Acknowledged as the publishing world’s first outsourcing vendor, MPS is closing in on its 50th anniversary, in 2020. Beginning as a production unit established by Macmillan to serve the academic and STM publishing community, MPS has gone on to become a pioneer in delivering large-scale and complex production projects.
The company’s acquisition by ADI in 2011 marked its transformation into an agile, client-focused operation with major investments in platform technology and infrastructure. The acquisitions of Electronic Publishing Services, Element, and TSI Evolve soon followed, expanding a company that in March 2015 raised $25 million in growth capital through a qualified institutional placement. More recently, MPS acquired Tata Interactive Systems (including its entities in Germany, India, and Switzerland) and entered the enterprise learning space.
“In the last three years, we have developed a thriving platform solutions business that has disrupted the publishing outsourcing market,” CEO Rahul Arora says. “We have intentionally developed a separate line of platform solutions that allow us to disrupt from within. So, while our content solutions business—authoring, development, production, and transformation—continues to be sought after by clients, it is our emphasis on technology-led thinking and implementation that differentiates us.”
MPS platforms such as DigiCore (content creation, production, and transformation), Magplus (mobile app production and delivery), and Think360 (content management, delivery, fulfillment, and client management) aim to solve complex publishing problems through intuitive yet deep platform technology. “Our platform business, which grew by 20% last year, represents around 20% of our revenues,” says Arora, who wants “MPS to stand for Make Publishing Smarter, and to empower client differentiation and competitiveness through smarter publishing.”
“Our Vision 2023 is about making publishing transparent and happen in real time while focusing on learning outcomes,” Arora says. “And our triple-e core principles and values—excellence, empathy, and efficiency—will carry us to this goal.”
These principles have driven many recent platform implementations. Understanding one nonprofit educational publishing client’s needs has enabled the MPS team to deliver a customized version of DigiCore that fully integrates the production process (from author submission and Word-based lessons and chapters to print and platform delivery) using cloud-based solutions, editorial tools, and scalable production services. The comprehensive solution, implemented within six weeks, includes several modules of DigiCore (such as auto-composition tool DigiComp and XML-based review and corrections tool DigiEdit) and integration with third-party services.
Meanwhile, the new journals platform for the Royal College of Nursing has been created with the modern nursing professional in mind and is based on the MPS ScholarStor technology. “The mobile experience is significantly enhanced through adaptive design to ensure that the latest developments and best-practice guidance are easily available on any device,” Arora says. “Users can now access journal content ahead of print, as well as advanced article metrics, which include usage, captures, mentions in news articles or blog posts, social media interactions, and citations. Users can also personalize their experience, select their areas of interest, and choose the frequency of their e-alerts.”
MPS was also approached by Project Counter, which provides the standards that enable the knowledge community to count the use of electronic resources, to build a cloud-based custom platform for validating report formatting per Counter 5 standards. “Additionally, we developed another custom tool for harvesting consortium reports per the Release 5 code of practice,” Arora says, adding that the Counter 4 validation platform, which has been running for the past five years, was also developed and maintained by MPS.
Overall, MPS North America is focused on content creation and development for pre-K through higher-ed and adult education markets across all disciplines. “Most recently, we are meeting an increased demand for digital content, both converted and newly created,” Arora says. “New and evolving content authoring tools continue to impact the way content is developed and delivered. MPS is a leader in providing content solutions through third-party content authoring tools, such as Gutenberg Technology and Habitat.”
An increased demand for publishing U.S. content in international markets has seen MPS ramping up its capacity to translate, develop, and produce content in other languages as well as to adapt existing U.S.-centric programs to other markets. In one project, the team enhanced its capacity to translate large volumes of English textbooks into Arabic by developing content production processes that accommodate the language’s specialized requirements. “In some cases, deep knowledge of cultural sensitivities aligned with certain geographies is required,” Arora says. “It is not just about having the right workflow or the latest automation.”
It is also not all about work at MPS. Its active CSR programs, on which the company has spent more than $300,000 already this year, include activities that support girls’ education, computer education for underprivileged students, mental health care, care for physically challenged children, and remedial education for students with learning disabilities.