This article is sponsored by Lift Software as part of WhatTheyThink's Print Software Product Spotlight series. In preparing this article, the WhatTheyThink Print Software Section editors conducted original, in-depth research on Lift Software Print MIS product. This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the product’s strengths in the marketplace. Lift Software reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.
When a business challenge is mature, meaning there are specifically designed solutions for that business challenge that have been around for decades, we tend to collectively join into “group think” where all the competing solutions start to seem similar. This happens because the customers of these solutions are doing a lot of comparative shopping, giving all the vendors incremental knowledge about their competitors. Print MIS is an example of where the solutions to the business challenge of running your print business has converged into a group of products that solve the same set of challenges in similar ways.
When new solutions enter the market, there is an opportunity to see the business challenge differently. This is why I love to understand the roots of new software solutions. Where did they get invented? What influenced them in the definition of the business challenges they choose to solve? Lift Software Print MIS/ERP was invented inside a large wide-format printer. That alone will tell you a lot about how Lift perceived the challenges of running a print business. For most Print MIS solutions, supporting wide format has been an add-on to a more traditionally focused offset or digital print manufacturing focus. For Lift it is clearly a deep specialty. For printers whose primary business is wide format, they know that supporting their business is more than just being able to specify print areas and unique finishing—it involves so much more. Lift’s Print MIS/ERP understands the wide format/signage challenges from idea to fulfillment including critical features like multi-location distributions.
In addition to the strength in supporting the wide-format printing market, Lift also chose to include solutions to prepress, proofing, and artwork within the Print MIS. Traditionally in the Print MIS/ERP marketplace, the Print MIS has referred to artwork’s location but has not taken on the challenge of solving art workflow challenges. Given that the art workflows in the wide-format space can be unique, it isn’t surprising that Lift chose to solve this challenge within their Print MIS. With the Lift Print MIS/ERP, you are getting features and solutions that you would typically find in a prepress automation tool that is integrated into your Print MIS. There is no rule that a Print MIS can’t also handle the artwork portion of your workflow. The print industry has just typically separated that challenge and left it to be solved by other solutions. Lift’s roots tell you why they choose to solve it within the Print MIS.
The most differentiating aspect of the Lift Print MIS is the assumption that was clearly present from the very beginning of the solution. Lift founders assumed that customers would access the Lift Print MIS/ERP as well as the employees at the printer. This is a radically different approach to Print MIS. The Print MIS market has always been about internal users only. Lift’s Print MIS allows customers to access the system from anywhere, logging directly into areas of the Print MIS to check order status, provide artwork, and proof artwork, from any smart device (phone, tablet, watch). Traditionally the print industry has relegated the customer access to web-to-print solutions. If your approach to a Print MIS started with an assumption that customers were going to be accessing the solution, you know that user experience had to be an important factor. New solutions always have the advantage of being built on modern tool sets, utilizing all the latest development tools. Lift’s combination of being built on a modern technology stack and prioritizing the user experience from the very beginning, gives it a user experience that hardly looks like a typical Print MIS solution. This is obviously a strength as a solid user experience not only enables customers to potentially use a solution but makes it easier for your employees to use internally.
A modern, cloud-based technology stack that prioritizes the user experience in solving the unique challenges of the wide-format printing business is a welcomed addition to the Print MIS solution set. We all benefit from new solutions who look at our print business challenges with a fresh perspective. Just because we’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time doesn't mean it shouldn’t be challenged. Competition has a way of making us all rethink our core assumptions. Lift’s product provides three core strengths; a deep feature set in the wide-format space, the expansion of a Print MIS into the art/prepress/proofing challenges, and a modern user experience that allows built-in customer access.
Additional product resources provided by the sponsor.