Typical Investments in Software Automation

Recently we published two blogs previewing the results of our latest Xerox-sponsored research. This study is entitled, “Workflow: Where, Why, and What companies are Investing.” The first blog compared investments from in-plant printers to commercial printers, and the second talked about what was considered the most and least worthwhile investments.
The final report will be unveiled at Graph Expo but here is another glimpse into the results. The software categories studied in the survey included the following: Web-to-print, Prepress PDF, Print Management Information System (MIS), Variable-Data Printing (VDP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Cross-media applications, E-publishing, Augmented reality and Search Engine Optimization /Search Engine Marketing (SEO/SEM)
Of the nine software products/services categories, four were considered “most worthwhile” by respondents:

  • Web-to-print (54%)
  • Prepress PDF workflow (43%)
  • Print MIS (38%)
  • Variable-Data Printing (VDP) software (36%).

Are There Typical Investments?
We wanted to learn if there was a typical investment in workflow software, so we asked companies if they invested $15,000 or less, $15-$25,000, or over $25,000 in workflow software over the last 3 years (or if they made no investment). We learned:

  • More companies (38%) invested $15,000 over last three years for Web-to-print software than any other investment category (i.e… $0, $15K-$25K, or over $25K).
  • Approximately the same number (30% each) of companies made no investment, invested less than $15,000, or invested more than $25,000 in print MIS software. There was a similar three-way tie for PDF workflow software.
  • Most companies (60%) invested less than $15,000 in VDP workflow software,
  • Most companies made no investment in SEO/SEM software (63%), CRM software (59%), or cross-media software (56%).

In the full report, we break down investments by company size, investment plans for the next three years, and current and future investment plans for cloud-based services.
How do you compare? Have you invested more, less or not at all in these critical software categories? More importantly, how would you rate your investment? Would you consider it worthwhile or not worthwhile, and why?

Howard Fenton is a Consultant and Business Advisor at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers and in-plants on benchmarking performance against industry leaders, increasing productivity through workflow management, adding and integrating new digital services, and adding value through customer research.

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