More Print Providers Offering Mobile-Enabled Services, Solutions

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Oct 4, 2012

Print service providers, like many other businesses, are being impacted by mobile technology. Smartphones and tablets are now an integral part of peoples’ daily lives; the pervasiveness of mobile technology continues to influence the “consumerization” of business, and the printing industry is not immune to this trend. Customers increasingly request access to services via their mobile devices, and internal business and production operations are going mobile, as well. Ultimately, the role of mobile technology is going to be increasingly important in business–and not just when it comes to marketing services.

InfoTrends wanted to uncover how print service providers are tailoring their services and operations to be more mobile-friendly. In our most recent annual software investment study, we asked 179 print provider respondents about their adoption and uses of mobile technology within their companies, finding that while adoption is still relatively low, it is poised for growth in the next year.

Specifically,  19% of  respondents report currently providing mobile interfaces to their clients and another 42% plan to offer them the next 12 months, underscoring just how important mobile will become in the near future for print providers. Companies that are currently serving mobile interfaces to clients are supporting a variety of services that can be adapted well to the small screen, including web-to-print, cross-media marketing reports and dashboards, and proofing and approval workflows.

Moreover, there is a preference for leveraging the mobile web–websites optimized or adapted for smartphones and tablets–to deliver mobile-enabled client services; we find that native mobile apps are typically used in circumstances where there are goals or requirements that can only be met through that model as they typically require greater investment in resources to develop and distribute.  

Types of Mobile Interfaces Provided to Clients

As a result of a greater need for mobile enablement, software vendors in the graphic communications space are rolling out solutions, modules, and capabilities geared toward support for mobile access and interaction. Vendors that provide MIS, web-to-print, and workflow management technologies, in particular, have immediate opportunities to meet the needs of an audience that is hungry for mobile capabilities. Most PSPs that now offer mobile interfaces develop them internally or invest in additional software to accomplish their objectives, which adds barriers–and higher costs–to adoption. More vendors adding support for mobile can help spur adoption growth among print providers and their customers.

With Graph Expo just around the corner, mobile technology will be top-of-mind for many attendees, with more exhibitors offering an array of mobile apps, tools, modules, and interfaces than ever before. Print providers need to understand how they can take advantage of mobile where it makes sense for their business, and vendors need a strategy to help lead these providers down the right path.

Our recently released report entitled Mobile Interfaces Gain Momentum Among U.S. Print Providers provides research-based insights, real-world examples, and recommendations for print service providers looking to leverage the mobile channel in their business, as well as for technology vendors that need guidance crafting a mobile strategy that meets the needs of the industry. Business is moving in a mobile direction; companies need to ensure they leverage the technology in ways that solve customers’ problems, deliver value, and drive results. In preparation for Graph Expo, this report can help shed light on how to prioritize the role of mobile in your business and identify solutions to investigate at the show.

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