Information gathering tool

Why?

Elsevier had multiple forms that were used to gather journal information across the business, often with variation between the publishing divisions. Information was not gathered in a consistent manner and there was no central repository for the information, which led to discrepancies in the fulfillment system as well as several other systems. The impact of incorrect information to Elsevier is substantial, as the fulfillment system is the feeder for several other major systems.

What?

In order to improve this situation, the Sysdoc team, supported by key stakeholders from across the business, met with all parties concerned with journal information. This included Global Rights, Publishing, Finance, Production, the Publishing Divisions and representatives for each of the impacted systems.

Each department or system documented:
  • Their current workflows and what information was vital to them.
  • Where that information came from in order to establish the status quo.
A series of workshops were held, in the UK, US and Netherlands, to determine the correct order of events. Global Rights were deemed to be the central neutral point for information as such it was decided they would therefore be the business owners of the process. This role was designed to:
  • Check mandatory information was complete and correct
  • Obtain relevant sign offs from finance, production, legal and fulfilment prior to disseminating the information to all parties concerned.

How?

This stage of the process was a huge learning curve for all involved. Departments had to understand processes outside of their own in order to create the Information Gathering Tool. Working with such a large group of people meant considering not only individual or departmental aims within the project, but also those of others across the business.

Undertaking such detailed analysis at the beginning of the project was of huge benefit to all involved. Despite being incredibly time consuming, it enabled each team to review their own processes and eliminate unnecessary steps. It also allowed people to learn more about the life cycle of a journal and to understand the changes a journal can go through in its lifetime.

Results

As a result of the project:

  • It facilitated the sharing of ideas and best practice across the publishing divisions.
  • Multiple processes and forms were consolidated to a single global process and form.
  • The creation of the Information Gathering (IGT) Tool led to a consistent approach for both divisions and reduced the volume of missing or incorrect data.
Beyond the project:

Starting as a hard copy form, the IGT has further developed since the project. In 2008, a stakeholder group made up of representatives from across the business came together to work on automating the IGT via the Elsevier Intranet. March 2009 saw the launch of IGT Online and to date 70 have been processed online. Feedback on this process is constantly being gathered and reviewed and updates are made via quarterly releases, the latest of which was performed in November 2009. Moving to the intranet has made the IGT process more efficient and easier for all involved. Automated updates inform all relevant parties of the progress of the IGT and alert sign offs to the fact that they need to review and approve an IGT. The role of the Process Managers has transformed also – their time is now focused on pushing IGTs through the system as quickly and accurately as possible, proactively chasing anyone holding up the process.