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© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Catalog Publishing Productivity in the Age of the Internet Ways and Means to Increase Benefits while Maximizing Current Systems Dorothy J. Hoskins President, ResourX Consulting
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Contents Overview: Catalogs as ToolsOverview: Catalogs as Tools Getting to the Web Unified Internet and Paper Catalog PublishingUnified Internet and Paper Catalog Publishing Why Use XML?
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Overview: Catalogs as tools The catalog as a reference serves the major goal of selling products, since it: –Represents accurately what the product is like –Communicates essential information in a quickly- understood format –Provides contact information, pricing and perhaps shipping info so that customer can order easily. Now, frequently, customers like on-line catalogs as well as (or better than) printed ones – if they can find what they need.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Catalogs as trading vehicles Associations of companies can exchange information horizontally, about product lines, pricing and availability –Hard to do with paper-based systems (no automatic search capability or immediate updates) Alliances of industrial players can exchange information vertically for e-commerce, procurement, shared ventures –Manufacturer > Distributor > Retailer
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting State of the art: Customers moving to the web Most customers at any level (distributors, retailers, in-store customers) are becoming accustomed to internet access to information. If they can’t find you on line, you’ve missed a sale; if they find you but can’t locate a product quickly, you’ve lost a sale; if they find a product but can’t order online or find a local outlet, you’re out of luck…
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Getting to the Web Transforming product catalogs for internet access can be done in several ways: –Literally, by making pdf files from the paper catalog (same info on web as in paper, but it’s not easy to search, and it can’t be changed dynamically) –Web-centric, where customers may print what they want, but web replaces the paper catalog as the resource for accurate, timely information –Web-and-paper integrated publishing, where the same information source is used to create online and paper catalogs.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Web catalogs enable e-commerce Online catalogs can be integrated with online ordering, transaction processing of credit cards, backend inventory reporting, shipment tracking, etc. in ways that paper can’t. Paper catalogs provide some advantages (can be read without computer access, be handled almost anywhere ) but have severe disadvantages (long production lead times, high production costs, storage and shipping expenses).
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Do you have to give up paper catalogs to gain internet advantages? Not if printing meets your business needs or suits your customers. But you should add a web catalog to increase your sales reach.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting What if you could create both web and paper catalogs at the same time, so that you can reduce effort and save money? You can do that now. You can do that now. You just have to find the ways and means that work for your business.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Make the most of your paper catalog as the source You already have invested time and money into your paper catalog that you can leverage for the web, but don’t rekey or copy/paste it! –Identify the information that’s the same for both media and publish it from paper to web. –Enable ways to change information when you need to; keep timely information on the web. –Create a way to flow the changes into the next version of the paper catalog.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Make your publishing and website support your brand Maintain your brand with logos, fonts, colors and layouts in web and paper formats –Your brand is your public image; your catalog should be instantly recognizable as yours. Maintain your standards for presentation in both media –Enforce quality standards for presenting information about your products and your company, even with partners and channels.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Work forward to change without disabling current systems “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”; if your paper catalog works well for you, add internet functionality (but don’t throw out the paper catalog unless you want to quit producing it). Use the amazing resource you already have – all the content in your paper catalog – but repurpose it to serve you on the web as well. This is the key to an integrated web-and- paper catalog publishing system.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Make your publishing system do some new work for you Many publishing applications enable “Save as Web Page “ functions that can get part of the job done, but don’t enable searching and customization of information. A better way to get real value to your information is to “save as XML*”. XML stores information in a logical structure, making it possible to build custom views of the information for specific customers or business purposes. * eXtensible Markup Language, which describes the structure and meaning of information.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting “Save as Web Page” is a partial solution While “Save as Web Page” makes information viewable on the web, you have to maintain 2 sets of information: in the catalog publishing system and on your website. –Difficult to keep synchronized: often different people work on the paper and web pages, and there’s usually not a good workflow for making changes in tandem –Hard to verify that changes have been made everywhere they should be; no easy way to locate the same info everywhere it appears in both media
