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Print Business Investments: Presses vs. Software

Successful print companies have always been re-investing in their business to remain competitors. Up until now, that investment centered around production equipment and systems. Technology in the form of software will be a primary differentiator moving forward.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: August 2, 2017

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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. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Robert Godwin on Aug 02, 2017

Excellent points on getting the full value out of the technology adopted into a business. Investing in the business intelligence gathered with every order is a magnifying glass into your customer's buying habits as well your operational efficiency. Hire a DB admin that can generate reports on activity and trends. So many printers feel the job is done once it is on the loading dock. There is so much value in post delivery analysis. Lessons learned is a good way to think about it.

 

By Jacob Aizikowitz on Aug 02, 2017

Indeed an excellent article.
So, being a SW Vendor I must be biased, but I still believe that this article is on the mark and to the point.
Transforming a Print business to become Digital Savvy and be able to succeed in face of the digital disruption around us, means exactly what's Jennifer is discussing and pointing out.

No digital agency will think twice about having strong internal resources in web programming, data related programming or management, JavaScript, etc. And embracing this kind of thinking is critical.

We, the SW Vendors, continue to have the challenge of creating and delivering the technologies that can become part of our customers Technology Stack, and our business success certainly depends on what we choose to create and deliver (and many other things of course). However, the type of thinking outlined by Jennifer is key for our customers to embrace in order to translate technology to business success.

 

By Jennifer Matt on Aug 02, 2017

Jacob,

The best thing happening in our industry is that the customer's of print are starting to get REALLY clear about their software needs. The last 5 RFP's I've been involved with spelled out software needs over many, many pages, then had one paragraph about all the print that comes with the deal.

The customer needs the printer to lead with technology, they are NOT leaving this to chance. Their RFPs are 80/20 now - 80% tech, 20% print. Nothing drives change faster than the revenue line. I always like to work very close to that line (where new revenue is generated) b/c the justification for the investment is self-evident.

As always I'm optimistic.

Jen

 

By Robert Godwin on Aug 02, 2017

Jen,
"The customer needs the printer to lead with technology, they are NOT leaving this to chance. "

This is exactly the opportunity that Innerworkings, Williams Lea TAG, and other BPO's have seen and exploited, much to the chagrin of printer's around the world. If the printers want to maintain their direct relationship with their customers, they need to understand the value their customer's need from them. Listen to how the customer needs to do business, and respond with a solution.

 

By steve harney on Aug 03, 2017

Jennifer, great article. Agree on all points. We have researched for over a year now the best option to move to a more automated MIS/portal platform. We clearly see our future in the distributed marketing market and have made headway in new profitable opportunities.
Our challenge is finding the team to run and implement. Have had standing ads for over 6 months looking for System admin/Tech Director roles. Offering $100K +. Very disappointed in our ability to attract these type of folks. Any recommendations on what the ideal prospective associate should have for skill sets I might add or change?
Thanks in advance !

Blessings
Steve

 

By Jennifer Matt on Aug 03, 2017

Steve,

I hear this EVERYWHERE.

I wish our politicians would stop talking about job creation and start talking about talent creation. In particular technical talent creation.

Almost every business we work with is saying the same thing. We need talented people and can't find them!

I would change your job description from Sys Admin to something more strategic. VP Technology. Sys Admin sounds like you want someone to restart computers, VP Tech says you want someone on the leadership team (which every print business today should have a technical resource involved in leadership decisions).

I had a chance to briefly meet Meghan Smith (former CTO of the USA under Obama). She was saying how crazy it was to think about our government making decisions without a technical person at the table. Meghan was an early employee of Google that Obama recruited away from Google. Good to have someone who has experience with scalable tech in our government. (not so much anymore ;-(

Our businesses are the same way - virtually everything you do has a technical element to it.

Make your job description more appealing, more leadership role. You need a player/coach. Someone who can step in and do things but also have a vision and leadership skills.

Jen

 

By Robert Godwin on Aug 03, 2017

I spoke with a tech group today that addressed the talent issue in a very clever way. They offer a scholarship to a local technology school. The benefit is that the recipient will intern with the company. Then they get the chance to evaluate the cream of the crop candidates in their environment.

I will steal this approach ASAP!

 

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