Microsoft, Kodak, and Inkjet Workflows: Kodak’s Announcement!

In Article, Commercial Marketing Collateral, Knowledge Base, Product Release, Workflow Optimization by Pat McGrewLeave a Comment

Kodak launched Prinergy On Demand Business Solutions, creating a collaboration between the Prinergy On Demand workflow automation platform and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem. In the announcement, Kodak adds print MIS provider PrintVis and web-to-print experts Vpress to collaboration to create an integrated business and production workflow environment. Is this just another collaboration announcement, or is this something worth investigating?

Taken at face value, the ability to integrate production workflow elements with core business elements is interesting. One common gap in print shops is sharing data over that business/production wall, which impacts decision making on both sides of the aisle. Since many printing companies already use elements of Microsoft Dynamics combined with the ability to integrate and exchange data with the production elements commonly available in a print MIS and gathered by a web-to-print solution is worthy of investigation.

To be clear, Kodak Prinergy is typically found in commercial print shops that grew up feeding computer-to-pate (CTP) systems. Prinergy wasn’t designed for digital. But it was designed for workflow automation and is commonly automating the flow of files that can, today, be as comfortable on a digital print device as they are feeding a CTP system. Does that make this new Prinergy On Demand Business Solution worthy of consideration for your inkjet-supporting workflow? It could be.

Start with your current production. If you are already a hybrid print shop, supporting analog and digital print devices, you may have already built a workflow that feeds both environments seamlessly. However, it may be that you are running two discrete workflows that never hold hands. If you are in the latter camp, this Prinergy On Demand offering could be an opportunity to create a single, integrated workflow with options to make late-binding decisions regarding which device to use for output. The rules-based automation in the core of the Prinergy offer some powerful tools to make that happen.

What about inkjet print houses with homegrown workflows comprised of diverse software tools and processes? Is there value in looking at this new cloud offering? The answer is yes. It is worth the time to investigate. You may find that moving to a cloud-based solution opens more options, especially as many companies have sent people home to work and are uncertain on the timing of bringing them back. Cloud-based workflows like this one from Kodak are scalable and comfortable with handling remote file management.

If you are operating without an architected workflow, as many shops do, this is the type of solution that you can implement to provide modular infrastructure. Once you have the infrastructure established the workflow is easier to document! And, while Kodak might want you to start with Prinergy, if you have tools in your business workflow like Microsoft PowerBI installed, it can be the hook that lets you tie into the Prinergy On Demand Business Solution platform. The Microsoft APPSOURCE catalog of integrated solutions for Dynamics 365 goes beyond the MIS and web-to-print functions offered by PrintVis and Vpress to encompass a host of other business solutions that can share data with the Prinergy production workflow to provide deeper analytics. 

Nothing about cloud-based workflows provides instant integration and frictionless implementation. But there are interesting options here to tie things together in a way that can create more visibility in the business. It’s worth noting that because Vpress and PrintVis already sit on the platform, companies that use these solutions might also take a look towards the Prinergy On Demand Business Solution offering to extend their ability to integrate and share data between the business and production teams.

Approach this as you would any investigation into opportunities for new, more streamlined workflow upgrades. Assess where you are today. What tools are you using, and can you share data from those tools with the business platforms. Consider how integrated your raw materials inventory is with job scheduling, quoting, estimating, and invoicing. Does your current workflow toolset let you identify change requests and invoice appropriately? Is there value to your business to move core workflow operations to the cloud? These are just the starting points, and the answer will be different for every company.

Take what you learn from the quick self-assessment and look at this offer from Kodak and their partners. The integrated solution is available from the beginning of January, but you can start your investigation today! Whether you have a hybrid print technology environment or an inkjet-only environment, it’s worth considering these cloud-based integrated environments as a path to long-term workflow efficiency. It can also lead to cost containment by reducing the need for on-site servers and IT staff, and that is always worth considering!

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