Shivaji Sengupta

Knowledge Process – Outsourcing and Offshoring Leader – Six Sigma Green Belt

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Close the Book on Manual Processes: Automated Content Workflow

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Technology has altered how business gets done and the publishing sector is no exception. Independent book stores have given way to superstores and more recently to online and digital retailers. Merger and acquisition activity has changed the structure of the industry with smaller publishing houses disappearing and a few major publishers now dominating different industry segments. Readers are crossing the digital divide, moving from printed materials to electronic content and e-books. How content gets created, distributed and consumed is vastly different than it was even a decade ago.

While the industry has been rife with change, many publishing houses are mired in a “that’s the way things get done” mindset, electing to stay with manual processes for content management. Manual processes contribute to a tremendous waste of financial resources and inefficiencies, especially when the flow of information is curtailed as a result of an unorganized system.

Publishers with outdated manual processes will be at a disadvantage, operating with tactical inefficiencies at best or leaving significant money on the table at worst. Effective document management and workflow can reengineer processes, resulting in improvements in business productivity, customer service and profitability.

As the pace of publishing continues to dramatically increase, and as digital content outpaces traditional print, publishers need to rethink their business models and improve the way publishing and content management processes are executed to remain competitive. Working with the right content management partner can streamline workflow, reduce costs and increase efficiencies across the entire content supply chain.

At Issue: Process Inefficiencies and Increased Costs

The biggest impediments of manual processes are that they hinder publishers from executing their strategies and responding quickly as business needs change. They also inhibit the ability to share content across properties and optimize revenue.

Publishing houses have typically grown through acquisition of products or companies. While the impetus was often to bring broader content, additional properties or advanced functionality and services to readers, multiple independent workflows have contributed to complexity, redundancies, legacy applications and other inefficiencies.

Publishing workflow is complex and efficiency can make or break the organization. Most large-scale publishers produce several newspapers and magazines, manage a variety of Web sites and might possibly be involved in radio or television broadcast. In an ideal world, every editorial team would work together to share information and assets, including photos, articles, audio and videos. However, with manual processes, synchronizing content across multiple properties is not that easy.

Publishers need to aggregate information from a wide variety of sources such as authors, third-party content providers, syndicated services, scholarly journals and others. Without a standardized workflow process, gathering content, editing and publishing is challenging, error prone and often sidelined with delays.

Much like print books have given way to e-books, manual processes belong to an earlier era. An automated workflow can streamline business processes, reduce errors, ease the process of gathering, editing and publishing content while providing greater governance and cost reduction.

Turning the Page on Manual Processes

Manual processes at every stage of the publishing lifecycle contribute to inefficiencies and revenue leakage. An automated system can improve all parts of the publishing workflow process including content aggregation, authoring and publishing. Companies seeking to streamline relationships with advertising agencies, writers and editors, freelance art directors, printers and other suppliers can enhance communications and add speed to their publishing pace.

A paper-based method for aggregating information elongates the time it takes to get information from start to finish in the publishing process and increases the rate of error. Information may come in on paper, electronically or via the Web, but paper processes can be costly. Data entry needs to be done manually before content is scanned and digitized, taking resources away from more strategic activities.

Without a centralized content repository, manual authoring also contributes to inefficiencies and errors. Key challenges include synchronizing content and version control. While some organizations may have “home grown” or legacy systems in place, these are typically cumbersome, outdated or expensive to maintain.

Manual processes also prohibit publishers from having visibility across the entire publishing lifecycle. When content is centralized, editors can view all activity such as when copy is transmitted to the production department, which editors or writers are working on what stories and where they are in the review and approval process or if jackets have been proofread before they go to press.

Successful publishing operations require careful coordination between internal and external constituents, including authors, freelancers, editorial staff, advertising agencies, production departments, graphic designers, finance professionals, legal counsel and others. Without a unified workflow, publishers need additional resources to manage processes and ensure production schedules are executed on time to control costs – and may risk paying unnecessary overtime to meet deadlines.

