Understanding institutions at a glance

One of the main benefits to publishers of a ‘single customer view’ is the means to combine data from different sources into a one-page ‘at a glance’ overview of each institution. This might present a mix of existing data plus extra calculated metrics, and can be extremely valuable for sales, marketing, editorial and customer service staff. Here we discuss some of the most useful things to include.

1. Subscriptions. A simple list of the customer’s current subscriptions or access is a great starting point, and might also aim to distinguish between titles purchased directly and those with ‘inherited’ access via another institution or consortium. Summary financial statistics can also be derived to help spot trends, such as a customer’s total subscription value this year and last year.

2. Usage. Metrics here might include the total number of downloads (overall and per title) for this year and last year – again highlighting recent trends. Flagging titles with ‘no usage’ and ‘some usage’ can also be a helpful overall indicator. Combining usage with subscription data makes it possible to calculate ‘cost per download’ metrics – extremely useful since library customers are often calculating those same figures themselves to assess each title’s value for money.

3. Related contacts. How many affiliated authors, online registrants, alert recipients, pay-per-view purchasers, or conference attendees do you have at each organisation? These can all be inferred using institution name or email domain data already held for all those types of individuals. This indicates the overall ‘health’ of the relationship, and contact counts give really valuable ‘ammunition’ to sales staff, as well as helping to spot possible up-sell or cross-sell opportunities. Contact info for key buying contacts is also a great thing to highlight here.

4. Tiers and types. It’s useful to profile institutions and display various headline metrics as part of the one-page summary view, making quick review and comparison easy. Profiling data might include sector (eg. university, hospital, corporate), tier (small, medium, large), counts (numbers of staff or students), and location (city, state, country, continent). This might come from internal systems or from other external resources such as OrgRef.

5. Identifiers. Creating a ‘single customer view’ will typically throw up multiple identifiers for each unique institution – a combination of subscriber IDs, access IDs, names and alternative names, IP ranges, plus possibly an OrgRef ID. Listing all these identifiers within the ‘at a glance’ view provides a clear connection to the various source systems from which the summary page has been derived, and also helps staff to understand how everything fits together.