime that allows competition and innovation to thrive.

    Sunday, February 24, 2019

    Annual Publishing Technology Report 2019: A Review of ERP & CMS Software Built for Publishers Download

    Industry Leading Software Vendors Reviewed in this Technology Report. Available for Download Now

    You should buy this report if you need insight in to the market and the primary competitors, you are an investor looking for new client relationships and MOST IMPORTANTLY if you are a publisher looking to invest in new and/or replacement solutions to support your business.

    This report is published on February 25th and we are offering a pre-pub purchase discount price of $995.  This price will go up to the full price of $1500.00 on March 8th.  The 2019 report is more comprehensive than the 2018 report and offers more detailed insight into the companies and products reviewed.  Similar to the 2018 report, we cover software providers offering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications such as Product Data Management, Editorial and Production Planning, Order to Cash and Contracts Rights and Royalties and we cover Content Management Systems (CMS) which provide content hosting, distribution, ecommerce and access and entitlement solutions.  We also contribute analysis on the companies profiled and trends in the industry.

    Please use this link to purchase the report:  PURCHASE NOW 2019 Report

    In this 90 page report, we have identified over 100 software companies in our market map which cover segments including ERP, CMS, Title Management, Contract Rights and Royalties, Editorial Services, Membership Management, Digital Asset Management, Digital Asset Distribution, Intellectual Property Management and Content Analytics.


    In this report we also discuss the technology the vendors actually use and the investments they are making to improve their platforms - particularly in the area of SaaS and API development.  As a buyer of these solutions it is important that there is an awareness and appreciation of how 'future proof' are these applications.

    The following companies participated in our interview cycle:

    Aries Systems
    Advantage Computer Systems
    Media Services Group/Newscycle

    Schilling A/S
    Typefi Systems

    Related recent posts on this topic:
    News Ticker for Publishing Technology Companies

    Tracking the Technical Velocity of Publishing Software - Looking at how software companies are investing in new technology

    Publishing Market Map 2019