By Michael Reiher, president of Good2Go Software
Print shops with under 20 employees have typically been left behind when it comes to automation, mostly due to high up-front costs, and the in-house technical skills required to support such solutions. The environment is changing and changing quickly. Cloud based, Software as a Service (SaaS), solutions such as Good2Go used to be solutions reserved for the larger printers. NOT ANYMORE! Good2Go SaaS is available to any size printer, especially small printers.
The Paradigm Shift
A paradigm shift, a concept identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn, is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. —Source, Wikipedia
The printing industry has seen its share of paradigm shifts in the past 30 years. Desktop publishing, electronic imposition, direct to plate, digital printing; these are all examples of paradigm shifts that helped move the printing industry into the digital age.
Along the way there were also paradigm shifts that were not as popular in the printing industry. The internet and mobile computing were two disruptive technologies that left many print providers feeling flat footed. They caused many changes that touched almost everyone’s life and changed virtually every industry in the modern world. The printing industry was no exception.
Then, in 2020, the world was hit with a pandemic causing a sudden and huge paradigm shift in how we interact, communicate, live and work. Now we must work remotely. We are required to keep our distance from other people and learn how to do business in a new way — often behind a mask and plexiglass.
A Shift to the Cloud
More quietly, beginning in the mid-2000’s, another paradigm shift has been brewing. This one is good newsfor small to medium sized commercial print providers.
In 2006, Amazon launched what they called the Elastic Compute Cloud. You can read more about the history here. It was not a compelling name and as a result not too many people took notice. It was, however, the beginning of Amazon Web Services and the first cloud environment developed for others to develop on without a huge investment in servers and software. Of course, later (much later in many cases), Google, IBM, Microsoft and others eventually caught on and now offer their own cloud development environment.
Significance of SaaS
Back in the 80’s, software came in nicely designed boxes with floppy disks, documentation, and a variety of other information inside. For users, there was list of things to check and double check before the product was ready to ship. Mistakes in the software or even the packaging were costly. In the case of a product like PageMaker, issuing an emergency bug fix after release of a new version would cost millions of dollars in time, materials and lost goodwill with customers. Even worse, customers waited months for fixes and years for major upgrades. Nothing was instantaneous.
Today, software is either delivered as a download, or as an on-line SaaS solution. Software licenses are moving away from permanent licenses to subscription licenses, allowing companies to adopt solutions as they need them and turn them off when they don’t.
According to Report Linker (2020), automation and agility is fueling the growth of the SaaS market.
Some of the other factors driving growth of SaaS offerings are:
- Easy to try before you buy.
- Fast to deploy.
- Minimal training required (in many cases).
- Always up to date – no maintenance.
The Foundation of Good2Go
The founders of Good2Go observed over the past 20 years that most of the automation solutions required a large investment in time and resources to get them running and to keep them running. These solutions appealed to the larger printers—printers with 20 employees or more. That’s because the larger printers have the resources and can invest the time and money required to build custom automation solutions and keep them running. However, 80% of the Printing market is made of printers with less than 20 employees. It is clear that the smaller printers are severely underserved by the current solutions available.
Good2Go was developed as an open workflow solution that focused on ad-hoc print production. A customer can be up and running in 15 minutes or less. In addition, adding functionality to Good2Go with just a click was a crucial element. There is no need to install new software, costly network or server upgrades, and no need for IT services to make it work.
If you consider the requirements, along with the main drivers to the growth of SaaS solutions (automation and agility) it was clear, Good2Go had to be a cloud solution.
Back to Basics
For Good2Go to have wide appeal to the target market, there is a focus on some basic functions that most printers use to work with their clients. This includes, file uploads and downloads, document review and approval with advanced mark-up tools, revisions, and task management. Also knowing that print production is based on people, documents, and time or deadlines, there is a robust deadline reminder service to help keep everyone on time, informed, and up to date built in.
One of the key characteristics of Good2Go is simplicity. Too many systems offer a ton of features and function but are unusable by the average user due to its complexity. What good is a workflow solution if it’s hard to learn and no one can use it?
With Good2Go, you can add files by just drag and dropping them onto the interface. If you have defined a default due date, it is automatically applied to new files entered into Good2Go. Folders can be created for specific customers, or jobs, providing a place for all their files and communications to congregate automatically. With one click you can see what files are due today, versus tomorrow, or this week. If you want to see who still owes you a document review and approval, you can do that with just one click. Additionally, notification emails always provide a link directly to the document so that users don’t have to actively be in Good2Go to use Good2Go.
Not only is Good2Go easy for internal users, its exceedingly simple for print buyers as well. The premise is simple. People gravitate toward the path of least resistance, so it is natural for print buyers to migrate to the printer that is easiest to work with. With Good2Go, print buyers never have to login or have an account to perform any of their tasks. They just click on the link, and they’re “good to go”.
Workflow automation comes in many forms. It can be as simple as automated reminders, to complex workflows where documents are sorted and routed based on a variety of parameters, and different processes are linked together adjusting their settings based on the needs of the job. The first type of automation is generally event-based automation, whereby a process is executed when an event occurs. The second type of automation generally requires planning, set up, execution, and support to keep the system running, and typically, is not designed for the ad-hoc workflow supported by many small printers.
For the smaller printers, the biggest hurdle to adopting workflow automation is often the time investment required to set up such systems, train employees, and keep the system running overtime. Although there is technical and implementation help out there, the cost can be prohibitive, and you users must “buy-in” or the system does not get used and is eventually abandoned.
With Good2Go, virtually all implementation pain is removed. New customers can be up and running with the core product in 15 minutes or less. As new functions become available through integrations, or through third-party relationships, most will be able to be implemented with just a simple click turning on that feature.
Hassel-free deployment is one of the beautiful things about the cloud. With traditional workflow systems, integration is done on a site-by-site, application by application basis. With Good2Go, in the cloud, integration is done once and available to all customers the second it is deployed. As a cloud-based solution, with a robust API, Good2Go is well-positioned to address the needs of print service providers now, and in the future.
Learning more about Good2Go
To learn more about Good2Go, visit our website at www.Good2GoSoftware.com and register for one of our upcoming events or request a personal demo.
About the author
Michael Reiher, president of Good2Go Software LLC, has been creating award winning solutions for the graphic arts and printing industry for over 25 years.