How SaaS Use is Evolving in the Printing Industry

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, PODi and Caslon & Company

SaaS ChartBack in 2012 I ran a survey on Cloud and SaaS use in the printing and marketing services industry and late this summer I conducted a follow-up study. There has been a lot of change.

One of the most surprising results which came out of the initial survey was the number of organizations which had a strategy in place to specifically prohibit the use of Cloud services. Back in 2012 28% of commercial operations and 60% of in-plants had these types of Cloud-prohibitive strategies. In 2015 that number has dropped by over half to 12% for commercial operations but remains largely unchanged for in-plants. This difference is most likely due to controls imposed on in-plants by corporate IT departments.

So, that says that nearly 90% of commercial printing operations and about 40% of in-plants are now open to using Cloud-based solutions. It also seems that the types of products they’re using is changing. Back in 2012 most of the operations using SaaS used it for functions which involved the Internet anyway. These functions included multi-channel communications, portals, email marketing, and file transfer. Over the past 3 years SaaS use has grown across the board but the growth has been particularly profound for internal functions which wouldn’t normally require the internet. These functions include design, data, document management, and mail. Expect this to continue to change as more and more vendors are offering SaaS versions of their software even for mission-critical functions like workflow automation.

The survey and subsequent one-on-one interviews further explored why companies and in-plants are embracing this technology and found that, across the board, benefits were outweighing risks. Three quarters of my respondents perceived some sort of benefit from every category mentioned with the benefits perceived as having the most value being availability, remote storage, scalability, and security. By comparison, while about three-quarters of the respondents considered the risks listed as being valid concerns, less than a third viewed any of them as major concerns.

Online VideosI’ve posted 2 videos which provide more details, charts, and interviews on Look for the Caslon Video White Paper Series in the Helpful Resources section on the right-hand side of the page. The take-away from this study is that cloud-based solutions and services usage is increasing in the printing and marketing services marketplace and that companies are finding that the benefits outweigh the risks and that cost doesn’t seem to be either much of a risk or a benefit.

Your company needs to determine what path makes sense to follow with cloud-based services based upon your unique situation, but at this time, the cloud appears to have become a trusted and established delivery model for solutions and services for the printing and marketing services industry.

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