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07 August 2016

Publishing workshop Business Reporting in an interview: Key figures for more competitiveness

Book publishers are forced by their business model to bring a variety of products on the basis of superficial market research on the market. They take great risks. It is therefore all the more important for them to be informed about the success at all times and to be able to compare their key figures with those of the competition. For this purpose, KUMAVISION AG and the publishing consultants Heinold, Spiller and Partner 2015 founded the publishing house "Business Reporting". One of the prominent scientific companions of the publishing workshop is Prof. Dr. med. Martin Forster from the University of Media in Stuttgart. In an interview with IT specialist journalist Michael Lemster, Prof. Forster shows that it is particularly helpful for publishers today to jointly define their key figures.

Professor Forster, take a look at the tablet and know what's going on and what's going to happen - a dream or realistic for publishers?

As realistic as any other industry. What you are talking about is that you want to have real-time data about current processes and customer requests in the publishing house. This up-to-date information can immediately show me, as a decision-maker, what goes well and badly in my publishing house. Real-time information that can be evaluated immediately and thus become operational without delay. If, as a legal publisher, I react editorially to a current change in the law, I want to know the performance of the posts quickly - and in the end, everything should be available anytime, anywhere - including mobile ones 

A proper billing and reporting is available in every medium-sized business - why do you need to discuss it with publishers and form a working group?

The publishers are still lagging IT technologically in other industries. Knowing how to manage a company based on key figures - Corporate Performance Management - is still very rare in German publishers.

What makes analytics in publishers so complex - are they the conditions or maybe the heads?

Maybe both. Publishers work differently than other industrial companies. Actually, publishers are producing companies, they produce content. But they produce content on suspicion, eg books. This leads to a very high number of products, which is more comparable to trading companies. So you also have many products in the so-called "Long Tail". In addition, the content is sometimes very durable. As a result, the performance numbers must be tracked over a long period of time. And the ability to distribute content digitally entails a multitude of distribution channels and new business models, which also has an impact on analytics. This is where publishers find it particularly difficult.

Why is reporting so important today that you are personally involved in the publishing house for several years?

Analytics and big data are currently buzzwords, so publishers today are looking very much for reporting issues. At the same time, many publishers do not yet have any technically clearly structured solutions or strong shortcomings in the operational upstream systems such as ERP, CRM, shop or end customer portal. BI systems are only the next step. This is where our conceptual and standardization work pays off.

If you were to formulate a mission in the context of the working group - what would that be?

To develop a best practice approach that allows a publisher to be managed using real-time metrics.

Which types and "weight classes" of publishers is involved in the project?

With book and specialist information publishers, not with publishers, who mainly produce newspapers or public magazines. As far as their size is concerned, they have to be of the maturity level of IT in such a way that they maintain the correspondingly high-performance operational systems.

Who is in it?

dtv, Franckh-Kosmos, Thieme, Ulmer, Klett-Cotta, Beckmann, Gentner and Vincentz.

And which target groups should use the result?

The publishers, which are reflected in detail in the participants of the working group. There are also software manufacturers who want to represent their product portfolio. The final publication also appeals to research, teaching and students.

Where, how and when should the working group reach its goal?

The work will end as soon as the group participants have agreed on a cockpit and will end in a publication. This should appear at the end of 2017. Then cockpits can also be implemented in the publishing software.

In your opinion, what will be the tangible result - a set of tables and graphs, a piece of code or something else?

Ultimately it is code, from the user's point of view it is a schema with associated analytical applications that need to be adapted to the needs of the individual publisher. But the publishers have the certainty that they can already put on a valid template.

How is it in the publishing software - because it finally has to go there?

IT-technically it is an additional layer of the software architecture. The operational upstream systems deliver the data, which is then typically transferred to a BI system where it is also analyzed. Such solutions do not even have to install publishers themselves, but they could also refer to these solutions in a SaaS model.

Is there anything to show - scribbles, dummies, screenshots?

KUMAVISION has generated some analyzes based on Microsoft Power BI that are based on sample data and give an idea of ​​what such analyzes might look like.

KUMAVISION is one of the co-initiators of Werkstatt Verlags-Cockpit - what qualifies KUMAVISION media in particular?

Publishing know-how and Microsoft technology. KUMAVISION has a complete publishing solution based on Dynamics NAV with all media-specific characteristics. That's why KUMAVISION understands the publishers' business and can then provide these analyzes as well.

Does a publisher need the software KUMAVISION medien to use the cockpit?

No. Each publisher could operate a Power BI or an SAP BI application and populate it with data from any operational upstream system.

Under which conditions can other publishers and other service providers use the finished results?

Without any prerequisites. With the publication of the results, we will provide the full knowledge.

Prof. Dr. Martin Foster

The business informer Professor dr. After a long career in the IT industry, Martin Forster was most recently responsible for the publishing solutions at SAP AG. Since 2010, he has been researching and teaching at the Department of Business Application Systems at the Stuttgart Media University. His research areas are application systems, business processes, project management and software development.

Publishing Workshop Business Reporting

The interdisciplinary working group has been coming together since the spring of 2014 on a quarterly basis to develop valid, clearly defined KPIs for corporate performance management. These relate to the areas of products and content, customers and customer relationship management as well as marketing and communication. At the end of the thesis, the conceptual basics for role-based dashboards with tables and graphics for visualization should be available.



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