Highlights from DSF18: The DOCUMENT Strategy Forum

David Stabel and Eve Padula
Jun 12, 2018

Celebrating its 10th year, the 2018 DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF18) was held last month (May 21 – 23) in downtown Boston, MA. This peer-driven, peer-reviewed, and peer-produced conference is designed to educate professionals on how to deliver and manage customer communications, customer engagement, and information management. As was the case in previous years, the 2018 event offered a wide array of educational sessions, executive round tables, panels, and inspiring keynotes. Visitors had plenty of opportunities to network with industry peers or any of the 44 exhibitors in attendance.

This year’s opening keynote speech was given by Ian Khan, a world-renowned speaker and author. During his keynote entitled “Tomorrow 4.0: Are You Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?”, he asserted that man and machine are coming together in new and unprecedented ways in today’s era of digital disruption.

Industrial revolutions are momentous events, and many experts believe that only a few have occurred to date. The first was triggered in the 1700s by the commercial steam engine and the mechanical loom. The second took place prior to World War I with the harnessing of electricity and mass production. The third occurred when technology shifted from analog electronic and mechanical devices to digital technologies and computers. A number of industry strategists now believe that we have entered the fourth revolution, which builds on the third revolution. It is driven by interconnected digital technologies and has been marked by technological breakthroughs in a number of fields.

During his keynote speech, Khan hinted that we might actually be on the cusp of a fifth Industrial Revolution, which is all about Artificial Intelligence (AI). He believes that many of today’s emerging technologies will impact industries more profoundly in the very near future than they have in the past 500 years.

Timur Kalimov, Vice President of Products and Services at HyperScience, expanded on Khan’s keynote by talking about the claims that vendors make about AI. When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, Kalimov suggests being skeptical of vendors that fall into the following categories:

  • “Singularity” vendors basically claim that their AI solutions can handle everything in terms of performing machine learning. For machine learning to work well, though, the AI solution must develop a painstaking understanding of the specific business problems that the company is working to address. Unfortunately, none of today’s AI solutions have been able to master this capability.
  • “Trainer” vendors promise to deliver a working product after the business has provided its customer data. The challenge is that this data will not usually have been collected with machine learning in mind, and it will often be subject to strict security and privacy constraints. Furthermore, since machine learning is  uncertain by its very nature, it is impossible to know if a functional solution is even a reality at the outset.
  • “Perfectionist” vendors promise 100% automation with no human involvement. The issue with this approach is that neither people nor machines are perfect. The reality is that machines will need human supervision when real-world problems arise.

Another concept that was front and center during the sessions at DSF 18 was the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was officially implemented on May 25, 2018. The legislation is expected to influence the formation of data localization laws on a global basis, and it will likely have a major impact on where and how enterprises do business. During a Compliance Power Session during DSF 18, Lauren Barnes (S&P Global), Kurt Neumann (Prime Therapeutics), Tom Serven (State Street), and Lane Severson (Doculabs) spoke about how today’s businesses can prepare for regulations like GDPR. Although this is a European initiative, GDPR is expected to have wide-ranging implications for companies on a worldwide basis.

According to survey data on Marketing Communications from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, only 41% of respondents in North America and 56% of those in Western Europe had already taken steps to prepare for GDPR. Most respondents were at least aware of the regulation, but the share of respondents who were unaware of it was considerably higher in North America than it was in Europe.

Another common theme that came up multiple times during the educational sessions at DSF 18 was the commoditization of the customer experience. Today’s businesses are strongly focused on delivering a better overall experience to increase customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. In response to this, a number of vendors are developing solutions that are designed to improve specific parts of the overall customer experience.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe of DEEP ANALYSIS presented a session on the impact of blockchain during the PFMA Annual Conference, which was co-located with DSF 18. Pelz-Sharpe believes that blockchain—a shared digital ledger for recording the history of transactions—will be the biggest disruptor of business information management in decades.

Blockchain is distributed across a network, so the entire ledger is stored multiple times in various locations. Every computer that is part of the blockchain network will contain a complete copy of the entire ledger. This method of storage is absolutely secure because the ledger in the blockchain is immutable and cannot be changed. This makes it ideal for documenting contracts, legal documents, and other critical documentation along a variety of supply chains.

The 10th annual DOCUMENT Strategy Forum placed a strong focus on transforming processes, the changing regulatory landscape, and disruptive technologies. Artificial Intelligence, regulations like GDPR, the customer experience, and blockchain will continue to shape and reshape our industry. Industry players must keep pace with and react to these new and emerging trends, and educational events like DSF are a great way for service providers and vendors to ensure that they can do just that!

