How the Cloud and SaaS Use Is Evolving in the Printing Industry
Back in 2012, I ran a survey on the 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 that came out of the initial survey was the number of organizations that had a strategy in place to specifically prohibit the use of cloud services. Back in 2012, 28 percent of commercial operations and 60 percent of in-plants had these types of cloud-prohibitive strategies. In 2015, that number has dropped by over half to 12 percent 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 percent of commercial printing operations and about 40 percent of in-plants are open to using cloud-based solutions and the types of products they’re using is also changing. Back in 2012, most of the operations using SaaS used it for functions that involved the Internet anyway: multi-channel communications, portals, email marketing and file transfer. That has changed over the past three years so that now, while SaaS use has grown across the board, the growth has been particularly profound for internal functions that wouldn’t normally require the Internet, such as design, data, document management and mail. And this is expected 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, the benefits were outweighing the 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 3/4 of the respondents considered the risks listed as being valid concerns, less than 1/3 viewed any of them as major concerns.
I’ve posted two videos that provide more details, charts and interviews on www.xerox.com/cloud. Look for the Caslon Video White Paper Series in the Helpful Resources section on the right-hand side of the page. The take-away is that cloud-based solutions and services usage is increasing in the printing and marketing services marketplace, and while there are still risks, most companies are finding that the benefits outweigh them and the cost doesn’t seem to be 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.
Greg Cholmondeley is president of Cholmonco Inc. Cholmonco is a technology marketing consulting company that researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions. Cholmondeley is especially interested in how industry leaders efficiently get work through digital printing and marketing services operations. He has also written two fictional novels. The first is titled “Nakiwulo and the Circle of Shiva” and the second is called “Princess.” You can learn more about his consulting practice and read more of his blogs at www.cholmonco.com. You can discover his books at http://books.cholmonco.com.