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Digitalization done right: 7 important publishing industry trends

Matthias Kraus

Created on 20. December 2023

Man with a laptop in his hand showing digital documents
Table of contents

Right now, the publishing industry is being driven by two major topics: Using digitalization to boost efficiency and sustainability, and buckling down on future-proofing efforts to keep pace with the industry’s ongoing evolution. The business world has been adjusting and realigning with change for some time now, presenting publishers with challenges on virtually every level. That makes it even more critical to sharpen the focus, differentiate between genuine trends and passing fads, and leverage effective tools.

Matthias Kraus, CEO Xpublisher, takes a look at some of today’s key issues with a focus on IT usage among media companies. Xpublisher, the cloud-based online editorial system, delivers an automated, end-to-end publishing process (best of suite) – from content creation and digital asset management to publishing on digital and analog channels. The multichannel publishing software was reengineered in the PROCECO ecosystem based within the Fabasoft Cloud. It features highly efficient workflows that are also certifiably secure.

In dialogue with our customers, we have identified a number of publishing industry trends that are proving to be especially relevant:

 

Trend 1: A focus on innovation and a multichannel approach


The belated digital transformation in publishing and the economic decline the industry is experiencing as a result are causing media companies to take drastic steps – including large-scale job cuts. This illustrates how vital it is to adopt new, and specifically digital, business models as a way to safeguard sales and future growth. And that includes a focus on innovative online products and multichannel publishing. Publishing on a broad scale offers the advantage of visibility and availability, while at the same time making it economically viable to utilize content in multiple ways.

 

Trend 2: Software as a service (SaaS) outpaces the on-premises model


Cloud services have long provided a convenient way to store and share data, eclipsing the traditional on-premises model – and with good reason. Among its many compelling advantages, SaaS delivers immediate availability along with a dramatically lower investment risk when compared with on-premises offerings. What’s more, SaaS has significantly lower IT capacity demands, if any, both in terms of personnel and infrastructure. Online connectivity simplifies IT processes and facilitates remote working, making cloud-based software products the state of the art.


Trend 3: The cloud delivers data security


When companies move their workflows and their data to the Internet, their top concern has to be information security. To be sure, the heart of every publisher’s business is its original content, which has to be protected by certifiably secure publishing and data management systems to prevent data leaks, cyberattacks, and content abuse. 
Companies located or operating in Europe need to use servers within the EU, ideally in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, in order to comply with Europe’s stringent data security regulations and guidelines.


Trend 4: “Best of suite” eclipses “best of breed”


Compared with stand-alone solutions (the best-of-breed approach), an all-in-one solution for managing a publishing company’s entire IT stack (best-of-suite approach) is the better choice, both financially and in terms of software architecture. In the long term, best-of-suite tools like Xpublisher generate considerable savings in time and costs thanks to their seamless data exchange, minimal maintenance, and well governed user access and permissions management.

Trend 5: Sustainable software


Digital products were long considered to be sustainable in their own right thanks to the fact that they consume fewer material resources; but as demand rose and servers expanded, the focus shifted increasingly to the amount of power that data centers consume. As a result, various methods have been developed to make them more environmentally friendly. One example is being set by the Fabasoft Group, which Xpublisher has been part of since 2019. Fabasoft operates its European data centers using renewable energy and is committed to minimizing its ecological footprint across the board. This is particularly valuable for businesses affected by the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – LkSG), which requires companies to provide evidence of compliance with ESG measures throughout their supply chain (for more information on this topic, please visit: The new EU Supply Chain Law: What it covers and what it means for publishers and associations.


Trend 6: Digital accessibility


Ensuring barrier-free accessibility for software and making PDF documents available for all users is becoming increasingly important in the context of inclusion and social equity. Many public institutions are already legally obliged to do so, but companies in the free economy are also required to make their documents available for every user (you can find further information on this topic here: Barrier-free software: guidelines & service features in detail). With leading-edge multichannel publishing software like Xpublisher, all users have access to the same features and information, thanks to its barrier-free user interface. In turn, they can create documents that can also be used by people with disabilities.


Trend 7: Process automation


Whether it’s the autoresponder, automatic order confirmation, or text generation – users have become so accustomed to the many automated processes that they scarcely consider the enormous amount of time and effort it would take to do these things manually. That’s a good place for publishers to begin assessing their workflows in terms of efficiency and options for automation. To this end, Xpublisher features an integrated workflow engine that ensures sustainable end-to-end efficiency for even the most complex workflows –- with digitalized processes, clear lines of responsibility, and traceable status diagrams.


The bottom line


It’s impossible to ignore the current shift toward digital transformation. Publishers need to develop new, digital business models, while also injecting a much needed boost to in-house operations. This all-out transformation poses plenty of challenges, but the rewards that come with it go beyond financial viability: Studies have demonstrated that simplified processes and efficient software translate directly into dramatic improvements in employee satisfaction thanks to reduced error rates and additional freed-up time. Making the switch to automated publishing systems like Xpublisher really pays off – both in terms of optimizing internal processes as well as for the publisher’s in-house products.