With needs evolving rapidly and changing publishing models, organizations need to look at automated strategies that improve workflow. The right content management partner and electronic workflow can deliver new ways of providing information and streamline the publishing process.

Automated Content Management: The Next Chapter

Automated content management and enterprise-wide workflow removes the bottlenecks in existing workflows and offers additional functionality unobtainable through manual processes. Rather than every publication operating in a silo and having independent editorial workflow production tools, everything is streamlined in a consolidated system.

With electronic workflow, content is efficiently managed between internal and external stakeholders. Editorial group members can share information and assets and understand in real-time what other members of the group are working on. The right technology adds speed and clarity to the publishing process, helping to control costs and optimize information flow.

A content management system can also eliminate manual processes and duplication of effort.  With a system in place, publishers can better execute cross-media strategies and electronically share content across its properties. This increases efficiencies, cuts costs, enhances productivity and frees resources to work on more strategic areas of business.

As publishers explore new publishing formats and create content across multiple mediums, including print, Web, mobile and electronic devices, an automated content management platform brings significant scalability to content operations. Large publishing houses create an enormous quantity of content, and as the organization or amount of content grows, tracking different versions of documents, accessing multiple documents related to a specific project or locating specific content becomes increasingly challenging – especially when there are hundreds of thousands of documents in a data repository. An electronic workflow that is tailored to the organization’s requirements can support large quantities of content and a high volume of users, increasing capacity and visibility.

The right content management partner also helps alleviate the need for additional infrastructure and operational management. A unified workflow automatically routes content to the right individuals and departments and provides visibility into the entire process. Organizations are able to be nimble and flexible, especially as they adapt to new consumption patterns and explore new publishing formats.

A unified workflow provides better governance, tracking and cost control while enabling publishers to standardize processes for every project. A centralized approach enables organizations to maximize cost savings by helping teams avoid duplicating efforts and streamline content development and distribution. An end-to-end unified content management platform can also potentially increase revenue by enabling enterprise-level use of content for marketing, promotional and production purposes.

Moving away from silos and stand-alone systems is a necessity for publishers that want to survive, thrive and keep pace with emerging publishing channels. Interactivity among departments and media properties via a unified workflow and content management system can improve processes, control costs and ensure rapid time-to-market for content and competitive advantage.

Working with the right content management partner can increase productivity, enhance revenue and reduce costs. By closing the book on manual processes, publishers can meet today’s editorial challenges, transform their operations and leverage best practices to maximize their efforts.


About the author

Shivaji Sengupta is the Vice President of Content Solutions for SourceHOV. Sengupta has more than seventeen years experience leading large scale technology-enabled content driven programs and products for multinational corporations in the publishing, manufacturing, food, retail, energy and consumer business industries. He has worked in North America, Europe and Asia extensively to provide Information Technology and Content Enabled Solutions to Fortune 100 customers. SourceHOV is one of the largest end-to-end Business Process Solutions companies, providing healthcare, finance and accounting, e-content management, document lifecycle, presentment, HR Assist and strategic consulting services across key verticals such as BFSI, healthcare, government, publishing, retail, commercial and industrial manufacturing industries. For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit


The E-Book Future - Technological Transformation of the Reading and Publishing Experience

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There’s no denying people love books. From early childhood through adulthood, reading is a fundamental part of our existence. A good book can expand horizons, stimulate imagination, bring new ways of thinking and enable us to enter new worlds. Reading has long been a favored pastime, but technology has altered the experience, changing how content is created, consumed and distributed. The e-Book – including any publication delivered in a digital form – is heralded as the biggest trend to hit the publishing industry since the invention of moveable type.

