Editor's Note:  This article is sponsored by PageDNA 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 the company and product. This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the company and product’s strengths in the marketplace. PageDNA reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.

Collectively, the print industry is finally catching up to the idea that the primary channel for engaging with your customers will be online. It started with peeling off the simple orders that are conducive to a self-service interaction like corporate identity products and it will continue to evolve to more and more complex customer interactions. We are in the midst of a transition from a 100% full-service engagement model, which is labor intensive for both the printer and the customer, to a segmented service model that includes some self-service enabled by web-to-print tools and some full-service which is provided by skilled consultative labor.

All transitions require change, for many the default response to change is to feel threatened and automatically resist the change. For others, there is an almost automatic embracing of the change to seek improvements on all fronts. Most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes. There have been lots of struggles in our industry with the execution of web-to-print programs. Because software can be such a target rich environment for finding flaws, many failed web-to-print projects have been errantly blamed on the technology itself. 

For the PageDNA product and company the areas we see as highlights revolve around their commitment and enhancements that focus on setting the printer up for success as much as possible. This commitment extends beyond the features and functionality of their software, in fact overcomplicating a software solution by continuing to just unconsciously add more and more features increases the complexity and decreases the usability of the solution. PageDNA in recent years has actually been assessing the utilization of features, removing features, hiding infrequently used features, and basically making the product easier to use. PageDNA’s focus is to speed the printer’s path to revenue, which aligns well with the printer getting to their expected return-on-investment sooner.

This product spotlight will focus on three areas of the PageDNA offering: the store building wizard and project management approach to configuring new storefronts, their open approach to integrations, and the flexibility of their services model.

When you initially invest in a new technology, you are investing in a product that has evolved over years and continues to evolve. The required learning curve can be quite intimidating, especially because good web products continue to evolve so the learning is never-ending. PageDNA mitigates this learning curve with an intuitive wizard that steps you through the process of creating a new storefront for your customer by asking you questions and then configuring the system based on your answers. This approach allows you to start using the system without learning a whole new language, being really technical, or reading a mind-numbingly boring user manual. In addition to the wizard approach, you are then presented with a mini project plan for launching a new store – this shows you the progress you’ve made, what’s left to do, and a recommended order in which to perform the tasks. 

Every web-to-print store is a project, what PageDNA has done within their solution is to embed project management tools that help the printers get live sooner and easier. This speeds up the path to revenue, helps you build self-sufficiency with the tool earlier, and probably most importantly builds confidence in your team so they are more likely to adopt the tool rather than resist it. Frustration at the onset of a web-to-print project can create a resistance virus that spreads to your whole team. You can find yourself swimming upstream very quickly against a current of negativity about the whole program, an early win with a customer and your team feeling confident with the tools goes a long way to avoiding the resistance virus. 

We are living in an integrated world, socially, technically, within our businesses and with our customers. Modern business is a collection of business processes that most often include technologies from various technology partners. You may have PageDNA as your web front end, a Print MIS, a production workflow system, and a separate accounting package all from different technology providers. For your business to run smoothly, the different technologies need to “talk” meaning exchange data in a manner that allows each solution to provide their specific function of the business process then gracefully hand off to the next functional area in your business process. PageDNA is very open to integrations; both internal integrations for automating your workflow and external integrations for integrating with your customers technologies (e.g. single-sign-on and procurement systems like Ariba). 

PageDNA has a dedicated integration team within their product development team to assure that integrations are architected in ways that can be leveraged across as many customers as possible. PageDNA understands that when printers are given the opportunity to do technical integrations with their customers, they are creating a very high barrier to competition. Nobody wants to do an IT project twice, therefore when you get integrated with your customer’s technology you are locking them in. When printers lack any technical resources to execute on these strategic projects with their best customers, PageDNA is willing to step in and stand in as the printer’s technical representative. This is critically important to printers who want that strategic advantage but lack the technical resources that can be customer facing.

Implementation of any new technology can be a struggle. In our experience the printer rarely comes into the implementation phase with the resources required to succeed. Web-to-print implementations require resources that are capable of learning a new system and most importantly have the uninterrupted time and space to do this. Many printers assign a very capable person to lead their web-to-print project who is already working sixty hours per week on customer facing and revenue generating activities. This is a recipe for disaster and frustration. 

PageDNA offers a very flexible approach to implementation services. If you have the resources and the time you can simply sign up for PageDNA’s learning dash taking the equitant of a semester of online learning at your convenience and your pace. Self-learners thrive with this kind of program. On the other hand you might be in a situation where you have one mission critical customer who needs a store yesterday and everyone in your shop is completely maxed out. In this very common scenario, PageDNA offers a 100% full-service implementation option, you can simply pay them to build the whole store for you – no disruption to your staff, yet you are still able to meet the critical deadlines of your customer. 

PageDNA provides an online tool where customers can get quotes for services such as storefront builds or catalog additions, which then instructs you to upload information needed for the build.  Turn-times average 5-7 business days.  From our perspective, the spotlight shines on the PageDNA product and company in areas that align with enabling the printer to succeed with web-to-print sooner, with less stress and frustration, and in a more long-term strategic way by opening up the ability to integrate both internally for automation and externally with customers to build competitive barriers.

To learn more about WhatTheyThink.com’s Print Software Product Spotlights, please contact Jennifer Matt, Print Software Section Editor at [email protected].