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Interview

Ready, AIIM, Aspire (On Demand 2007 )

Ready,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: April 13, 2007

Ready, AIIM, Aspire By Frank Romano April 13, 2007 -- Next week there is a little-known secret that most printers miss or ignore. The On Demand show is actually two shows in one. The other part is a show run by AIIM, a 60-year old association for enterprise content management -- the people who manage documents, content, records, and business processes. Way back when there was the file room. I remember it well (I wonder if any two organizations have ever filed “3M” the same way). But in the 1940s a new technology reared its head -- microfilm. It eroded file room expansion by reducing the volume of paper records. One of my many jobs at the old Mergenthaler Linotype Company was the conversion of all the typographic records to Kodak’s Recordak system in the early 1960s. If you wanted the width information on characters in Garamond No. 3 you inserted the G cartridge and then hit some keys and the microfilm moved to a specific frame. You could then print the page using photographic paper that went through a chemical processor. The processor was built-in and eventually most of the metal parts corroded. So what does this have to do with printing services? Everything. If we only put colored substances on flat substrates we could be locked in a downward spiral of commodization. In time microfilm was replaced by scanning and disks of all kinds. Last year the big AIIM technology on display were automated scanners that turn pages and scan at high resolution. This is a hot capability for converting older books to digital data. A lot of what AIIM people do involves metadata -- the information about the information captured. Having a record is useless unless you can find and use the record. So what does this have to do with printing services? Everything. If we only put colored substances on flat substrates we could be locked in a downward spiral of commodization. We must figure out how to extend our services into areas that add value to the information. When you add value, you add profit. Take digital printing. You can wait until someone comes to you with a job or you can create your own jobs. There are printers who have partnered with companies that manufacture products that require operating and parts manuals. Some of these products may be discontinued. If you were to digitize the manuals, you could offer them on-demand to users of legacy equipment. In other words, the AIIM technologies and the On-Demand technologies work together. So take the time to check out the AIIM exhibitors and see if you can discover value-added services that will help your bottom line. This is, of course, an oversimplification of what AIIM people do. They are mostly IT professionals who are responsible for an organization’s most precious resource -- information. Thus many of the exhibitors offer software and systems for electronic content management. And print is one of the many output alternatives. But most printers headed right for the digital printing equipment and bypassed the AIIM stuff. True, demonstrating software is the most boring activity other than one of my lectures. You have to stand while someone moves a cursor at high speed on a small screen while jabbering away. There has to be a better way to demonstrate software. So take the time to check out the AIIM exhibitors and see if you can discover value-added services that will help your bottom line. What do you think? Please send feedback to Frank by e-mailing him at fxrppr@rit.edu

 

 

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