The past two years have seen sales of Kindles, iPads, Nooks, smartphones and other new digital platforms skyrocket, driving record-breaking e-book sales. A February 2011 report from the Association of American Publishers notes that e-Book sales were $90.3 million, growing 202.3 percent versus February 2010. Downloaded Audiobooks were $6.9 million, an increase of 36.7 percent.[1] Amazon said it sells 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers, with the ratio shifting in e-books’ favor.[2]

The last year has also seen an explosion in devices with greater options for accessing content. According to research firm IDC, worldwide media tablet shipments rose by 88.9 percent on a sequential basis and 303.8 percent year over year in the second calendar quarter of 2011 to 13.6 million units.[3] As devices receive mass market penetration, publishers will generate a greater proportion of their revenue from e-books and other virtual content. And, as technology progresses, digital content will be delivered in a richer, more interactive format, bringing further transformation to the publishing industry.

E-books are still relatively new – just barely four years old. Transformational changes in the publishing industry have only just begun. As e-books, mobile apps and other internet products increase in popularity, there are immense growth opportunities to redefine the reading and publishing experience.

While digital content created during the last five to ten years involved mostly reproducing books in electronic format, going forward, digital content will be more about experience and engagement than passive consumption. The entire experience of what it means to read or publish a book will dramatically change. What other changes will advance the e-book industry?

Enhanced e-books will provide an unparalleled interactive experience. Electronic content has changed the reading experience, but enhanced e-books are the next wave of this transformation. Prevalent in higher education, publishers such as Inkling, Hyperink and Kno are pushing the capabilities of tablets and bringing new levels of interactivity. Beyond simple text, enhanced e-books feature additional content including animations, interactive hyperlinks and multimedia features such as the ability to highlight passages and share notes. These enhanced features give readers increased enjoyment and greater engagement, changing the scope of an e-book and redefining the user experience.

Next-generation devices will deliver a richer multimedia consumption experience. Media tablets and e-readers have reached mass market saturation, but newer devices have replaced pure black and white with color, giving new life to the device-driven experience. Color touch screens, 3G connectivity and access to the Web, movies, music, photography, animation, language translation and more have redefined the capabilities of tablet and e-reader devices. As the price point comes down and more users seek a more interactive experience, the line between readers and tablets will blur. Smartphone screens are getting bigger and allow for media capabilities, creating another device platform for content consumption. These new devices further enhance the user experience and create new content opportunities for publishers.

Custom publishing will bring more targeted content to relevant audiences. Enhanced e-books will enable publishers to take advantage of different formats to provide content that meets business and user requirements. For example, a book on art history can include interviews with artists or video vignettes on different techniques. Digital formats also offer greater flexibility, are searchable and interactive. They also support self-publishing, enabling a teacher to provide class notes or presentations to students. In addition to expanding the experience for consumers, publishers can package specific chapters, learning modules, videos or quizzes as new properties to generate additional revenue.

Rich media and contextual up-sell will be significant revenue drivers. As users become accustomed to interactive content, flat text will lose its appeal. Embedded audio and video links, animations and interactive question and answer applications will further engage users and enhance the learning experience by providing people with access to the content they need. For instance, students or researchers looking for additional knowledge on a particular topic can access learning modules or tools to help them gain further insight directly from content they are currently perusing. Publishers can not only generate additional revenue through additional content, but these complementary learning modules can be offered at value-added price points rather than requiring consumers to purchase an entire book.

Reading will move from solitary sport to collective consumption and participation. Until recently, social reading consisted of offline book clubs, small and informal discussions or email dialogues. Even when discussions happen online, users typically engage on a third-party platform such as Facebook. Moving forward, future social reading will happen within the book itself. Using e-readers such as the Nook or Kindle, users can make comments, highlight text and share it with their network. As reading becomes increasingly collaborative, users will morph from consumers to publishers, sharing additional content with friends such as reviews or linking to associated content or for easier personal reference.

E-publishing will take center stage. Most books today are created with the print version leading the strategy. The digital version is often part of the brand extension, introduced to broaden the appeal of a property. However, with digital platforms becoming ubiquitous and publishers realizing the benefits of reduced printing and distribution costs, this model will shift. Moving forward, publishers will put a priority on creating content specifically for the e-market and digital platforms. While print versions aren’t likely to be eliminated in the short term, they will become specialty items that need to be ordered.

