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Educational publisher takes on change for streamlined operations

by Morag Cuddefordjones

April 29, 2021

Managing change is one of the most fundamental – and difficult – jobs for any company’s leadership team. We all know the challenges of making decisions by committee. Too many cooks spoil the broth and all that. So, an effective way of getting a new project off the ground is to get a core team of essential staff spanning a variety of relevant departments together and collaborating, to evaluate, develop, and get it underway.

But, if handled behind closed doors, the seemingly sudden arrival of one or more new systems or software implementations for the rest of the organization can be ill-received, with employees feeling ignored, unheard, and under-valued, or worse, finding that the new technology is not actually helping them in their day to day as it was intended, as after all, their opinions and insights were not asked for.

Communication of an impending new system and its benefits to individual teams and departments is therefore a key part of any digital change within an organization, with the request for feedback from teams on these proposed benefits of almost equal importance.

Such was the challenge faced by medical publisher, FA Davis. A traditional print organization based in Philadelphia of some 140 years’ standing, over time the company has built a certain way of doing things. It is also in an industry that is also fairly traditional and so exposure to change and agile ways of working has been, arguably, limited.

This didn’t put off Cindy Breuninger, Director of Content Solutions at the company. In 2014, it was looking for a way to streamline it content and publishing operations, getting on top of of its artwork resources, its storage, rights management, and workflows. And so the need for a Digital Asset Management (DAM) was established.

The company began the process with a small project team, which included Breuninger, to seek out potential vendors, asses and then employ them – the result of which was bringing censhare into the business.

censhare is designed to be used across businesses by people in a range of functions, not just by a core team tasked with overseeing one side of a content operation. For it to be fully effective, it should to be used to its full effect, let alone be used well. People have favourite ways of doing things and asking them to change those ways can be tough – after all, there are still authors who work solely on paper.

So, the benefits to using censhare were communicated to the business clearly and with tangible use cases and success scenarios. Employees could envisage how the system was going to impact their output, with one senior project manager saying after its implementation that, if she hadn’t had the system, one of her titles could never have been produced.

Another benefit of the implementation was its incrementality. It was installed in phases, first using the DAM to store and manage artwork. The next phase was about turning censhare into the company’s workflow management system and finally, the last phase was to integrate it with the company’s existing Klopotek ERP system.

One of the critical parts of the implementation process was the realization that the remit of the project management team changes over time. At the outset, it was a technology research team, finding the best solution and matching it to the company’s needs. But once that decision was made, they became change agents, in charge of educating the wider organization about the software’s benefits and encouraging people to use it.

Today censhare is controlling around 100 projects and is used by roughly the same number of people, half inside the company and half by external suppliers.

But these three phases are by no means the end of the process. The project team is training more external vendors to use censhare as well as adding in more data that will help the company be compliant with federal regulations regarding accessibility.

To learn in more depth how FA Davis is using the censhare and the efficiencies that the system has introduced, read the full case study here.


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