Nancy McKinstry, CEO of professional publisher Wolters Kluwer, forecasts industry trends
The information industry is a microcosm for trends in the world at large. It’s become an incredibly technology-driven field. With the economy still a difficult factor in 2010, innovation will be the key word this year.
After 25 years in the information industry, I’ve witnessed many dynamic changes in this field. What has been clear for the past several years, of course, is that the way people access and consume information has changed. This is particularly true in the professional markets we work in such as law, tax and accounting, health, risk, and compliance. We see “intelligent solutions” as the next cutting edge of information technology. These are information tools that not only provide information in the most appropriate media and at the point-of-use, but anticipate other needs based on the user’s context.
Context aware computing is one area that we expect to see expanding in 2010, and something that we are focusing on in our products. Typically software acts based on direct inputs and is unaware of most context. But today we are beginning to see solutions that are more aware of the context within which people are operating. A common example is the cell phone that senses when lights dim in a movie theater and automatically shuts off the ringer. We will see this kind of intelligent technology entering the professional world as well.
Another key shift is that we are orienting our products toward an open architecture model, where we play a “hub” role, coordinating activities across an extended enterprise that enables various people to communicate with one another in a workflow that spans multiple entities. This means shifting our product development from closed vertical applications to applications that provide a proprietary core but also augment their functionality through connectivity with third party products.
This requires a fundamental shift in our product development from self-contained, fenced-in applications to developing products with more fluid boundaries. For example, in our financial services unit we use software to connect retail dealers with lending institutions to facilitate loans for consumers interested in purchasing assets such as cars and boats. Becoming the hub through an open platform environment has the potential to strengthen our market position through other companies’ products. For more info on this, see my recent video: Maximizing Value for Customers.
While 2009 was certainly a challenging year, we utilized it as an opportunity to hone in on finding innovative technical solutions to make information more contextually relevant. Never has the ability to marry best-in-class content and authorship with innovative technology been such a central part of what information providers are now doing. It’s an exciting time.
Nancy McKinstry is CEO of Wolters Kluwer, a leading global information company for professionals in law, tax and accounting, health, risk, and compliance. Over 50% of their revenue now comes from online and software services, and Wolters Kluwer aims to increase that to 80%.