Broadcast media models will increase advertising opportunities. Similar to the model found on television, radio and even in some Web-based media such as YouTube, advertising will be incorporated into content to promote a variety of goods and services and create additional revenue for publishers. As long as it is not terribly intrusive, people are willing to watch advertising to access free content. This same model is likely to take hold in publishing. By including in-book advertising, publishers can augment costs and offer advertisers a targeted audience to promote their business.

Self-publishing moves from nascent to mainstream. Self-publishing has seen an uptick over the last several years. Writers can create books for small populations or use self-publishing to support their hope of launching a career as the next great American novelist. Where older platforms required writers to be technologically savvy, new platforms such as Hyperink make publishing as easy as clicking a button. New technology has also added significant speed to the process. The traditional self-publishing model can take three to nine months to produce a manuscript. Companies like Hyperink streamline the experience, making it possible to publish e-books in less than a month. This benefits authors and readers by increasing the number of titles available and the number of writers with published works. The recent launch of Apple iBooks 2 and its corresponding authoring app only strengthens this trend. Apple’s newest technology enables anyone to create beautiful, multi-touch books, further fueling the growth of self publishing by independent authors and small publishers.

Format wars will be settled. There are several formats available today such as ePub, MOBI, PDF, etc. but tying e-books to a specific format come with some risk. These include losing a percentage of consumers who do not use a particular platform or requiring them to purchase two copies of a specific text for use on competing platforms. A unified format and standardization will emerge, equating to more automation and greater usability.

Multilingual publishing opportunities will open new markets. E-books are also creating frenzy in emerging and high-growth markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. As these markets join the e-book revolution, publishers will need to revise strategies to provide localized versions of books. One of the biggest gaps in the market is the lack of local language publications. Currently, Amazon’s Kindle only supports six languages – English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. Other devices integrate with third-party applications to address language support. However, this creates an undersupplied content environment and stimulates new opportunities for publishers. And, while English-language books can be rapidly translated to bring popular titles quickly to a larger audience, offering more local language books can expand offerings for non-English readers.

As the digital market evolves, publishers need the right partners to ensure their e-book strategy supports collaboration between sales, marketing, editorial, production, fulfillment and other stakeholders. An automated content management and enterprise-wide workflow solution streamlines processes, reduces costs and brings significant scalability to content operations. Working with the right content management partner eliminates channel-specific or department-specific silos of content that can add cost and delays to market opportunities.

The introduction of tablets and e-readers has changed both the reading experience for consumers and the market for publishers. New devices, publishing models and greater social interaction are transforming the most fundamental aspect of human learning – how content is created and consumed. Tomorrow’s successful publishers will be the ones that adapt to this changing landscape today.

About the author

Shivaji Sengupta is the Vice President of Content Solutions for SourceHOV. Sengupta has more than seventeen years experience leading large scale technology-enabled content driven programs and products for multinational corporations in the publishing, manufacturing, food, retail, energy and consumer business industries. He has worked in North America, Europe and Asia extensively to provide Information Technology and Content Enabled Solutions to Fortune 100 customers. SourceHOV is one of the largest end-to-end Business Process Solutions companies, providing healthcare, finance and accounting, e-content management, document lifecycle, presentment, HR Assist and strategic consulting services across key verticals such as BFSI, healthcare, government, publishing, retail, commercial and industrial manufacturing industries. For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit

[1] American Association of Publishers, February 2011 Sales Report, February 2011 (

[2] USAToday,”Amazon: E-books Will Overtake Paperbacks by the End of 2011”, July 2010 (

[3] IDC, “Media Tablet and eReader Markets Beat Second Quarter Targets, Forecast Increased for 2011,” September 2011 (


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 10:07

Social Game Development

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Social gaming is no more limited to Facebook, other social media platform like MySpace are rapidly looking to enhance their social gaming experience. The social gaming market has matured quickly over the past three years, and the features & dynamics of online gaming are reaching out to the entire gaming landscape.

