In recent years, Cloud based SaaS (software as a service) solutions have become increasingly popular with the printing landscape. They have started to represent a defacto standard for all printing firms who desire to exist ten years from now. Even Drupa 2012 saw many Cloud based SaaS solutions coming to light where more and more printers were comprehending the reasons for shifting to cloud based software and what SaaS pricing subscription models mean to them.
Here we will discuss Cloud Computing and SaaS in general and explain why printing companies must continue to take benefit from these new technologies to become cost effective and more competitive in today’s business world.
A Word about Cloud Computing
Despite of the fact that Cloud computing has been around for many years now, the general concept is still very cloudy for many of us. To put it in very simple words, cloud is computing, storage and networking located at a remote site, managed for you by someone else. In past, these applications or tools were located on servers located on-site within the enterprise. Cloud made it possible to reside the applications in remotely shared data-centers and access through internet, allowing enterprises to run applications faster, with less maintenance issues and reduced requirement for onsite staff.
Cloud Based SaaS
The services that a cloud computing company offers over the Internet fall into three different categories, or layers. These layers sit on top of one another and are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
SaaS is essentially a top most layer with SaaS applications specifically designed for end-users, which are delivered over the web. With SaaS, a provider licenses an application to customers as a service on demand, through a monthly subscription. SaaS can be hosted and delivered either with a cloud-based computing model or through a self-hosted model.
With cloud based SaaS, the end users can access complete software at a reduced cost by paying a monthly based fee. This speeds up the implementation process with no hardware and software installation and cuts requirement for experienced IT staff. SaaS model also gives scalability as the business grows and reduces risk factor by letting you change or cancel it if expectations are not adequately met.
Print Industry and Cloud based SaaS
Print Software companies and their clients i.e. printers are making a rapid shift towards SaaS and Cloud-based systems. Printers benefit from this by finding ready access to high-end products on ‘pay-as-you-go’ models at minimized costs.
Recently, cloud-based SaaS applications have gained momentum in the print industry in areas such as web-to-print, MIS and automated workflow. Applications such as CRM, e-mail, financial management, customer service and expense management, color management, content and campaign management are increasingly employed as Cloud based SaaS to help printing companies in expanding their businesses.
Print buyers are looking to purchase print through a seamless automated workflow with a simple buying process. This is mainly why many Printing companies are opting for SaaS, cloud-based or self-hosted, to run their printing infrastructures in cyberspace to expand and compliment their businesses.
To address this increasing need of the printing world, more and more Print Solution Providers exhibited their solutions offering cloud-based SaaS at Drupa 2012. See few examples below.
StoreFront by Pixfizz
SaaS based Pixfizz allows print service providers to create and launch multiple customized storefronts that run on any platform, including tablets.
Complete MIS by Hiflex
Hiflex MIS version 2012 takes the complete management information system to the cloud, so that both the firm’s MIS and Webshop entirely operate via the Internet and be installed and executed in following ways:-
- On a server in a printer’s facility (a “private cloud”)
- In an external data center (“public cloud”)
- At the Hiflex Data Center
Using the cloud will reduce the Total Cost of Ownership as users no longer need to invest in server hardware, facilities, or back-up solutions.
RealPr0 ColorCloud by FFEI
FFEI launched RealPro ColorCloud, a cost-effective cloud-based color application that offers online ICC and Device Link profile creation combined with ink saving via a “pay-as-you-go” pricing model.
Premium Web to Print and Print Management offering by MyPrintCloud
Likewise My Print Cloud is another emerging name among PSPs who are delivering cloud based SaaS solutions. My Print Cloud provides a solution including web to print storefront (retail and corporate) and full spectrum enterprise level MIS features that is available on demand, as Cloud based SaaS, ensuring complete peace of mind in return for an affordable monthly subscription.
In today’s competitive marketplace where all companies are head to head, survival rests with the fittest. Printing companies who have already taken up critical technologies like web-to-print, MIS and automated workflow will be the ones who will survive in future. Those who are still faced with stopping factors such as financial burden and lack of IT staff must adopt cloud-based SaaS solutions for long-term existence and profitable returns.
Rightly said; every cloud has a silver lining!!
“Nano Bigger Than You Think” at Drupa 2012
Drupa 2012 has almost approached its final lap…It is time, to once again review this year’s biggest trade show that brought some inventive and ingenious printing technology from all around the world, onto one single platform.
Drupa 2012 was about everything, a man could dream about, with solutions and technologies becoming smaller, intelligent and much more powerful than ever before. These solutions covered areas ranging from automation to digital printing, from offset to post press printing and from multi-channel publishing to finishing. Thousands of designers exhibited their “right fit solution” for print business and millions flew from around the world to witness them.
This post brings you the real Show-Stoppers for Drupa 2012, which hijacked the show with their awe-inspiring technology and attracted huge number of crowds to their stands.
1. Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press
Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press was undoubtedly the most extraordinary display at Drupa and will be my first DRUPA show-stopper. Throughout Drupa, the Landa stand was the most popular and jam-packed, as thousands streamed to the booths to buy tickets for theatre presentation “Nano Bigger Than You Think”, streaming live on large screens.
The landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press uses ultra-sharp dots of extremely high uniformity and high gloss fidelity. This press gives you readily dried images without any need for post drying and choice for two-sided printing. With this technology, you can handle printed goods right off the press. The landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press comes with an oversize user interface Touch screen for stunning view and handling. It comes in B1format, which makes Landa S10 perfect for a range of general commercial applications such as brochures, booklets, greetings cards, catalogues and many others.
