Kodak issued a statement two weeks ago saying “Prinergy is alive and well and fully supported by Kodak” after a blog post at Prepress Pilgrim painted a gloomy picture of mass layoffs and product abandonment. DJ's update Ten Reasons Why Prinergy is Still Dead was simply spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. I wrote that his follow up post overlooks the engineering discipline in modern software development. DJ didn't think so pointing to past botched software transitions.
Tom Clifford, a veteran prepress manager commented at Prepress Pilgrim, “I know this is a sensitive subject, but there seems to be more nay say’ers here then a conspiracy theorists tweet-up on September 11th. I’m just as much an armchair QB as the next guy, but do you really think for a second that Kodak would knowingly drive their showcase, award winning, bread and butter workflow into the ground?”
InforTrends analysts Bryan Yeager wrote, “Prinergy is a mature product. Computer-to-Plate is a mature market. Production volumes are migrating to digital. Kodak is banking on a digital future, especially with inkjet. Kodak’s core competencies in digital are with its (CREO) PODS group in Israel. As Kodak moves to add more digital workflow functionality to Prinergy, it makes sense to take advantage of a team that is focused on digital.”
Today at WhatTheyThink, Cary Sherburne interviewed Jon Bracken, Kodak’s General Manager, Unified Workflow Solutions on the changes coming to the Prinergy operations.
WTT: Why would you move the Prinergy operation there? It seems like you had a very tight-knit and competent group in B.C. that understands the product inside-out.
JB: Yes, and a bit later I will explain how we will be engaging those resources. They are still a very important part of the picture. Meanwhile, we want to consolidate our best digital expertise in Petach Tikva. One of our key strategies is the Prosper Press, and we developed the controller for that press in that facility. Much of the feature set in the Prinergy 6 roadmap is about enabling Prosper printing heads and other Prosper printing devices. Prinergy working seamlessly with the controller and the heads is a vital part of our strategy, and co-locating the resources makes that much easier. The future is increasingly focusing on targeted and personalized print. We needed a single architectural site where we can ensure that we can handle the entire variable workflow from end to end, and most of our variable expertise was there.
WTT: The rumor was that you were closing the B.C. site, but your statement, published on Print CEO, indicates that you will still have resources there. Can you comment on headcount reductions there versus headcount increases in Israel?
JB: In Israel, we are doing some hiring. It is a bit of a mix because clearly, we already have a lot of talent there that we will use, but we are adding some people. In B.C., we still have more than 500 people. I can’t comment about how many people have been affected in the transition. What is important to understand is that the customer-facing people stay exactly where they are today. Our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) offer third level support. They understand intimately what customers want to achieve, and that is all staying in B.C. We have traditionally been really good at getting to a true in-depth understanding of how customers use the software, and what is more or less important to them. That skill is lodged in the SMEs. All those people are still in place and have the institutional knowledge that you would want to retain in any transition.
Kodak's strategy is clear: Prinergy is the workhorse at the center of Kodak's unified workflow. It will continue to support offset and flexo imaging, while moving towards supporting digital print engines. Kodak has stated Prinergy 6 will be delivered on time in the second quarter of 2010.