Elsevier, one of the world’s largest publishers, needed a web-based solution to improve its editorial development process for large multi-author titles. Lacking a centralized system, the existing editorial process relied heavily on email communication and spreadsheets to track hundreds of manuscripts and thousands of images.
While recognizing the need for change, many stakeholders within the company were concerned that implementing a technology-based solution for the process would present various challenges. They were concerned not only that an automated system would be too complex and come with a steep learning curve, but also that it would require the need to provide technical support to authors.
OHO worked with a single publishing group within Elsevier to conceptualize a system. This group was responsible for developing 1000+ page medical texts and their needs were indicative of the needs of the organization at large. Their users required:
- A single deployment that could handle multiple titles
- A flexible work-flow engine and review process that could be configured for each title
- The ability to manage, track, and review high-resolution images and figures
To alleviate the apprehension around migrating to a web-based solution, we planned a soft roll-out. Once the initial introduction of the solution was accepted internally, users could act as champions and encourage adoption by other groups. OHO addressed concerns around system complexity and training requirements by developing a strategy that:
- Adopted innovative concepts that streamlined the interface and exposed actionable items as needed
- Based the author's work flow on a single landing page
- Provided rich on-screen help with step-by-step instructions, eliminating training time
The web-based solution was developed and launched in less than 6 months. Built on a customized content management system running on an Oracle database environment, the site included a work flow engine and notification system that met with Elsevier's business requirements and created efficiencies in the publishing process. Upon launch, more than 10,000 authors and editors from 60 countries were using the system.
The implementation of a clean, user-focused interface drove site adoption across the organization's editorial groups. After just one demonstration of the easy-to-use system, a number of additional editorial groups wanted to transition, and ultimately, the initial roll-out grew from several books to dozens in less than 12 months.