Game developers for social websites and other online platforms develop certain practices when designing and delivering new game:

1. Game definition

The initial phase of game development or game definition is the phase where developers identify the client’s goals, objective and budget. Using these three factors as benchmarks, developers design a theme for the application in accordance with the given budget.

2. Marketing

Marketing the application is vital, since it defines how the application will be positioned and how successful it will be. The marketing best practice revolves around identifying the target audience, choosing different platforms to release the game, monetizing the success, social network dynamics and the action plan.

3. Research

In the research phase of a new game, developers examine target audience expectations and their overall requirements. This practice ensures that the game is suited for their target market, there are delighting elements in the game and that the application is profitable.

4. Monetization

The monetization strategy of a game should be developed before application development begins. Unless a game is free, there should be defined guidelines for advertising, payments, offers etc.

5. Specifications

Developing a detailed functional specification of the game is the next best practice after understanding the business, marketing, research, and monetization strategy. A detailed game specification is developed accordance to the client’s goals.

6. Storyboard & Script

Defining a basic story and developing a full range of game play options are the first steps in arriving at the script. The script governs all the game play and activity a user can conduct during game play.

Upon script completion the developer creates a storyboard. The storyboard organizes the game in sequence, displaying illustrations, videos and images in order of the script.

7. Social game development

Completion of the concept, script and storyboard marks the development of backgrounds, characters, models and produce audio. When developing social games an array of polls is used to make sure the game is executed effectively and user expectations are met.

8. Quality assurance & Compatibility testing

To identify bugs and glitches a comprehensive testing phase is performed to ensure that all eligible platforms support the game. The testing assures platform compatibility, game play consistency, compatibility and usability of the application.

9. Hosting

Usually, best practices for game development end at quality testing. Some developers are also able to offer clients shared or dedicated hosting services and where required manage the game for the client. This provides professional monitoring and support to clients and provides control over errors.

10. Distribution

Social media networking allows gaming companies striking opportunities to distribute social games over social websites where users can return daily. Game development companies can also undertake distribution of games over social media networks allowing brand marketers to release their service to millions of users worldwide. Developers also adopt the best practice to manage low cost PPC advertising to supplement and accelerate distribution through social media.


Social Publishing – Trends in Disseminating Information

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As the internet is becoming available to everyone, people are getting more enthusiastic to share how they feel about something. The internet has also become a repository for research and information. The act of publishing content online, for any purpose, is known as Social Publishing.

Role of Social Media

Humans have an inherent curiosity to know about things and to share it with others. With the common use of the internet, this sharing of views and knowledge has become widespread. Social media has played a significant role in boosting this practice. With free access to social media websites, every common person has become a social publisher.

Social publishing has also proved to be an effective tool for marketing. By posting useful information, companies build a reputable image among people and obtain the position of a reliable source in their niche. Once they have found a credible position in their niche, they can advertise their products directly and people won’t hesitate to buy them.

The following social media platforms have significant potential to reach people and usually receive a large number of visitors:


Forums are the most common platforms which people use to get answers to their problems. These are powerful social publishing websites and large repositories for information. People post their questions which are answered by other people. Gradually, the website becomes a resource, covering different topics.


A journal is a credible platform for scholarly articles and research. This information is mostly posted by researchers, professors and scholars who have actually conducted research in a particular subject. Not everyone is allowed to post on these websites and the information is regulated by a research center or a governmental agency.

Web Content

An informative website is a good place to find desired topics. Web content is written for a number of reasons; some people want to become a leading authority in a particular niche so that they can later sell their product. Some people just require visitors on their website as they are earning from different ad campaigns. A huge percentage of websites are explicit online stores and they usually do not contribute to social publishing.

Facebook, YouTube and Similar Media

Facebook users have increased exponentially in the last few years. It’s a community platform to share information and opinions with peers. YouTube is a very popular video sharing website serving a similar purpose. These forms of social media have become very powerful in recent years and have influenced/stimulated many people and events.

