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Kodak's Jon Bracken on the Graphic User Group Community

Published on November 13, 2012

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink; and I’m here with Jon Bracken, who’s the General Manager of Unified Workflow for Kodak. Welcome.

Jon Bracken: Welcome, hi.

Cary Sherburne: You know, we’re here today to talk about your user’s group, the Graphic Users Group. And you know, we see more and more companies in the industry putting these groups together, of course, the heritage of your group goes way back; you may have been one of the first.

Jon Bracken: Yeah, I think the Graphic User Association really started in, way back in the days of Scitex and then Creo and really, we’ve got a continuity. And many of the members were, you know, right there back at the beginning.

Cary Sherburne: And so, from the perspective of Kodak as a supplier to the industry you’re obviously investing a significant amount of resources in this group in helping them and sustaining them and so on, so what’s the benefit?

Jon Bracken: The Graphic User Association is a, really a community. And the community is really built about our customers. And we are equal participants in it, you know, I really like to think that we are in this industry together. And we provide technology and we provide products and solutions. And they provide the industry insight that we’re looking for to ensure that our solutions get better and better.

Cary Sherburne: And so – and then from the user perspective, they have the opportunity to talk to your engineers and your executives and each other and so…

Jon Bracken: Yeah, I think that’s a really important good point, not only through the conferences, and obviously we’ve done conferences now regularly in the U.S. and Europe, but also we’re starting to do them in Asia Pacific as well.

Cary Sherburne: Oh, that’s great.

Jon Bracken: It’s that sort of annual event where we bring development and product management teams and the customers can directly engage with them to test new ideas, but also to give feedback on current products and where they go next, but also the interaction with one another, which is, of course, important that we share best practice, we share knowledge. And that through that the industry just gets better and the solutions get better.

Cary Sherburne: Now, it started out, obviously, as kind of prepress and quite a technical group. How do you see that changing over time?

Jon Bracken: Well it’s interesting; I think the technical attributes of the community are really key to its success into the future. If you look at other conferences and forums and groups, you know, the business needs are quite well met. But I think that it’s in the technical nature of the conference and its application to business need is really where the strength is. Because sometimes ideas about new business opportunity comes from our customer’s customers, but often it comes from the capability of the technology. And I think that two-way street is vital. So, if I was to look on how it extends, it was originally very much a prepress, maybe even a computer to plate thing through its history. Now, it’s much broader, now it encompasses package. And we had a great group and set of customers at packaging at the last conference. It extends very much into digital printing and also in the place where I think many of our customers sit is in that hybrid production where they have both conventional printing technologies and digital printing technologies, and they’re looking at how that range of production capability enables them to do more rich applications for their customers.

Cary Sherburne: You know, that’s great. And it’s really good to see the suppliers to the industry serve stepping up to this education need and, you know, providing the forum. So congratulations for doing that for all these many years.

John Bracken: Thank you.

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