This article is sponsored by Kodak 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 Kodak’s product suite. This Product Spotlight describes what the editors feel are the product suite’s strengths in the marketplace. Kodak reviewed the final article for accuracy but had no editorial control over the content.
Your print business runs on software, more and more of that software is being delivered via the cloud where resources can be precisely controlled and scaling (both up and down) is configurable in real-time. The cloud is a brilliant way of optimizing computing resources. Cloud computing offers many advantages, virtually every provider of print software must evaluate how their software could benefit from this revolutionary deployment model. As a print business owner, the cloud reduces the amount of IT infrastructure you maintain and manage on-site. As your technical resources become more and more critical to delivering technology-enabled solutions directly to your customers – you want to take hardware and software management off their plates. As the pace of technology change continues to speed up, investing in hardware gets less appealing when you can “rent” just what you need, only when you need it from the cloud.
Kodak’s flagship workflow product – PRINERGY Workflow is no exception to taking advantage of what cloud computing can do to a printer’s production workflow. The key to getting the most out of what the cloud has to offer is to first understand how your print software is being used and then what aspects of your solution would benefit from cloud deployment. Kodak did not rush into a wholesale move of PRINERGY Workflow to the cloud, that would not have made sense. Can you imagine the large local file transport that happens around your printing plant today being restricted by your internet bandwidth? Kodak’s approach to the cloud is a strategic and incremental migration of specific workflow services which benefit most from cloud deployment.
A Hybrid Approach to the Cloud
PRINERGY Workflow, the industry’s standard for production workflow has been hosted locally by the printer for decades. This hosting arrangement made sense. The printer’s network provided a secure and fast way to enable PRINERGY Workflow to manage and automate the production workflow. As cloud computing has evolved, Kodak has taken a hybrid approach to utilizing the cloud where it makes the most sense for their customers. The transition from deploying a solution on local servers to cloud deployment is a large change for both Kodak and its customers.
Moving to the cloud requires any organization to make a significant investment so that services you used to get from your local network work as good or better from the cloud. Performance is about investment and understanding that partnering with best-in-class providers is a far better approach than trying to build out your own cloud infrastructure. Kodak has partnered with Microsoft Azure for their cloud solution. This allows Kodak to leverage Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and immediately deploy PRINERGY Cloud to data centers across the world for both redundancy and responsiveness.
A hybrid approach to the cloud is ideal for PRINERGY Workflow users. The workflow solution solves so many challenges in the production workflow; not all of them would be served well by a pure cloud solution. Kodak’s hybrid approach to the cloud peels off the services that would benefit most from cloud deployment and keeps the services that are better suited for local deployment on servers at the printer.
When you move to the cloud you can share IT resources and solutions. An embedded Business Intelligence (B.I.) tool can be a costly investment for an individual printer. The cloud gives you the ability to embed tools once and then share them across your entire customer base. Kodak’s Decision Analytics is the foundation of the PRINERGY Cloud. What is the number one request by every print business owner when it comes to technology? “I need a report that tells me …” What is the number one request once you deliver a report to a print business owner? “This is great, now I need to see more about this or that...” (another report).
We are in a major transition when it comes to making fact-driven decisions. A snapshot of what your business did (a static report) is not good enough anymore. Your people need real-time access to your business data in a dynamic fashion, rather than the static snapshot of a report. Business Intelligence delivers on that need through the deployment of dashboards that can be drilled into to get to that next level question. You see dashboards that deliver insights, not data. For far too long we’ve had to work very hard to make fact-based decisions.
Kodak has embedded a full-featured business intelligence tool into PRINERGY Cloud. This puts you in charge of how you want to see your business data and get to insights quicker. As turn times continue to decrease, shelf life of printed materials evaporates, and order volumes increase – you don’t have time to work at getting the data required to make better decisions.
Workflow Services Approach – PRINERGY Cloud Services
Kodak PRINERGY Cloud is on a roadmap of incrementally adding the services that make sense in the cloud and simultaneously work with your locally deployed PRINERGY server. The first two services offered over the cloud are File Archive and Backup and Decision Analytics. Backup and archive are an obvious choice for your security and protection – we’ve always moved critical backups to alternative locations. Now you can do that without consuming the time of your mission critical IT resources. Decision Analytics deployed over the cloud allows Kodak to make one large investment in providing this critical functionality to all PRINERGY Cloud customers as a subscription service.
Prinergy Cloud Services will continue to add more service layers to the solution while maintaining a workflow that gracefully bridges between local hosted services and cloud services. This “sane” approach to the cloud will make it easier for printers to move incrementally to the cloud without large scale disruption to their business. As Kodak offers more and more tools over the PRINERGY Cloud, printers will move towards managing service level agreements rather than locally hosted hardware and software.