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Consider These Costs Before Investing in Print ERP (MIS) Software

By Chris Young
Build Or Buy_Header

The software you choose to run your print business on has never been more important. You operate in a rapid-paced, highly competitive environment, and small mistakes can make a huge impact on your bottom line.  

For modern printers, standalone point solutions and disparate software are your nemeses. They are some of the root causes behind process inefficiencies and inconsistencies because they inevitably lead to data silos. In the effort to optimize performance, make improvements, and be profitable, more and more print companies are transitioning to an integrated print ERP (MIS) platform designed to manage their operations from estimate to invoice. Read more about why here.  

The reality is that large-scale software implementations can be expensive and time-consuming when you aren’t prepared. Understanding all of the costs and expectations that go into a project of this magnitude is the best way to get started. But before we go into software selection and costs to be aware of, ask yourself:  

  1. Do you need print ERP (MIS) software?  
  2. Is your business ready for integrated print ERP (MIS) software?  

To answer those questions and get your team on board for change, you might find some helpful information in the introductory whitepaper below. It provides more details on what print ERP (MIS) can do for your business and what to consider before investing your resources and making the commitment.  

10 Considerations to Help You Assess Your Readiness for Print ERP (MIS)

 

Print ERP (MIS) Software: Build vs. Buy  

Once you and your team have decided to upgrade or replace your existing systems with an integrated print ERP (MIS) solution, it’s time to get down to the brass tacks: costs.  

When searching for the right print management software for your print business, you have a mountain of options in front of you. There are well-known on-premise print MIS solutions that have been around for decades, new cloud ERP software built for printers, point solutions that tackle specific areas of your business, and the list goes on.  

But one of the first decisions you have to make is whether to build or buy your own print management solution. Naturally, there are mixed feelings about this in every industry. Specifically in print, where everyone from estimators to shop floor workers have a deep-rooted knowledge in highly specialized areas—building your own solution can seem like the most viable option.  

Many of the problems that printers have with MIS/ERP software is that their companies don’t fit the out-of-the-box mold. They have processes and workflows that are unique to their operations and have difficulty finding a solution that can adapt to those nuances. Another reason is that the software just doesn’t have the functionality they are looking for.  

The other (and most popular) option is to purchase pre-built ERP (MIS) software and customize it to fit your print shop. There have been major advancements in print management software over the past decade, and there’s never a one-size-fits-all. With the help of a solution partner, this option is generally faster, more reliable, and ultimately more cost-effective in the long term.  

To help you understand the pros and cons of both scenarios, we’re going to provide a general overview of the costs that go into an implementation. Here is a comparison of what costs you need to consider when designing and building print ERP (MIS) software from scratch.  

COSTS TO BUILD  COSTS TO BUY*
Upfront analysis and planning  
Requirements gathering  
Solution Architecture  
Coding and Programming  
Hardware and Infrastructure  
Systems Integration (Ongoing)  
Design 
Documentation 
Development 
Data Migration  
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)  
Deployment  
Ongoing Support  
Ongoing Software Maintenance 
Security Updates  
GAAP and Tax Compliance  
Software Upgrades and Optimization
Upfront analysis and planning  
Requirements gathering  
Design 
Development 
Licensing  
Data Migration  
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)  
Deployment  
Ongoing Support  
 
  
*Based on the implementation steps of purchasing a cloud ERP solution   

As you can see, the to-do list required to build a custom solution in-house is a lot longer (and more complex) than buying a pre-built system. Not only would you need a full-stack team of experienced developers and solution architects, but you also need to invest in the planning, technology, and maintenance necessary to keep it updated and working. When you factor in the labor costs, a midsized printer would be looking at total costs ranging between 2 and 8 million dollars. And that’s only to build the darn thing!  

Here’s the nail in the coffin: you only have a 35% chance of succeeding if you build your own ERP solution (The Standish Group).  

Instead of rolling the dice on software development, there is far greater value in leveraging existing technology that is readily available. You can reduce your risk, lower your total costs, and increase your odds of successful software adoption (and a return on investment) with a proven out-of-the-box print ERP (MIS) system. This option is the most affordable and flexible choice for growing printers who don’t have the time to make mistakes. All you need to do is make sure you select the best-fitting software and implementation partner for your business, goals, and budget.  

If you’re interested in seeing the true cost of a cloud-based print ERP (MIS) system, check out our PrintVis Pricing Calculator! At Clients First, we keep our pricing open and available for all to see because we understand that cost is an important part of the conversation. By inputting your number of users and services required, you will be able to form a more accurate budget and have a baseline number to compare in the software selection process.  

Select the Right Software for Your Budget  

Unless you already have an experienced team of resources on staff, building a custom print ERP (MIS) solution can have a catastrophic impact on your business. It doesn’t make sense to drop millions of dollars on creating print technology that already exists. Out-of-the-box print ERP (MIS) is now more flexible and customizable than ever. With the right partner, you can tailor a solution to fit your more complex requirements. You just need to do your research to find it.  

The print management technology you invest in is going to influence your ability to grow and adapt in the future. Now that you know buying a solution is the best choice, we want to help you pick the most compatible solution for your print business. Download the whitepaper below for expert tips on print ERP (MIS) software selection, including a free scorecard you can use to assess your readiness and help you prepare for transformation.  

Chris Young

Chris Young

Partner, Clients First Business Solutions New Jersey

Chris Young is your go-to resource for all things Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central at Clients First. Highly skilled in ERP solution architecture and financial planning, Chris has spent the last 30 years helping clients select and implement the right financial, manufacturing, and distribution software for their needs. When he’s not presenting to captivated crowds or sharing his knowledge through product demos, you can find Chris in the garage working on a car or fixing something around the house.