ON DEMAND 2011: A Look at Software Trends

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Mar 28, 2011

ON DEMAND 2011 and info360 (formerly the AIIM event) wrapped up last week in Washington, DC at the Walter E. Conference Center. With the shows being co-located, acquisitions in the software space, and enterprise and production becoming more closely associated, ON DEMAND attendees appeared to spend time on both sides of the show floor (exploring the broader scope of software solutions currently available). While these lines continue to blur, there were a number of relevant announcements and developments at ON DEMAND pointing toward distinct trends in production software.

Solutions and Services Moving to the Cloud

  • InfoPrint Solutions announced its new Managed ADF Services offering that Kaspar Roos recently blogged about. The Managed ADF Services offering combines a cloud-based version of InfoPrint’s ProcessDirector workflow management solution wrapped with various services and targeted at mid-market transaction printers (1.5M to 10M impressions/month). The addition of this solution will enable InfoPrint to deploy and manage turnkey workflow solutions for its customers and will likely lead to additional cloud-based offerings in the future.
  • GMC Software Technology launched GMC Inspire, which is a total makeover to its existing PrintNet Communications Suite. GMC Inspire is designed to be a single platform for Customer Communications Management, including functions like content management, social listening & analytics, multi-channel production, and response tracking. Inspire also marks GMC’s official foray into the cloud, offering multiple modules to be deployed in a hosted manner for flexibility and scalability. The platform is currently in testing and is expected to be publicly available in July.

Many vendors and service providers were discussing the potential of the cloud even if there weren’t any new developments to share. Expect the cloud to play an increasingly significant role in the industry as agility and time-to-market become even more critical for service providers.

Cross-Media with a Personalized Touch

Service providers’ customer needs are changing—which brings new requirements, challenges, and goals to the relationship. For promotional applications, successful services providers are working directly with the marketer to provide services beyond print, such as personalized, targeted campaigns and programs across a variety of mediums. ON DEMAND’s exhibitors showed the latest versions of their Cross-Media and Variable Data Publishing solutions:

  • XMPie, a Xerox company, announced full support for the PDF/VT standard in the latest release of PersonalEffect 5.2. PDF-VT became an ISO standard in August of 2010, and is beginning to gain support in both producer and consumer software products. In addition, with the release of PersonalEffect 5.2 comes PersonalEffect Analytics, geared toward providing more detailed and valuable insight to marketing professionals for cross-media campaigns or programs.
  • Meadows Publishing Solutions added support for Quick Response (QR) code generation in its DesignMerge VDP tool, along with support for Adobe’s Creative Suite 5.
  • EasyPurl also showcased its cross-media and personalized URL solutions and offering special savings for attendees.

Web-Enablement for Everyone

Many service providers have begun to see the benefits of both having a Web storefront to offer online printing services to their customers. While dozens of solutions exist in the US market alone, new ones continue to pop up.

  • Tweak is likely the newest player, as its product just launched in February of this year. The company showcased its custom design template repository, which contains roughly half a million different designs for a wide variety of verticals. Tweak’s templates also include editable text for each printable piece that is vertically focused, along with a logo creation tool. While consumers can order print directly from Tweak, the company is also whitelabeling its solution and templates to service providers. Other vendors in this space need to take note of Tweak; it has one of the nicest, most intuitive user interfaces we have ever seen in a Web-to-Print product and has real potential to make an impact.
  • Rochester Software Associates (RSA) released WSPR, which stands for Web Service Printing Remotely. WSPR enables RSA’s hosted WebCRD OnDemand product to securely print to local production print centers without IT involvement or firewall changes.

Workflow Optimization through Automation and Information Management

Turnaround requirements and cost implications are not getting any less important, and services providers are looking at new ways to optimize their workflows by automating repetitive processes and looking at solutions that monitor every step. With recent announcements by Heidelberg to acquire CERM and EFI to acquire PrintStream, many vendors are looking for new opportunities to provide more complete solutions to fulfill the needs of their customers.

  • RSA presented their latest solutions to address this problem, AnyPrint and TicketMe. AnyPrint is a technology recently embedded in all RSA products that allows for fully ticketed jobs to print on almost any device. TicketMe replaces last year’s release of KDKPrint as the standalone solution for job ticket conversion from proprietary formats of multiple workflows.
  • Enfocus showcased the latest version of Switch, which includes a new tool for routing Enfocus Certified PDF files based on their preflight status.
  • SmartSoft Datatech’s PressWise had its first year exhibiting at ON DEMAND, showcasing its hosted Web submission and Web-based production workflow automation solution.
  • EFI highlighted its MIS and storefront solutions including EFI Pace, EFI PrintSmith and EFI Digital StoreFront at its own booth as well as at the Canon, Konica Minolta, and Ricoh booths.

What to Expect for Software in 2011

Many of the trends we saw at On Demand 2011 are similar to those predicted in the Software and Services Roadmap published earlier this year. These cloud-based announcements are among the first of 2011, and we expect to hear more as service providers seek new solutions. Additional acquisitions and partnerships are expected to occur as well, further converging the enterprise and production software markets and creating more diverse solutions for businesses. As a result, it’s possible that On Demand 2011 may be the last year we see a carpet dividing the lines between On Demand and Info360.

ON DEMAND 2012 has already been announced for next year. In response to DRUPA the conference will be held June 12-14, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

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