Case Studies

Founded in 1683, Brill is a publishing house with a rich history and a strong international focus. The company’s headquarters is in Leiden, The Netherlands, where most of the 150-staff work. Next to that, Brill has offices in Boston (US), Singapore (SG) and Paderborn (Germany). Brill publishes over 1200 books per year in both print and electronic format, and more than 250 journals. Brill also offers prestigious reference works and primary source materials.

The Challenge

As an established publisher, Brill had many years of customer records which had been created in multiple and independent platforms and datasets resulting in duplicate and ambiguous records. Further, with such a broad portfolio of content types, it was difficult to get a complete sense of customers and their product entitlements across journals, books, reference works, and other online products. In terms of entitlements, the coexistence of multiple accounts for customers led to problems with giving access.

Brill realized that with a 360-degree view of each customer and clear links between data held in multiple systems, they would be able to better serve their clients while empowering staff and management.

Brill therefore approached Ringgold with both strategic and tactical requirements:

  • Enhance business intelligence with trustworthy, accurate analysis and multi-faceted reporting
  • Create efficiencies for staff with clean data for both legacy customers and new licensees
  • Bring uniformity to Brill’s systems, so all systems tell the same story about each client
  • Facilitate linking between records relating to paid subscriptions and online entitlements
  • Improve customer service and access control with a clearly linked customer holdings and consolidated entitlement data
  • Capture total engagement & enable meaningful reports by joining authors and other key individuals to their institutions
  • Integrate customer data from journal acquisitions
  • Enable smooth data migration from one system to another

The Solution

Legacy records

Brill first addressed their existing customer records and sent Ringgold customer data for its key products – journals, books, reference works and electronic products – for an Identify Audit. Ringgold audited the records and normalized them against the Identify Database, delivering to Brill the Ringgold ID plus rich descriptive metadata and upward-hierarchy records for each customer.

The resulting audit files showed that a large proportion of the records belonged to duplicate organizations, but Brill was now in a position to use the Ringgold ID to link duplicate records together with confidence. With a unique Ringgold ID allocated to every organizational customer, Brill could start to build up a comprehensive and accurate view of each customer’s product portfolio and entitlements.

New records

Next, Brill developed a process for new customer records. Staff were trained to search Identify Online and allocate a Ringgold ID to each new record. Where an organization did not currently exist in the database, the Validate service was used to request a new Ringgold ID. Ringgold then built the full Identify record, with associated metadata and the organizational hierarchy. Thus, Brill now had a complete set of master Identify records for all customers. Brill also developed rules for data governance and for entitlement levels, ensuring that customer records were treated in a manner consistent with their licensing policies.

Ringgold ID integration across all systems

Now that Ringgold IDs were available for all legacy records and a process put in place to capture Ringgold IDs for new customers, Brill began work to implement Ringgold IDs across all of its systems.

Brill talked to other publishers that had integrated the Ringgold ID into their systems and developed an implementation plan. A cross systems project was set up with a project sponsor. Systems experts were involved from the outset to allow a smooth integration of the Identify Audit files. Leading systems were identified and these housed the Ringgold IDs when they were first allocated, either via Audit or by Brill staff. The leading systems fed information to the second line systems and reporting systems, ensuring that data about customers could be smoothly transmitted across all relevant systems upon which staff and management rely. Time was also taken to educate staff on the value of using the Ringgold ID to improve process efficiency.

The entire project took six to seven months to complete, including the Identify Audit work.

The Result

The integration of the Ringgold ID as a unifying identifier was successful. Specific outcomes were as follows:

  • Improved accuracy and utility of reporting: more than 70% of Brill’s records were duplicates (based on Academic top level), so using the Ringgold ID to join data has had a significant impact. Usage of reporting tools has tripled, thanks to their increased trustworthiness. Brill was also able to retire multiple Excel spreadsheets, as they were no longer necessary. Information is now shared more widely across the company.
  • Decrease of access claims: fewer resources are needed in Customer Service to resolve claims, and those resources have been deployed elsewhere.
  • Increased number of individual contact records which now have a Ringgold ID to define their institutional affiliations, empowering the Marketing & Sales Department.
  • Facilitated processes efficiency (access management, marketing, e-commerce)
  • Adoption of Ringgold ID simplifies ongoing integration tasks and new solution development.
  • Brill’s data is now dynamic, not static. Applications that use master data play different roles: create, ingest and analyze records.
  • Less time required to accurately import customer data, such as from newly-acquired products.

  Brill has seen significant process efficiencies from the implementation of the Ringgold ID across systems.
We have now reached a 360-degree view of customer data intelligence which allows us to make better choices to improve the customer experience and move towards the publishing of the future.  

Fabio Bertolini, Project Manager, Brill