Packaging Connected at EskoWorld 2018

Ryan McAbee
Jun 11, 2018

EskoWorld, the yearly gathering of Esko users and partners, kicked off this week with a big “yeehaw” in San Antonio, Texas. More than 500 packaging enthusiasts, from brand owners to converters, packed the event to learn about trends and challenges affecting the packaging industry with additional opportunities to network, engage with supporting vendors, and get hands-on learning. More striking was that 39% of attendees were there for the first time.


Jan De Roeck kicking off EskoWorld 2018
An excited Jan De Roeck, Marketing Director, kicking off the opening day.

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HP T-Series for Corrugated: Up to 6 Colors & 1,000 FPM Speed Options

Bob Leahey
Jun 5, 2018

In the crush of news from last month’s FESPA in Berlin is one corrugated story that merits extra attention: HP’s PageWide Industrial division, which pioneered the high-speed CMYK pre-printing of corrugated liner media with HP PageWideT400S and 1100S in 2014, announced at the show the introduction of two new versions of the 110”/2.8m wide press, the HP PageWide T1170 and T1190. Each prints six colors (CMYK plus Orange and Violet), extending the color gamut to meet brand colors, and also feature HP ColorBoost technology. The presses feature HP A30 water-based inks do not use UV-reactive chemistry, so the products printed are food safe. The T1190 also offers a big increase in productivity to 1000 fpm/305 mpm, up from the 600 fpm/183 fpm of HP T1100S. Both the T1170 and T1190 presses are suitable for both coated and uncoated media, from 80 gsm to 350 gsm. They are available now, either as new installations or as on-site upgrades to the twelve T1100S installations that exist today worldwide.

 

HP PageWide T-Series

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The GDPR Implementation is Here… Are You Prepared?

Will Morgan
May 24, 2018

According to PYMNTS.com, e-Commerce related fraud attacks have risen by 30% in the past year. Each high-profile security breach, data leak, or hacking scandal has heightened consumer awareness about the vulnerability of their personal information, and this has placed businesses in a difficult position. On one hand, enterprises need as much consumer information as possible to deliver relevant, personalized communications that can enhance the overall customer experience and ultimately improve satisfaction. On the other hand, these same enterprises are also obligated to protect their customers’ privacy while remaining in compliance with an increasingly stringent and complex web of regulations that instituted and enforced by governments working to protect their citizens. Today’s businesses must strike a balance between harvesting consumer information while also keeping it safe, and this can be a substantial challenge.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on Friday, May 25, threatening to make the balance that enterprises are struggling with even more precarious. The legislation is expected to influence the formation of data localization laws on a global basis, and it will likely have a major impact on where and how enterprises do business. GDPR, which replaces “Privacy Shield” in the European Union (itself a replacement for the “Safe Harbor” law), returns ownership of personal data (data that can be used to directly or indirectly identify an individual) back to the continent’s consumers and grants them sweeping control over its use. Any organization that gathers, archives, processes, or manages the personal information of one of the EU’s “data subjects” is now bound by this new regulation. Read more »

Xeikon: Inkjet, EP Both Strong, Get Equal Focus

Bob Leahey

Xeikon, a big presence at Labelexpo and many other tradeshows, is also one of the rare vendors that in effect hosts its own tradeshows, namely the Xeikon “Cafés” that occur yearly in Belgium and the U.S. The latest Xeikon Café occurred last week near the company’s North American headquarters in Itasca, IL and hosted over 200 guess and 30 exhibiting partners. Xeikon, the main focus, showed all its printers at the company’s nearby demonstration center and hosted a big conference program, with presentations by Xeikon managers, customers, and industry analysts.

Quick Impressions:

  • Xeikon, an electrophotographic (EP) pioneer, now is equally focused on inkjet
  • Xeikon inkjet at first will be for labels, but soon it will be for finishing and, next, for corrugated
  • Xeikon’s EP core had strong growth in the last twelve months, especially in label and packaging
  • Flint, maker of analog print supplies and Xeikon’s owner, is a helpful and ambitious partner

Xeikon’s recent inkjet history is fairly well known. In early 2017 this EP printer vendor surprised the market by announcing its plan to offer its first production-level UV inkjet label printer, the PX3000 (“Panther”). Then in November 2017, Xeikon announced that it was taking over service and support duties from EFI for the EFI Jetrion installed base, over 200 UV inkjet label webs, mainly in North America and Europe. PX3000 is just now having its first placements, but, all things considered, 2017 and 2018 have been years when Xeikon, an EP stalwart, jump started an industrial inkjet printer business.

