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The Real Work of Software Optimization

Learning is the real work of software optimization. Once you really learn the application you own it. Once you own it, then you have the chance of reaching its full potential inside your organization.


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About Jennifer Matt

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.


By Cliff Hollingsworth on May 20, 2020

Jennifer--How can we become friends?? FINALLY -- someone in trade journalism who gets it. Where have you been for the last 15 years?? [email protected]


By Jennifer Matt on May 20, 2020


You mean friends like on Facebook right? ;-)

I have been writing for WTT for almost 10 years (whoa).

There's a lot I've changed my mind about after moving from working for print software vendors to the direct consulting world. I like to say that what my team and I do is help printers optimize the software they have but really what we do is help them accept the truth - there's no magic bullet.

Real software optimization that delivers real ROI is hard, boring, incremental work. AND the good news; so many companies aren't willing to do it so it's a really good competitive advantage.

That is why there are companies out there who bought the same Print MIS for the same price from the same vendor at the same time who are in TOTALLY different places with it. One is threatening to sue the vendor the other is experiencing year-over-year profitable growth b/c they have transformed every aspect of their business to be digitally optimized.


By Cliff Hollingsworth on May 20, 2020

I don't mean FB, I mean like real friends. I think that we see the world through a similar lens and our respective experiences are complimentary. Look me up on LinkedIn at


By Jennifer Matt on May 20, 2020

I was joking about the Facebook part ;-) Just connected with you on LinkedIn.


By Robert Godwin on May 21, 2020

I am rarely concerned about what you say about software. The value in your articles is what you have observed about people.
Like food that is not eaten, software is worthless unless it used.

P.S. I never imagined WTT as a dating service...


By Jennifer Matt on May 21, 2020


Oh ya. I know technology companies are valued higher for lots of reasons. But the software isn't the special sauce. The leaders who are able to get their people to truly adopt the software is where all the value resides. I just spoke with a customer today; they were REALLY resistant; you know the kind of resistance that hires lawyers b/c software isn't working as they think it should. Guess what COVID-19 has done to that resistance? Crushed it. I heard this sentence that just made me want to scream... (with joy).

"oh today; if we have resistance from our staff about moving into a more digital workflow; we just tell them that if they won't do it, we'll find someone who will. - Hallelujah!

That ends that conversation. OMG. The resistance had been winning at this customer for 20+ months; now COVID-19 killed it out of necessity. No more complaining, no more excuses, no more resistance. Evolve b/c WE HAVE TO. This is going to sound crazy but this is what I like about crisis - it simply negates all the power of the resistance and allows evolution to skip steps (in the right direction).


By Robert Godwin on May 21, 2020

Crisis = danger + opportunity

Not crazy. It is reality.As a change angent for many years, My collegues and I have heard it all. Once, when the head estimator didn't like the upgrade from hand written estimates to a software program, I started the meeting by awarding her department a box of pencils, each broken in half. Didn't win any friends, but the point was made.


By Mark Myers on May 27, 2020

Jennifer et al:
This really hit home. About 15 years ago I sold my software to a very large and sophisticated 2 plant Chicago Printer who purchased it at the time because of its ease of use...
They also had an extensive estimating department comprised of maybe 5 or 7 full timers. Before they even completed the training a large well known leader in the industry convinced them to buy their expensive system... The president told me that they could never get it to operate properly so they abandoned it and developed their own system in Excel over the years.
Their Excel program was exceedingly detailed and required each estimator to refer to numerous tables to enter difficulty levels, rates based on each selected quantity, paper pricing for each selected quantity, Press speeds based on a perceived difficulty and stock thickness... and rife with opportunities for judgement calls to vary between each of their various estimating staff, which also had input from their extensive sales team.
Several months ago they hired an experienced estimator and assigned her to learn our new Cloud Program, www.EstimatorCloud.com after a few months of dedicated learning they are finally ready to implement the new program as it automates almost 100% of all the complex inputs needed to operate their in-house Excel system.
Additionally they also wanted to have a system that could be easily used by their sales staff, recognizing that it would produce a 5%-15% increase in sales and also make up for the reduced estimating staff caused by COVID-19.
Your article was dead on as they finally... with much less work... achieved their goal by assigning a dedicated estimator to implement the program...
I cannot tell you how much your article resonated with me as we have been in the middle of this scenario with very positive results.
Thanks again Mark L Myers CEO www.EstimatorCloud.com



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