Koninklijke Boom uitgevers provides multimedia activities in the field of high-quality information. The publishing group, founded in 1841, is constantly faced with many changes in the publishing landscape: “Digitisation has greatly changed the communication possibilities and forms of publishing, as well as the market landscape and competition.
John Boom and his brother Mas are at the helm of the family business Koninklijke Boom as the fifth generation. A company with more than 300 professionals active in educational, professional, scientific and general publishing activities. His father was associated with the company for 50 years, John has been working there unnoticed as a holding director for 25 years. But it never gets boring. “In terms of content, this is an incredibly beautiful profession. You are always busy with the heroes of today, or heroes of the past that are current today. It’s also nice to be busy with something that takes society further, which improves knowledge and leads to greater understanding. In this way, there is always an energy-generating line to the function we fulfil.
The message is king
“Our function in the information chain has remained unchanged: it is about content and application. The message is king and we are looking for the best distribution channels and methods. Our aim is to provide relevant information independently and in complete freedom: transfer of knowledge, experiences, ideas and inspiration. This need for autonomy and meaning has been an important driver of this company for 175 years. This goes hand in hand with a certain humility in our DNA and the awareness that everything stands or falls with quality”.
Niche products that matter
In addition to the position, the publisher’s focus is also very clear: it focuses on education, science, profession and general. So no bestseller culture? “We are a part-ner in markets where a function is and remains for us. This translates into a stable stream of more specialised niche products: publications that matter and innovative teaching materials. For example, Boom publishers provide publications in the areas of politics and history, teaching methods and need-to-know information on all aspects of legal areas, social sciences and humanities, but also NT2, organisational development, strategic and change management and, for example, leadership. We also publish work by leading contemporary philosophers such as René ten Bos, the thinker of the fatherland”.
Organizing rice pudding
The publishing group has to deal with a continuous stream of portals, online courses and e-health pro-gramma. “Publishing is about facilitating information flows and using all channels to optimise the reach of content.
This search had quite a bit of work to do. “Through Broad Horizon [former Abecon] we came into contact with knkPublishing: the complete add-on for publishers based on the Microsoft Dynamics platform. Nicholas Krause, himself the son of a newspaper editor, set up this company in 1988 in order to be able to organise the work processes at media companies more efficiently.
Their software is already widely used in Europe, North America and Asia, and provides support for virtually all forms of media product expression.” “In fact, the only differences between the Dutch and global markets are the language, the link with the Central Book House and the VAT categories. In addition, a number of specific issues have been jointly developed for the purpose of the standard.
Waiting for a Dutch-speaking party to come up with suitable industry-specific software was not an option. That is why we decided, as launching customer for the implementation by Broad Horizon, to cooperate in the development of a Dutch version of knkPublishing. The business automation of the Edu’Actief and Sarphati divisions was strengthened with this publishing solution. This was followed by Boom publishers Amsterdam, Boom publishers The Hague and Boom secondary education. In this way, all activities are gradually brought under one solution”.
Investing in the future
Such a comprehensive IT process requires a considerable investment of time and money. “But this is what it will be worth, once everything is up and running, although it is of course important to recoup the investment as quickly as possible. This software not only helps you work more efficiently, but also ensures that you are better prepared for the future. Ultimately, our entire product matrix can be managed in one environment. An important additional advantage is the familiar Microsoft look & feel, which ensures that users can work with it quickly and easily”.
The continuity of a publishing company benefits from strong products that last a long time. “You need to know exactly where you are making a profit and which activities are not going so well. And sometimes you also have to say goodbye to parts and product forms that do not run as well and have no other added value for the whole. Via our new business application, you can see very quickly whether things are not going well somewhere. You can quickly respond to this, without putting the entire car aside. That’s essential when you’re dealing with so many product types and shapes: knowing exactly where things are going well and where you can improve or change”.
Being and staying fit
What is the secret of this company, which has been labelled ‘Royal’ since its 125th anniversary in 1966? “People, culture, happiness, quality and standing next to people, or focusing on the customers, the users, the market. This combined with an above-average dose of creativity, entrepreneurship and future-oriented ambition. A publishing house is by no means an easy business. You always have to ask yourself what it is really about. Doing everything possible to be fit and stay fit. Moving with the times and daring to make decisions on the basis of reliable management information. You also have to be able to switch quickly between operational and strategic. These are all matters to which a strong IT base will contribute a great deal”.