Last month, we interviewed our team about how Multipub has changed over the last 40 years. In this post, three staff members, Josh Brewington, Director of Client Services; Donna Miller, Senior Account Manager; and Jacob Dozier, Software Developer and Support Analyst are sharing how they think Multipub will evolve in the next 40 years. Here’s what they had to say.
How do you think Multipub will change in the next 5 years? What do you think will stay the same?
Josh: Multipub is so flexible in how it can interact with external systems, and the team has done a wonderful job of evolving the product to work within the Cloud. I believe we will continue to refine Multipub to help our customers grow in the areas of paywall management, digital subscription analytics and “Goods-as-subscription” services, as that industry continues to gain traction. However, the basic needs of our customers (to have a 360° view into the world of their customer base, as well as to manage and streamline their management process) will remain the same and continue to be a bedrock for Multipub.
Donna: In the next five years, I think we’ll see more enhancements related to e-commerce. This will empower our customers to use their websites to communicate with the Multipub database without a heavy lift from external programming. Multipub will continue to offer flexibility for customers of all sizes, fantastic customer service and industry knowledge.
Jacob: I think that Multipub will take advantage of the digital revolution. With people consuming media at a rate that is increasing every day, and more and more devices in the home to deliver it, Multipub will become more relevant than ever before. It will become easier for start-up media companies to reach subscribers and increasingly important to track subscriber satisfaction and engagement. I think this will lead Multipub to become more competitive with regard to acquiring new clients. However, tracking subscriber satisfaction and engagement has always been one of Multipub’s primary goals.
The publishing industry has evolved significantly since Multipub was founded. How do you think it will continue to change over the next decade?
Josh: I think that with digital subscription management continuing to grow and evolve timely insight into the usage of digital content, as well as the interaction between it and the real-world behavior of customer bases, will be increasingly important for businesses with digital subscriptions. Analytics will just keep becoming more important to our customers, as will the ability to service larger user bases, as content can be consumed across a larger user group without concern for geographical location.
Donna: Over the next decade, I think we’ll see traditional print publishing move more toward online content management systems. This may include more automated subscription management and recurring billing. Data analytics will allow publishers to provide more individualized and specialized titles (more products with fewer subscribers) that may provide revenue more driven by targeted advertising than subscription income. Conversely, I think we’ll also see more “bundled” recurring subscriptions that allow the user to access vast libraries of online content from which he or she can choose relevant information.
Jacob: If trends continue, the publishing industry will continue to evolve toward digital content and engagement. We have already seen this with certain publishers attempting to determine what subscribers want to see and provide that content. Digital assistants will become cheaper and more useful for daily life over the next decade. My guess is that we will begin to consume traditional publication’s media via personal assistants, such as the Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
What kinds of services and system functionality might be a priority for users in 10 years?
Josh: SaaS and full service have completely taken over in the last 10 years across multiple industries, so I believe customers will continue to take advantage of the ability to leverage the technology, expertise and labor-saving offerings that vendors provide. Being able to deliver a repeatable and predictable service that customers can utilize to streamline processes and focus on their core business will be a top priority for them.
Donna: We have led the publishing industry in providing our clients with data to analyze trends among their own customers. I believe our clients will become more sophisticated in their use of that data and challenge us to provide new ways of looking at it.
Jacob: With evolving workplaces, it will be a priority for users to have the ability to view reports and subscriber data as a viewer only. Communication is key, and client business decisions are being made more and more in a collaborative setting. Having view only users that can easily pull reports and see subscriber data will be necessary to get every member of the client’s team involved in the health of their subscriber base.
For years, Multipub has created new developments to serve clients. How do you prepare for the future? What inspires you to make improvements?
Josh: Being new to the team, I am hoping to bring a bit of an outsider’s perspective to the product. However, I feel that always wearing the glasses of a customer is important. Finding the business processes and needs for our customer base and ensuring that we are inline, if not ahead of those, is the challenge. Approaching every improvement with an eye on business process improvement for our customers (making their lives easier) is what I always try to focus on. Always starting by establishing the “why” of a product improvement and allowing the user story to dictate that improvement is a good rule of thumb in software development.
Donna: While print subscribers may be decreasing, the subscription market presents a tremendous opportunity for Multipub customers to leverage their expertise in content fulfillment, while moving into non-traditional subscription products. We are inspired by our clients’ creativity, which drives us to find innovative and flexible solutions within the framework of their existing business practices. Knowing that we can be a part of our clients’ growth is inspiring!
Jacob: The changes in computing from when Multipub was founded in the 70’s to now is astounding. Going from DOS to a Cloud-hosted, Windows-based system is incredible. I, personally, have been inspired to learn how systems like these are built and evolve. I have been taking classes and learning from the development team, so that I can be involved in keeping Multipub modern and using the leading edge of technology, while respecting the foundations of the system.
Describe what you imagine Multipub and the publishing industry might look like in 40 years. What will continue to be important? What might become obsolete?
Josh: The world is changing exponentially, so staying relevant comes back to focusing on the product. Customer Service will ALWAYS be important, and winning in that area with prescriptive, proactive engagements will always be a necessity. Our world will be more digital, and with that, there will come a need for more oversight into the metadata and management of digital subscriptions. Publishing will stretch across multiple geographies, and the ability of our customers to reach and serve their subscribers in a fast, efficient way will continue to be important. While the business of subscription management will get more complex, the user interface of that will continue to simplify, with the vendor/product absorbing the complexity and allowing the customer to digest and work with the data at hand as quickly and effortlessly as possible, so they can focus on excelling and growing their core business.
Jacob: If you ascribe to Moore’s law and the predictions of futurists, then the world will be unrecognizable in 40 years. Look at how far Multipub has already come, going from DOS to a Cloud-hosted Windows system in its 40 years of service. Multipub will move toward a web app in the future. This is how many of the Silicon Valley software companies are moving, and I think web apps will continue to evolve and become more robust.