Technological advancement has significantly altered digital transformation strategies in publishing, incorporating automated workflows, collaboration tools, and integration across internal and external processes in the content ecosystem.

The pandemic has exerted numerous impacts. While digital-savvy publishers had fared well in 2020 and avoided many of the Covid-inflicted disruptions, higher-ed institutions, including the elite and the well-endowed, endured budget cuts and falling enrollments. Some even raised questions about the sustainability and purpose of postsecondary education. The crisis engendered both desperation and an urgent call for alternate solutions, resulting in pandemic-driven tech innovation that boosted distance learning, digital learning for schools, and digital transformation in publishing.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation covers a wide range of activities, including IT modernization, cloud computing, workflow optimization, and the adoption of digital-driven business models. The pandemic accelerated the move to digital, and ever since, agile businesses have adopted such transformation to stay competitive while making their offerings mobile and digital-first. Many have embraced data-driven business models for improved consumer reach and revenue generation through new products and solutions that address consumer needs more than ever before.

Successful transformations involve not just workflows and systems overhauls but also how stakeholders adopt this new paradigm. Training and upskilling of the workforce was another item on the list of must-dos.

Why is the world approaching digital transformation?

The fragmented technology landscape, ongoing product evolution, and proliferation of mobile devices have altered consumer behavior. This has brought new demands and opportunities to digitize workflows, modernize or replace legacy applications, automate repetitive tasks, and bring organizational efficiencies to improve quality, sustainability, and profitability.

How can publishers benefit from adopting digital transformation?

Traditional publishing processes and modes of delivery are rapidly changing based on technological advancements and market demands. It is expensive for small and medium-sized publishers to go through the entire publishing process, convert their titles into digital formats, and wait for sales. There is also an increasing demand for engaging and interactive digital formats rather than plain text and image publication.

Publishers that embraced digital transformation well ahead of the curve started to see the results and were not affected by the pandemic. Pearson, for instance, saw healthy growth in its U.S. courseware unit, especially with digital and subscription services. In 2020, they achieved a 32% growth in their global online learning segment. Overall digital revenue for McGraw-Hill saw double-digit increases in the first half of 2021. By the middle of 2021, Cengage overcame reduced print revenues with a year-over-year growth of 40% in digital sales and online skills earnings.

We have seen traditional publishers adopting the digital-first approach, citing end users’ preference for personalized learning on the go, on any device. The demand for STM-related content continues to strengthen.

For Impelsys, digital transformation is not just a buzzword; it is our core competency. From our inception, we have been helping organizations embark on digital transformation journeys to keep themselves sustainable and future-ready. Impelsys is a pioneer in digital content delivery and transformation and online learning delivery. We help our clients move from print to digital or from vanilla content to immersive and interactive learning experiences. We offer integrated technology solutions for societies, associations, STM publishers, and enterprises.

Impelsys’s technology services business unit has extended its technology portfolio to include several new practices that now offer turnkey services. These include: Adobe Experience Manager and Magento, QA automation and independent verification and validation services (IVVS), cloud security operations (CloudSecOps), product engineering, and mobility and apps development.

The digital solutions industry will continue to grow in areas of AI, Managed Content as a Service (MCaaS), and bundled content curation. There will be a surge in express mobile learning, simulations, and virtual and real-world activity. Various forms of learning such as experiential, social, off-line, and collaborative learning, will transform significantly along with Experience API (xAPI) in LMS to track learner progress. While adaptive and personalized learning has been around for a while, it is now coming of age, and the next few years will be a turning point for the e-learning industry.

Our digitization and process transformation, data-driven insights and decision making, and security and controls solutions help clients to add value to their offerings, create new revenue channels, and adopt flexible business models. Impelsys’s learning and content services offer rapid publishing solutions and create-once publish-everywhere (COPE) workflows, allowing the content to be converted to an intermediate format, and build templates for print and digital versions. This approach enables publishers to print on demand or go digital-first based on market requirements, reducing inventory cost and allowing them to invest where the need is identified. It also addresses the fact that the provisions of digital readers and hard-copy readers are different and will enable publishers to customize print and digital versions accordingly.

Our teams help publishers build engaging content by adding multimedia elements, knowledge checks, audio, and other interactivities. We have experts in various subjects such as children’s books, scientific and engineering content, and medical materials. We also support a wide range of languages for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Impelsys’s flagship product, IPC Scholar, is a fully-fledged SaaS-based platform that is AI-enabled and offers innovative solutions for the e-learning and digital publishing industry. It provides all tools and workflows necessary for customers to launch their e-learning content online, manage the portal, and monetize digital learning assets. We understand our customers’ needs and are creating business value at the intersection of industry transformation and the latest technology innovation. Our Innovation Lab-as-a-Service (LaaS) offers custom solutions for customers around disruptive technologies such as AI, natural language processing (NLP), big data, and cloud.

Scholar AI Cloud, which is a part of our iPC Scholar 3.0 platform, unlocks the power of AI, ML, and big data. Publishers can leverage it as an integrated or a standalone application. Our offerings Sum it up and IQ Generator help publishers to make content more interesting and understandable, allowing them to engage their audience with auto-generate quizzes, content summaries, and much more.

With over 20 years of working with publishers, including half of the top publications globally, Impelsys brings a wealth of industry experience and expertise to the table. We work strategically with every client to understand each varying need and help to achieve specific goals. Impelsys’s deep domain knowledge, reinforced with efficient technology services, reimagines digital strategies and innovates tailor-made solutions. We have intelligent and adaptive delivery platforms that cater to all publishing avenues and formats. Our learning and content services help publishers to develop content into engaging and interactive digital offerings. This positions Impelsys uniquely at the intersection of business and technology, helping clients harness digital power, adapt to the new, and succeed.

Uday Majithia, v-p of the products, platforms, and technology services division at Impelsys

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