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How is Cloud Computing Impacting Print Production?

Published on April 12, 2012

CEO of Caslon Rab Govil answers the question of cloud computing's impact on the printing community. and how printers should look to incorporate the cloud into their business.

My name is Rab Govil.  I’m the CEO of Caslon.  One of the subjects that’s very near and dear to my heart is the sole area of Cloud Computing.  The question that is always asked from me from the marketing space or the print production provider space is yeah, this Cloud Computing thing is a big thing in the Valley, but what’s that got to do with us.  How is that going to impact us?  How does that change the way we deliver our services?  Because in the end, we are not in the business of moving bits; we are in the business of moving atoms.  We still have to put images and toner or ink on paper to get something out.

Well, I think the best way to explain the impact of Cloud Computing on our paradigms is that in our current process, if you look at the cycle time of any piece of message, or any piece of direct mail, or a package or packaging that ends up on a shelf, it has a long gestation process.  The production part of this is, generally, we like to think it is about ten percent of the overall cycle time.  Ninety percent of the cycle time in any business process is all the coordination, managing the content, creating all the different versioning, attaching the data to it, getting the approvals; if you’re sending out direct mail getting the legal people to approve of the message that is going out.  

It requires a huge amount of collaboration that needs to happen between a diverse set of parties that are spread out geographically.  And in an international corporation, they might not even spread out geographically within the country, but all over the world.  To enable that, Cloud Computing is becoming more and more of a way that business is done, whether you call it software as a service.  But this level of functionality will be delivered on the Cloud, and the only thing any of the providers will need is a Web browser to log-in and do the work that is necessary to do. 

So once this collaboration starts moving to the Cloud, it has some very meaningful impact on industry.  The first and foremost important thing is, any of your business rules, any of your data processing, any of your content conversation is in the Cloud.  So once you have all this information in the Cloud, you can create fundamentally print-ready jobs that can be shipped to any production facility around the country.  Now we think to be able to do this, especially for relevant type of printing or printing that is much more targeted, the right standards don’t exist.  There are some technology gaps that need to be enabled.

So us, as managers of PODI, we are starting a new initiative in the Cloud printing area where we’re going to be creating standards that tie these Cloud and software and services environment to all the different production environments on the worldwide.  A long-term vision is an enterprise, like AT&T, or an enterprise like Procter & Gamble, will work in the Cloud to kind of create their packaging.  They would use some sort of 3-D printer to actually market, if that’s what they really need to market—actually, even if it’s a product.  And then they should be able to ship it anywhere in the world to get produced literally on the click of a button.

So that’s where I think Cloud Computing is going and it will have a fundamental impact on the way business is done.

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