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FREE: The NEW EFI and drupa: An exclusive interview with Guy Gecht

Yesterday in Dusseldorf,

By Gail Nickel-Kailing
Published: January 30, 2004

Yesterday in Dusseldorf, at the drupa International Media Conference, EFI rolled out a new name and a new logo, and clarified its global product and brand strategies. To give a preview of their drupa plans, CEO Guy Gecht squeezed a little time out of his very busy schedule to talk with WhatTheyThink.com about the new branding and EFI's plans for the Olympics of Print!

WTT: Thanks, Guy, for taking the time to talk with us in the midst of all the flurry! Let's talk about why you are undertaking this effort to roll out a new name and a new branding program; everyone already knows you as EFI anyway.

GG: I agree - this isn't really a name change. Lots of people already call us EFI, even though the official name has been Electronics for Imaging for some time. What has changed is that we've evolved to offering a broader portfolio outside electronics, with most products that aren't hardware related.

We wanted to present EFI as one brand and confirm our commitment to the quality and integrity of our products. And we want our users to know that the products they get from us will be fully integrated and will bring the innovation, quality and performance that end customers should expect from EFI.

WTT: What happens to all the products from the acquisitions? Which ones will keep their names, which ones will be rolled into EFI?

GG: Last year, 2003, was a year of acquisitions for EFI. We're committed to all of our new products. We've added more people to the support and engineering of the Printcafe MIS products, we're pushing harder to market the Best proofing products, and we're putting our muscle behind the Micropress and DigitalStoreFront.

But when it comes to branding, we're taking this opportunity to reintroduce ourselves and communicate one brand, one look and feel, and one user experience  one company. And that one company is EFI. We've made a lot of changes with the acquisitions and new products and our move to delivering software, and we want people to know who we are and what we represent now.

WTT: You talk of end-to-end solutions," is that contradictory to the "open architecture" and "any in/any out" that we have talked about in the past?

GG: Actually they're not contradictory at all, they're really different things. When people are looking at EFI technology - for example, an MIS system, a Fiery, and a Best proofer - we want them to be comfortable knowing these components work well together, that they are not simply point solutions.

With end-to-end solutions, no matter where you are in the workflow or production process, whatever product you need, we have a product to meet that need. From purchasing to web submission to fulfillment to proofingEFI has a solution.

In many cases people already have legacy systems or will assemble components from a number of companies, and we will keep our open architecture to ensure that our partners and other vendors can connect to the EFI products. Our open architecture is based on the JDF open standard and CIP4 specifications that simplify integration with printing equipment and other components; we don't have a proprietary model.

WTT: What are you going to do with five (PrintChannel, PrintSmith, PrinterSite, Velocity Exchange, and T/R Systems Digital Storefront) web storefronts? Will you be combining any of them or eliminating some and keeping others?

GG: PrintSmithSite will still be sold to PrintSmith customers with features for the quick printing market. Ultimately, the product will also include some of the document submission features in Velocity Exchange.

Hagen, Logic and PSI will continue to have the PrinterSite product, which will include a fulfillment catalog, RFQ capabilities, variable print capabilities, etc., with the interfaces tailored around the commercial printers' needs.

The way the products exist today is very market-specific. We'll continue to have different names for them, based on the market into which we are selling. But the end users will start to see more and more benefits by us leveraging the development of the underlying Web technology.

WTT: Will there be any organizational changes following the re-branding, such as realignment of sales channels, for example?

GG: During the integration planning for Printcafe and T/R Systems, we did a small re-organization to take into account our goals. This was completed at the beginning of January.

Our sales organization is focused on execution across many different distribution channels and it works! We deliver different types of products through different routes to the market. With the Fiery, for instance, we have had phenomenal success working with our partners. We're certainly not planning to change that; it works extremely well.

If you look at our MIS products, they have a very intensive sales cycle and require a lot of interaction with end user, so we will continue to sell those products direct.

More importantly, we want our users to know that whether they buy an EFI product directly or indirectly, we are one sales organization, one support organization and one marketing organization. Regardless of where our users buy our products, we fully support the products and are committed to a fully integrated product line.

Our goal is to help the industry  from commercial printers to graphic designers  to be more efficient and more successful. It's not about how many products we have, but how we automate and optimize the print workflow.

WTT: What are your top priorities for 2004? Where are you going from here?

GG: Next is to execute; we have the right products and the right people to do that! We want to translate that into end-user success, where people really benefit from what EFI has done in the last year. Our priority now is integration; we have a lot of value that we need to incorporate for end user success.

We'll continue to look to add products to offer under the EFI umbrella. In some cases we will develop them ourselves, in some cases we will partner with other companies  we have had a 14-year partnership with Adobe, for example. Where we believe we should acquire existing solutions  and if we come across an interesting opportunity that will benefit our end users  we will.

WTT: Let's talk about the "integrated solutions" you'll be showing at drupa. What are you most excited about?

GG: We're very excited about participating in drupa 2004. All the initial indications tell us that people will be looking at applications, workflow, and software, and that's exactly what we're going to be showing. We are a technology company and we hope the new EFI brand reflects the value of the innovation and technology we are bringing to market.

We're bringing some great new innovations to drupa. Take our variable data solution. We will be showing complete personalization on the Kodak Versamark 2000 ppm printer, running at full rated speed. That is something that has been talked about and a lot of people said it was physically impossible. We're doing it!

We'll have the next generation software for the Fiery, for OneFlow, and a lot of improvements to the MIS systems  new features and JDF-connectivity. We'll also be demonstrating the first of our internal connectivity at drupa between our MIS, workflow, and Fiery products. This is the first step in the end to end solution we discussed before.

There will be other announcements at drupa  we don't want to tell you everything that we'll be showing! All of EFI's products and solutions will have innovative new features designed to help our users be more productive, creativeand profitable.

WTT: Thanks again, Guy. We're looking forward to seeing the new EFI at drupa!

 

 

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