David WorlockValentina KalkMax GabrielDigital transformation is not a destination. It is a journey. And heading down the road to digital transformation can certainly feel like traveling without a guide or a map.

By 2020, Gartner estimates, three out of four businesses will be digital or have digital business transformations underway. However, only 30% of those efforts will prove successful. For a fix on the publishing industry’s latest digital transformation location, Ixxus, a subsidiary of Copyright Clearance Center, recently commissioned Imbue Partners to undertake a survey of leading publishers in the UK and around the world.

Executives interviewed for the Imbue report conceded the phrase “digital transformation in the publishing industry” is both aspirational and nebulous. They are experiencing some confusion and frustration at the complexity of the journey and the perceived rate of change. Overall, the good news is that the Publishing industry has a vision and a plan for the digital transformation journey. Panelist Max Gabriel, Chief Technology Officer, Taylor & Francis Group, noted that the most striking transformation is the shift from a product focus to a customer focus.

“When you look at publishing, production – how we produce content – used to influence consumption. We produced books, and that’s what the consumers read. We produced journals, too. So, the format and the production influenced the consumption behavior for decades,” he told CCC’s Chris Kenneally at a recent London Book Fair discussion.

“Now, how people consume content is putting pressure on the production process, and our distribution process,” Gabriel said. “The fundamental issues for T & F, as well as broadly for other publishers, are how do you make your content discoverable, liberate it out of the formats that we think used to work, and then make it valuable to the customer.”

Max Gabriel joined Taylor & Francis Group as Chief Technology Officer in 2015. In this role, he is responsible for technology strategy, delivery and operations for the group. Prior to joining Taylor & Francis, Max was CTO of Pearson India and Africa where he was responsible for digital transformation of these markets and successfully launched Pearson’s first tablet based learning product in India. Before joining Pearson, Max held senior technology leadership roles at Global Industry leaders such as Diageo, Pfizer, and JP Morgan Chase. Max actively mentors and advises several tech startups in the media and education domain.

Valentina Kalk is the director of the Brookings Institution Press. Based in Washington and founded in 1916, the Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization whose research focuses on governance, foreign policy, economics, development and metropolitan studies. Before joining Brookings, Valentina was head of United Nations Publications, where she led the digital transition of the UN’s publishing operations. Prior to moving to the UN, Valentina was managing rights and digital development for World Bank Publications. A philologist by background, Valentina moved from Italy to the United States in 1999.

David Worlock has over thirty years of experience as a Digital Strategist and Advisor in publishing. In 1985, David founded Electronic Publishing Services Ltd. (EPS), a research and consultancy company working with the digital content industry in developing strategies for products and markets in consumer and business sectors. Outsell, Inc acquired EPS in 2006. David chairs Outsell’s Leadership Councils, a member-service for over 150 CEOs and senior executives of media publishing and information-provider companies in the USA and Europe. Also, David is Senior Advisor at Quayle Munro, the independent mergers and acquisitions advisory firm, and a board member at Map of Agriculture, a big data start-up in agribusiness.

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