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Is MIS Going into the Cloud?

There were two interesting announcements made by major suppliers last week. These were both in the area of MIS systems for printers. One might ask what is the attraction of acquiring an MIS company?

By Andrew Tribute
Published: December 13, 2011


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By Chuck Gehman on Dec 13, 2011

Good article Andy. You raise some excellent questions.

EFI and Marc Olin have been great at communicating their goals and intentions through the many acquisitions they have made.

The Alphagraph announcement seems simple to understand-- they acquired a large number of additional customers, in a market where they have lesser share position than in North America going in, complementing an increasingly robust position they are building globally.

In Cary Sherburne's recent article, it was explicitly stated that "Alphagraph solutions including Prinance, Printy, Web.Connect, Shop.Connect, Kreativ.Connect and Stratos i. Point will continue to be developed, supported and sold for existing customers, but no longer be offered to new customers", which can only mean that eventually customers will gravitate toward one of the leading portfolio products in the EFI suite. Or go somewhere else, but that is unlikely because another thing that was clearly articulated is that EFI is thrilled with the caliber of the Alphagraph employees and their ability to keep those new-to-EFI customers happy and sell them more EFI solutions.

Your premise that these announcements are the harbinger of MIS becoming a cloud-based service is astute: certainly MIS systems will be delivered to print service providers that way. But cloud computing is a separate benefit from those that companies gain from buying an MIS or ERP system. Its benefits derive form IT hardware and operating system savings, personnel savings, energy savings, etc., versus the core business improvement benefits that MIS provides.

Moving on to the Hiflex announcement, things get a little less transparent and no one from either company involved has come forward to shed light yet, that I have seen. The announcement was described in various media outlets as an acquisition of "Web2Print", and/or cloud technology-- both of which are a bit of a stretch. You hit the nail on the head, as far as I can tell- the cloud part of this announcement was all hype. Hiflex is an MIS system that once had great promise of deep workflow integration via JDF, and ended up not really deliver on those promises to customers. The web2print part of Hiflex can only be described as an add-on, and is based on the open source Drupal system, which is terrific, but anyone can go download it and integrate it with their own MIS or workflow environment.

I will be looking forward to the developments that come out of both of these bold moves. One thing I will not be looking forward to is Kodak trying to reenter this market. That went poorly on the first attempt, and would be difficult and distracting for them.


By Clint Bolte on Dec 13, 2011

It is interesting that many corporations with in-plants are expressing hesitation about embracing MIS from a cloud perspective for IT security purposes. There number one concern seems to be that nothing be allowed to breach their firewall.

The logical solution would seem to be that this MIS app should utilize the cloud capacity within the corporate firewall since there are myriad PCs and computers within the corporate network.

I'm sure this issue will probably be addressed in marketing literature.


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