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What software are you considering?
An important part of the Smart Directions project is to gather meaningful market data on industry trends, the most recent covered MIS.
There is one inescapable conclusion from the recent Smart Directions research into the MIS market, and that is that integration is considered the most pressing task for printers and their vendors. That comes across loud and clear from three out of four questions. It is shown most clearly in the answer to the question 'How important is an integrated workflow?' respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being most important). It is clear from the bar chart but becomes unmistakable when the data is turned into percentages. Here it can be seen that more than three-quarters of respondents ranked it as important to less than one quarter not thinking it important. In other words between three to one and four to one thought integration was important. It is also the most demanded development from MIS vendors. Unfortunately by its very nature integration requires several parties working together. While it is essential that the MIS companies do all they can to make their systems as open and easy to integrate as possible there is also a requirement from customers to be prepared to change their approaches to make integration simpler and for vendors of hardware and other software, such as web to print and prepress software to ensure their products can also be integrated as easily as possible.
Integration is highlighted as the biggest single area for the next steps in MIS implementation, but as can be seen the 'other' category is larger still. As many of the answers classified as 'other' didn't really fit a clear pattern it is hard to draw much from this. Some of the responses categorised as such included 'a huge investment and pivotal transformation'.
The final question regarding software investments showed a pretty even split of plans. Most noticeable, and alarming given the five-year timescale of the question as posed, were the number of respondents who didn't expect to invest anything or had no firm plans. Given the increasing importance of software for successful operation this suggests an area where those respondents may find they are losing out to competitors who see software more strategically.
For any company regardless of the current situation of their MIS and other software implementation plans the survey provides a useful benchmark against industry peers. Those leading the way with integration and automation are unlikely to rest on their laurels. For any firm that is not making strides towards integration and automation this should be a wake up call to get on board to ensure rivals don't gain a competitive advantage that you have no way to challenge.
Read the full feature online here.