2. Timsons’ Inkjet book line
Second impressive display for Drupa 2012, was the live printing and automation of binding demonstration of a book within four minutes after starting the printing press. This was made possible by a T-Print using Kodak’s Stream heads, running inline into a Kolbus feeder and KM200 perfect binder. At Drupa, the press was shown live printing and binding at full speed, producing three different Royal format books with a differing number of 64pp sections. The inline Kolbus perfect binder was seen changing covers and automatically adjusting for book thickness on-the-fly.
3. EFI ‘s 2m Vutek QS2 Pro UV printer
Third on the ramp is none other than EFI’s 2m Vutek QS2 Pro UV printer with a brilliant image quality, speed and overall performance. The 2m-wide machine is capable of printing on substrates up to 508mm thick, and comes with six-colour plus white configuration. This printer is supplied with the company’s Fiery XF ProServer. The UV printer is a fantastic display, and is thought to contribute greatly to the printing industry’s conversion from analogue to digital production in future.
4. Canon’s Velocity Technology
Next on the line is the new Velocity Technology by Canon. This technology was seen blazing through large-format work such as maps and posters at a lightning-fast 500 A0 sheets per hour, before the audience’s eyes. The Velocity speed is achieved using Memjet’s printheads. The Velocity consists of an array of five Memjet heads to offer resolutions of 1,600×800 dpi by applying more than 3 billion drops of ink per second. The extreme speed of the Velocity will present not only an improved workflow for wide-format digital shops but also for offset printers, meeting their needs for short runs and variable data printing.
5. First Inkjet for Konica Minolta
The Konica Minolta’s first inkjet press was showcased at Drupa and is marked as my last show stopper. The Inkjet was an exciting highlight at the show for its ability to process formats up to size B2 that can print at speeds up to 3300 sheets per hour, with a resolution of 1200 by 1200 dpi. The company has developed the new press with commercial printers in mind that serve quick turnaround or variable data requirements. This technology development display at Drupa marked the entrance of Konica Minolta into the production inkjet market and also attracted crowds in huge numbers.
The Drupa Show offers a great podium for trade visitors to see and compare the products and services brought forward by International Technology Leaders. Drupa 2012 will indeed be remembered in the history as a landmark for some of the finest and most versatile print inventions to-date with great Stopping power!
In today’s world, a Print Management Information System (MIS) is vital for automation of the entire production process. The print managers are well aware that manual tracking processes and incoherent data-gathering practices can no longer meet their needs. With these out-dated practices it has become impossible to see a bigger picture and acquire significant information in timely manner.
Just like a good management software helps Builders make better homes, a good Print Management Information System can help a printing business stand out amid enormous competition in the global printing market.
What is Print Management Information System
Print Management Information System is particularly designed to analyze the operational activities of a print production house by incorporating data from all departments and process life cycles. It helps the management with the information required to successfully run the business on a day-to-day basis, as well as provides strategic support for long-term growth decisions.
Gears of a Good Print Management Information System
Today, the print industry like other markets is greatly populated with innumerable independent Print MIS designers catering to small and medium-sized printing businesses.
What are the key components of a good Print Management solution that can give your printing business the competitive lead over others by helping you stand despite the increasing demand for shorter runs, faster turn times and inevitable threat posed by digital technologies?
An effective and profit-oriented Print Management Suite allows the printing operation to analyze and forecast the business accurately, using the following essential gears:
Figure 1 – Gears for a Good Print Management solution
Estimation & Quotation
Print management solution with integrated estimating provides tools for linking the estimating process to the production process. A good MIS solution lets you develop an electronic specification form that considerably reduces quoting response time in contrast to unreadable handwritten orders and offers flexibility needed to modify standards with changing business needs.
Order Entry and Job Tracking
An effective job management solution, as part of an integrated Print Management suite, includes a number of functions like
- Order entry
- Job planning
- Job costing
Additionally it encompasses a Scheduling system for job tracking that
- Views requirements of independent jobs
- Combines these requirements with similar jobs
- Sets up a work flow that optimizes equipment consumption, reduces or eliminates bottlenecks, and delivers on time.
- Responds to real-world malfunctions during the production process
A good quality Print Management Software will manage the flow of materials throughout the shop. It will track different inventories within one database – providing a reliable, accurate view for:
- Inventory on orders received, on-hand, reserved and posted
- Client’s materials
- Consignment inventories
Shop Floor Data Collection
Print MIS solution should provide complete built-in tools to integrate real-time shop floor data capture to boost
- Scheduling efforts
- Ensure proper staffing
- Monitor inventory levels using dashboards, displays, reports, trends and alarms
This information is readily accessed and circulated from shop floor to big boardrooms, offering a strong basis for various decision making processes, including process expansion.
The desirable solution should be able to generate customized, up-to-date reports with a built in reporting capability. It should also be able to easily integrate with more complicated reporting packages, such as Crystal Reports, to meet all reporting needs.
Financials – Invoicing and Receivables
One of the important features of a good quality Print Management system is an internal accounting system. With this system, businesses will have access to General ledger, report orders, sales, inventory levels, receivables, payables, and so on. By analyzing this information, managers can identify problem areas and vital prospects. The trends in sales during different seasons can be analyzed and strategies are formulated based on this data.
There is hardly any operation or person who doesn’t draw information to and from a fully integrated Print MIS solution. An investment in a good solution quickly pays for itself as it provides a single structured core of business that increases efficiency, and reduces cost of your business, thus giving you advantage over others in this fast paced, increasingly competitive world.