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The cloud: a democratizing platform for printing business technology

by Gershon Alon, HP Indigo Workflow solutions manager

 

In a cloud-based world, does size matter? Of course it does, but less than it used to.

One reason for this is that with the cloud increasingly being used for business technology platforms, small companies can benefit from the kind of technology investment that used to be the exclusive realm of big companies.

 

Running any kind of business today requires a great deal of technology. Actually, given that there is more CPU, memory and disk space on our smartphones than there used to be on desktop computers, even our daily lives as private individuals depend on significant amounts of technology. Not so long ago, it was unimaginable that we would have all that computing power in our hands; today, we can’t imagine being without it.

 

Likewise, every print business today requires massive amounts of technology, across every aspect of operations. Current challenges – such as shrinking print runs, turnaround times and margins, globalization, and customization – all demand technological solutions. The necessary IT infrastructure, software, and advanced algorithms, etc. carry hefty price tags.

 

Prime Group has firsthand experience of the challenges that come with in-house technology development

 

A billion dollars can go a long way

Cimpress, formerly known as Vistaprint, is an excellent example of what it takes to keep ahead of the technology curve. Over the past three years, the mass customization powerhouse has invested an average of 13% of its total revenues in technology and development, $221 million last year alone (according to Cimpress’ own financial statements). It also says that $1.3 billion worth of technology, development and capital expenditures went into its new mass customization platform. Yes, you heard right: $1.3 billion.

 

Industry giants can afford to invest in technology at giant rates. But, for most, it’s simply out of the question.

 

PrintOS brings technology to the masses (of HP customers)

Here at HP, we understand that technology is a must, but that most print service providers can’t invest enough. So, we’re doing it for our customers – by developing a cloud-based platform for print production, and making it available to customers. That’s HP PrintOS.

That’s the beauty of the cloud. As a company that has the resources to invest in print technology on a large scale, we’re able to leverage the cloud to make sophisticated, complete solutions available to any print service provider with an HP press.

 

Right now, HP Indigo and HP PageWide Web Press users – in big and small companies – are able to benefit from PrintOS; and in the future, other HP users will be able to too. That’s what I mean by “democratizing”. No print service provider left behind.

 

The Site Flow application is a perfect example of how PrintOS is democratizing print business technology. As an all-in-one centralized control solution for B2C and B2BC print jobs, Site Flow is the most sophisticated end-to-end solution currently available on the PrintOS platform. It simplifies and automates end-to-end management and production, making it easy to capture, produce and deliver hundreds or even thousands of products daily.

 

 

In short, it enables print companies to solve a very big challenge, without making a big investment.

To see what that means in reality, checkout this short clip about Prime Group’s foray into developing their own print production management solution before they decided that Site Flow offered a better option.

 

Taking technology democratization further

Even now, development and expansion of the PrintOS platform is ongoing. We have started to work on PrintOS Marketplace, which will enable users to subscribe to third-party applications residing on PrintOS. This means that PrintOS will be the distribution platform for a wide variety of software vendors – many of which cannot afford the huge risk and cost of marketing and distributing their software to the global print market. In this way, HP PrintOS will serve as the bridge between print service providers and software vendors, further democratizing print business technology.

You can learn more about PrintOS here.

 

What do you think?

Do you agree about the democratizing power of the cloud? What else do you think the cloud can do for print businesses? Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.

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About the Author
  • I sit at the crossroads of the HP Indigo technology development team and our customers, sharing knowledge and tools that help printing companies continue growing their business. I’ve been immersed in the world of digital printing since 2006, when I joined HP Indigo. In work and life, I’m passionate about old and new media, and the joys of raising four children.
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