Moving from documents to data in the Standards Publishing industry

In a very informative and recently published report by Outsell, lead analyst Tatiana Khayrullina confirms what Forrester described earlier in its ‘Future of Documents’ report:   

“Despite more than 30 years of mainstream use of office authoring tools, not much has changed. Increasingly, enterprises deliver documents to customers in forms that aren’t fit for purpose. The next decade will reveal new cloud-native, data-driven, and structured approaches to document authoring.” 
Forrester, The Future Of Documents, December 2020.

The ‘Segment view: Global Standards Publishing 2021’ report by Outsell is a refresh of the 2020 report ‘Market Size, Share, Forecast and Trends: Global Standards Publishing’. It provides a view of the size and structure of the market in 2020 and its key drivers and disruptors. Outsell conducted interviews with leading standards development organizations, resellers, and technology vendors, creating a qualitative picture of market drivers, disruptors, and the competitive landscape.

Key trends and market drivers

One of the key trends that Outsell describes in detail is the digital transformation – from authoring to standards as data:

“A single-document PDF remained a leading delivery method and will persist for a few years more. However, we have seen steps in 2020 towards both consumption and authoring standards in an XML-first format. This indicates that the industry is approaching a milestone in creating a digital value chain from inception through drafting to consumption and maintenance.”
Outsell, ‘Segment view: Global Standards Publishing 2021’, May 2021

As described in an earlier Fonto blog post: while most of us are still trapped by the mental model of paper – pages, folders, and files, we’re slowly moving from documents to data. Data that are fit for purpose i.e. machine-readable. 

Outsell confirms this trend, for the standardization industry, by stating that one of the long-term goals of digital transformation is the development of machine-readable standards, which are firmly on the strategic agendas of national standards bodies (e.g., BSI, NEN, and DIN) and SDOs (e.g., ASTM, SAE International, and IEEE) and in the ISO roadmap.

Smart Standards

Disruption is on its way, though we know from experience, in other industries, that it will take time. Changing (human) behaviour is never easy, but that does not stop us from collaborating with ISO and IEC on the Smart Standards project with the view to bringing together authoring, commenting, and editing using the NISO-STS schema. 

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