WhatTheyThink

Premium Commentary & Analysis

The Print Software Evaluation Process

Evaluating print software is a process that desperately needs to evolve. Step back and look at the business objectives of the evaluation as a starting point to reinventing your approach to purchasing software.

PREMIUM CONTENT

Our mission is to provide cogent commentary and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing industry. Support our mission and read articles like this with a Premium Membership.

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

About Jennifer Matt

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.

Discussion

By Abhay Sharma on Jun 17, 2020

Jennifer Matt provides excellent observations on selecting enterprise-level software solutions. In addition we may also consider the heritage and ancestry of the product, is the code base purpose built and designed for growth, or is it legacy frameworks that have been allowed to evolve and grow features in a haphazard way, and mash together of different programming environments? It may also be relevant, especially in times of COVID-19, to explore cloud-based solutions so there is no physical hosting or server on a premises that needs to be managed, Kodak Prinergy and Avanti Slingshot are now cloud-based offerings. Finally please consider the UX (user experience), was it developed by PC-thinkers who put the USB port in the CPU, under the desk, or Mac like designers who put the USB port a few inches away, by your hand, immediately in the keyboard? Jennifer's piece is essential reading for anybody considering a new MIS.

 

By Jennifer Matt on Jun 17, 2020

Thank you Abhay.

Sometime in the last year I read this blog post about a top-tier university dumping Blackboard a major player in the learning space. The primary reason for the departure was user experience. Blackboard has raced to add every feature, every bell, every whistle as fast as it could and the result was a mess of a user experience.

Customers are to blame for this too. Customers always want more, more, more and quite frustratingly they often get more and then never use it! In every software product I have ever built I've always wanted to take the time to build in precise monitoring so that I could go back to customers and say "remember that feature you told me you could not proceed without." We implemented in a hurry 18 months ago and you've utilized it exactly once! I wish I had that data b/c I know it happens all the. Lucky for you customers - no business in their right mind is going to spend precious development time/effort/money on that so you're off the hook.

Ease of use. User experience. The ability to use a system without having to get a graduate degree in it. I have to enter some invoices into an Oracle portal - if you think Print MIS are painful, be thankful you're not using Oracle. Its dreadful.

 

By Mark Myers on Jun 18, 2020

As usual Jennifer has hit the nail on the head in confronting the challenges of new software and their purpose and ultimate worth to the printer. For over 20-years we have been trying to promote the #1 purpose of Estimating Software and that is to get the Estimate to the customer as quickly as possible that most accurately defines the printer’s ability to process the order, when received in a timely and profitable manner, without inherent errors of omission delivered by almost all software solutions...
The purpose is simple... `Those Who Estimate 1ST`, will win 5-15% more bids and that easily relates to almost a 100% increase in gross profits... I’ll be happy to easily illustrate that to all who are interested...
Let me explain... Most systems require a competent estimator to make sure all bases are covered accurately. This is usually accomplished by selecting from a vast array of drop down menus, literally covering the spectrum from selecting the correct stock and its proper size, all the required pre-press and layout information through press details including inks, running rates for various quantities, difficulty options, and through to bindery and delivery protocols and then correctly and accurately delivering the Invoice to the customer. Also all customers are not created equal and may get special pricing ...and who and how is that determined? Many companies also require estimates be reviewed before delivered, to help assure that important items were not omitted.
Now just suppose that some clever software developer (like us) instead of developing functions that may never be used such as Inventory, automated pre-press proofs and functions, connections to delivery services to automate freight costs etc, instead spent the majority of their effort automating the Printer’s processes so that the basic job description fills in and eliminates 90% of the optional drop down functions prevalent on almost every solution available including entering the clients special pricing automatically when their name is selected, and also providing a 100 column excel export function, to integrate with any other optional management software the printer may want to employ.
In addition the above solution can offer untold advantages by being not only super-fast, but useable by almost anyone with a basic knowledge of printing ... yes even the person who may be answering the phone...Can you even imagine the good-will and client response to such quick and accurate quote delivery?
Yes in my opinion the Estimate delivered quickly and accurately into the customers hand is priority one and all the other functions become adjuncts to the Estimate’s main purpose...Getting the order before the competition does, or quickly satisfying the loyal customer with super service. We at www.EstimatorCloud.com have consistently and proudly worked to this end for over 22 years...

 

Discussion

Join the discussion Sign In or Become a Member, doing so is simple and free