Social Publishing for a Reason – An Outlook

Forums and blogs started out really well in that they were used to discuss topics and mutually find solutions. However, social publishing has gone awry from its main objective; to offer true, helpful information. Today, most of the online content comes from marketing companies which is often manipulated. Information is often fabricated to serve one, single reason; money-making. Marketing strategies such as Search Engine Optimization has thrown a huge amount of useless content on the internet. These inadequacies have created a negative image about social publishing and have reduced credibility of online content.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter etc. focus more on individual activities and entertainment than on useful discussions. Again, companies are using these tools for marketing and the media is stuffed with fabricated information. It is therefore advisable to read online content critically and only refer to credible sources for accurate information.


Best Practices in Cloud Computing

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A new IT boom in recent years has dramatically changed the way people use operating systems. In modern economic and business environments businesses are constantly looking for cost-effective applications and IT solutions. Cloud computing platforms are being used to deliver business functions. The growth in business uses of cloud computing increases the expectations of users and simultaneously the responsibility of vendors to provide outstanding service in the cloud computing arena.

Business owners require that cloud computing platforms meet their expectations, in fact delight them by complying with the highest standards of service. Since businesses are entrusting these cloud operating systems with valuable & vital data they expect these standards to be met. The seven best practices of cloud computing which are generally accepted by most vendors are:


Users demand world class security software & protocols protecting their critical information. Security is a broad term, not just user privileges and passwords. High end security solutions are imperative for businesses, especially for vendors handling confidential user data. Cloud computing platforms must abide to comprehensive, stout policies and protocols to guarantee maximum levels of

ü Physical Security

ü Network Security

ü Application Security

ü Internal system Security

ü Data backup Security

ü Third party certifications

ü Secure internal policies & procedures


Transparency & Trust

Cloud computing platforms should be able to provide customers with detailed information about service delivery and performance. These factors involve:

ü Accurate, timely and detailed information about service performance and maintenance activities

ü Daily data on service availability and transaction performance

ü Constant proactive communication

Multi tenancy

Multi tenant architecture allows for advanced scalability and faster improvement at lower cost. Single tenant systems are not designed to handle large scale business operations and constant improvement for success. Multi tenancy provides users the following benefits:

ü Efficient service delivery, with low maintenance

ü Consistent and reliable performance based on efficient, large scale architecture

ü Rapid product release cycles



A large customer base means better and high quality feedback for future innovations. A huge customer community provides opportunities like collaboration between customers, creation of communities with common interests and fostering best practices.

Cloud computing platforms must have the ability to scale many customers and the resources to ensure high quality standards, performance standards and security to all users. Users also require cloud computing applications to be able to innovate and upgrade to meet changing environments. A vital customer demand for cloud computing vendors is quick & accurate support for their issues.

High performance

Cloud computing vendors should be able to deliver consistent high speed performance to its users globally. The platform should have detailed historical data to back performance issues like average page response time and average transactions per day.

Data recovery & fail safe

Vendors are responsible for valuable customer data, they are required to protect this data by running the service on multiple data centers with broad backup capacity, data archives and failover capabilities. Cloud computing services should be capable to account for all potential system failures. A complete fail safe and data recovery plan involves:

ü Creating multiple copies of customer data in real time

ü A multi level backup, that includes saving on disks, on virtual drives and tape drives to ensure high speed recovery with minimum data loss


Readily Available

Vendors delivering cloud computing application should have the capability to deliver readily available software and must have the infrastructure to do so. The requirements for a high available cloud computing application are:

ü Facilities with reliable power, cooling and network infrastructure

ü Readily available networks, servers and software

ü Metrics with detailed historically available data on the entire service

Businesses looking to lower costs and demanding higher efficiency from IT are rapidly turning to cloud computing. The volatile shift in demand and supply of IT services drive the change in services and the way they are offered. The increased use of alternative OS platforms changes the way businesses operate and the vendors who deliver these services.

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