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting “Save as XML” is more powerful, makes information “re-useful” When you save information as XML, it can be located and changed in all the places it’s used for web- or paper-based publishing. That same information can then be exchanged with other systems that use XML, such as Enterprise Resource Planning, warehouse databases, inventory control systems, sales processing — all of which are becoming XML-enabled.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Make your publishing system work for your long-term needs Use what you’ve got. Use what you’ve got. Build on it to add new functions that expand your business opportunities. Be accessible on the internet, be timely with new products getting to your customer’s awareness.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Unified Product Catalog Publishing Unified means that your web and paper systems can communicate with each other electronically. Unified means that the web and paper catalog use the same indexing and categories. Unified means that you can locate information in both media for updating. Unified means that you maintain branding across all the places customers look for information about you and your products.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting How do you unify? Use technologies that make information available to paper and web in a logically structured form. –XML adds the necessary structure to enable the system Structure existing information to work in the unified system, building a repository of all the product information you publish. Add new product information directly, using information entry forms (similar to data entry forms). Publish to paper and web by building catalogs from the information in the repository, the “single source”.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting How do you implement the change to a unified system? Identify the information that’s most crucial to get online before your next paper catalog, and work with it first. –This may be the products that generate the highest profits, those that you have the most inquiries about, or those you sell in largest volume. Or new products and changed products that come to market before your next paper catalog can come out. Convert the critical part of your catalog without disrupting your existing catalog publishing workflow.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting How do you implement the change? continued Outsource your conversion to knowledgeable XML services so your publishing dept. can keep working. Conduct ROI reviews to determine what to do in-house in future, and what to continue to outsource Train inside personnel to understand the XML structure of your catalog and the schema you are using, regardless of what you do in-house or outsource. Create XML publishing systems, in-house or outsourced, that are compatible with existing publishing systems, or modify/create new publishing systems if advantageous to your future, based on your ROI review.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Speaking of ROI… Look at time-to-market. How much of the paper catalog lead time can you cut with a unified system? How quickly can you add new product information to the web, and automatically update the print version? Look at resources. Can unified publishing be done by a single dept. instead of personnel in two depts.? Look at accuracy. How many errors can be eliminated from your web- and paper catalogs when the information is maintained in a single source?
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Speaking of ROI… Look at image-building. When your information can be viewed online, searched, recombined, and printed on demand (all benefits of unified catalog publishing), and retain your branding, you have a polished, high-performance presence in the marketplace. In sum: The indirect benefits of XML make straight reduction of costs in publishing less dramatic than competitive edge, branding and speed-to- market advantages.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Getting started with unified catalog publishing Locate or train resources, but make sure they –understand your publishing applications and standards for print production and –understand web design, including interactivity (how customers use your site) and –know how to evaluate your information and formulate the XML system that will make web- and-paper publishing work for you.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Getting started with unified catalog publishing Start small, start smart –Build a prototype from a small set of sample information (such as a section of product catalog pages) to assess how the look and functions of a unified catalog will fit with your website and your current publishing workflows. (This helps build your ROI assessment for full implementation and to quality-assure the system.) –Prioritize the information you want to publish and make an staged implementation plan.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Why use XML? A look at forces moving the marketplace: e-commerce, globalization, speed to market
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting Global trading and enterprise integration are speeding up Already, industries are forming coalitions to create standards for themselves called XML schemas (rules for structuring information) and making these schemas available to build momentum for global e-commerce. XML, a language for describing the structure of information, is one of the key technologies for making information reusable and transportable.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting The players are on the field, and they’re all using XML Microsoft, IBM, Sun and Adobe, among others, are all building XML-enabled applications and systems. –Bill Gates is one of XML’s leading advocates Large enterprises are already using XML in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Salesforce Automation (SFA), and Supply Chain Management (SCM)/e-procurement.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting In a nutshell, XML works for business Using XML to connect applications and business systems is working very well already, and XML development is going on all over the globe. (Note: XML makes multi-language websites and documents easier to produce.) Those who move to leverage their information resources with XML have new opportunities for establishing valuable partnerships and gaining marketshare.
© Copyright 2001, ResourX Consulting For more ideas about XML for business XML: A Managers' Guide by Kevin Dick (1999, Addison-Wesley) to get a succinct view of business reasons to use XML and issues to consider. XML in Action: Web Technology by William J. Pardi (1999, Microsoft Press) for a more techie view The XML Files: Using XML for Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer Applications. 3MB downloadable book; decide from the abstract if it is sufficiently useful, at 00?OpenDocument 00?OpenDocument This presentation brought to you by Resourx Consulting
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