Xeikon Panther PX3000

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The Smart Workplace, According to Konica Minolta

Deborah Hawkins

The traditional work environment is fundamentally transforming, and visions of the future Smart Workplace are emerging. Through the combination of the Internet, mobility, cloud, sensors, and the Internet of things, work can get done virtually anywhere people can communicate, collaborate, and transact.

To better segment and organize the “Smart Workplace,” Keypoint Intelligence has created a taxonomy of services related to our industry. This taxonomy helps define and categorize disparate technologies and services into a more concrete and comprehensive view of the Smart Workplace solutions and services. Read more »

Live from FESPA 2018: Steve Urmano’s Top 3 Picks

Ryan McAbee
May 18, 2018

Live from FESPA 2018: Ron Gilboa on Mass Customization

Ryan McAbee
May 17, 2018

Sharp’s Vision for the Smart Workplace

Deborah Hawkins

The traditional work environment is fundamentally transforming, and visions of the future Smart Workplace are emerging. Through the combination of the Internet, mobility, cloud, sensors, and the Internet of things, work can get done virtually anywhere people can communicate, collaborate, and transact.

To better segment and organize the “Smart Workplace,” Keypoint Intelligence has created a taxonomy of services related to our industry. This taxonomy helps define and categorize disparate technologies and services into a more concrete and comprehensive view of the Smart Workplace solutions and services.

Figure 1 : Smart Workplace Segments

 

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Making Efficient Workflows: 2018 Solimar User Conference

Pat McGrew
May 13, 2018

San Diego is known for being a hub of invention, from inkjet development to dynamic software solutions. Solimar Systems is embedded in that innovation hub, with 27 years of providing solutions to companies with workflow challenges. Their 2018 User Conference in San Diego (May 8-10) brought together their top users to share their solutions, learn about new features and provide feedback to the Solimar technical team. I am a huge fan of user conferences for the networking opportunities they bring for both the solutions staff and the customers. Face to face is always the best way to gain trust among users and for users to develop all-important relationships.

This year’s event began with a Customer Advisory Council meeting that included a Keypoint Intelligence Keynote: Like Childred, Your Workflow Needs Attention! The council consists of 23 Solimar users who meet on a regular cadence to provide guidance. The goal of the keynote was to talk through the power of workflow automation in driving efficiency and profitability. We are advocates of workflow assessments, as are the team at Solimar Systems, so the presentation walked through a ten step review of workflow processes, with supporting data from the latest Keypoint Intelligence North American Software Investment Survey.

The most interesting takeaways from the Customer Advisory meetings was the diversity of issues faced by Print Service providers of all sizes, and the variety of approaches they take to move toward efficiency. We heard from companies that approach workflow with multiple solutions and some that approach with a single-threaded workflow approach, all using the Solimar products to add efficiency to their production processing.

The Solimar User Group encompasses the Advisory Council and an extended group of Solimar Users. The event included presentations from partners, including Konica Minolta, SCREEN, Ironsides Technology, Reality BLU, BCC Software, and RISO. Customer panels included deep dives into Operational Efficiencies, Differentiated Services, Compliance and Security, and Customer Experience, allowing customers to share their best practices.

Two keynotes touched on tangential workflow issues. The first was the Keypoint Intelligence presentation by Pat McGrew: The Workflow Revolution: Are You On Board? The goal was to provide guidance on how to approach workflow as a moonshot, moving toward the best level of optimization possible. The theme was that operational excellence requires an executive commitment and an open mind to allow change. The goal is Smart Print Manufacturing that embraces automation.

The second keynote came from Tim Cooper, Chief Enterprise Architect at Harland Clarke. If you have not heard a Tim Cooper presentation you have missed something special. Tim has decades of experience in workflows and is a deep thinker when it comes to optimization and breaking down barriers. His presentation was A Discussion on Workflow Facts that Can Lead to Wrong Conclusions. He walked through how looking at data in a vacuum can lead to the wrong architecture and implode operational efficiencies.

Tim shared how he arrived at his philosophy of workflow, and how using the Solimar solutions he was able to wrangle multiple, disparate workflows in to a single workflow, and reduce processing time from more than 3000 hours to under a couple of days. That drew gasps from PSPs in the room struggling with the same challenges.

The true value of user group meetings comes from the networking and sharing, as well as guidance that analysts can supply to provide guidance for decisions about the next investments and architecture changes need to be made. The Solimar team did an excellent job of tuning the mix of technical sessions focused on products and solutions with partner presentations and announcements, and customer panels.

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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