One of my colleagues, Chris Reisz-Hanson calls the work I do with Print MIS systems, “God’s work” – there is always a sarcastic snicker after that comment. Chris mistakenly thinks what he does is more interesting, I beg to differ. Chris helps printers build custom solutions and integrate existing print software packages. Chris deals in software code, I’m not sure that’s any sexier than Print MIS data.
My other colleague, Jennifer Matt has been converted to my camp because she helps printers find new strategies for growth in this increasingly online market. Again and again she faces the challenge of printer’s not having a trusted system of record to build new strategies on top of – all roads lead back to the Print MIS, that’s where you’ll find me!
Why do people think Print MIS is boring? Well, no matter whom the vendor is (with no offence to any of them); none of the Print MIS systems look particularly interesting or inviting when you log into them. They are usually pretty dull. They are full of data grids and screens with fields to fill out and very few graphics. A far cry from the sexy cousin of the web-to-print applications that invest heavily in making the interface and the user interface more appealing and inviting. When I am looking online to buy something like the great pair of shoes I bought last week, I want to see great pictures, have relevant information made obvious to me and get in and out of the system quickly. All I care about when I complete my order is “when will my shoes arrive?”
The Print MIS system is like a long book with no pictures, the web-to-print is like a picture book with compelling graphics and colors. Long books captivate us and draw us in. They are a long-term journey. Picture books generally keep our interest for a short period of time. Just like a long book is meant to keep us entrenched and captivated, a Print MIS requires us to invest time and energy in an on-going basis.
Get over the fact your Print MIS will never look exciting all by itself – that is not what it is supposed to do. What is beneath the hood is incredibly powerful and can help you transform and grow your business. Data can give you all kinds of information without a lot of effort. It tells you how your business is currently operating, helps determine your profitability at a macro and a micro level, help you gain competitive advantages with the use of that data, and measure Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for your team. Just like getting up in the morning and reading the news about the day (whether online or in print), your Print MIS can always serve up a morning dose of information to get your day started. Data is not boring. Data tells the story of your business.