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Why Cloud Hesitancy is Stalling Your Print Business

By Chris Young
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Why Printers Hesitate to Adopt Cloud Solutions 

It’s no secret that change, big or small, can be daunting, especially for small to mid-sized printers who fear the immediate repercussions and interruptions caused by change.

But adapting through transformation is an integral part of business to protect your competitive position and customer retention—and cloud-based print MIS/ERP systems are the lifeblood for a successful transformation. In this blog post, we will discuss the hesitations, trends, and benefits of adopting cloud solutions in the print industry.

Understanding the Impact of Silos of Data  

Before we dive into the cloud, let’s address the elephant in the room—MIS and ERP technology. A management information system (MIS) and/or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system are centralized software platforms that act as the backbone of an organization’s operations. Instead of silos of data, an MIS/ERP automatically captures data and pushes it seamlessly through a centralized database, reducing labor and opportunity for error.

Data silos are created by using multiple systems that do not communicate with each other. This results in what we refer to as “swivel chair integration.” That data is entered into one system, and the estimator or administrator must swivel their chair to re-enter data in another system. This is obviously labor-intensive, error-prone, and not at all sustainable in today’s fast-moving environment.

Read:The Risk of Manual Print Estimating in Excel

When a printer starts to see the financial and operational impact that disparate systems can have on productivity and the bottom line, they begin evaluating all-in-one operations management solutions that can help streamline processes and resolve these issues. The solution is to invest in a print MIS/ERP system. But the question is, should you adopt the traditional on-premise system or modernize your business in the cloud?

What’s Driving Cloud Adoption in the Print Industry?  

Investing in a brand new state-of-the-art print MIS/ERP system and the supporting infrastructure and resources is not budgeted for many printers. That’s why they are turning to affordable, flexible, cloud-based print MIS/ERP solutions.

From the rise of the digital workforce to the demand for a more seamless customer experience, here are some of the latest trends currently influencing cloud adoption. By providing a centralized platform for better data management and process efficiency, cloud business management solutions are designed to increase value across your operations and directly impact customer success. Although cloud computing offers many advantages to growing small to midsized businesses, here are some of the reasons fueling the decision to migrate to the cloud:

  • Easy-to-manage pay-as-you-go model 
    Cloud solutions are priced by the number of concurrent users, the frequency of transactions, or a combination of both, allowing better financial planning and more predictable costs.   
  • More predictability and less labor-intensive 
    As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, the cloud vendor is responsible for maintaining the servers, handing software upgrades and security, and keeping your system running at all times. This relieves your team (and your wallet) of day-to-day maintenance.  
  • Access from any location 
    With proper credentials and an internet browser, your team can access the tools and data they need from anywhere with a stable internet connection. That makes it easier for owners and managers to monitor activity, even when they are not in the office.
  • Seamless digital selling 
    A cloud-based print MIS/ERP provides the accessibility and availability of your sales force to access the system while on a call—virtual or in-person—with a customer. They can check job status, inventory levels, and more. Plus, they can produce an accurate estimate on the spot for typical jobs without the need to contact the estimating staff.
  • Convenience and significant savings 
    Hosting an MIS/ERP system on-site also means more investments in hardware and IT staff to manage them. A cloud-based solution takes the pressure off of your business, employees, and finances.

4 Reasons Why Some Printers Hesitate to Adopt the Cloud  

Even with all these potential benefits just around the corner, some printers are still reluctant to adopt cloud technology in their own business. With change comes fear, growing pains, and hesitancy. In the mind of many small to midsized business owners, there are 4 major barriers to get past before embracing the cloud. We’ve exposed them and uncovered the truth behind each obstacle:

  1. Security Breaches and Hacking 
    Data security and backup fears have been a primary challenge preventing printers from moving to cloud-based print management systems. With data breaches across all types of industries and company sizes occurring regularly, most of which are undetected or unreported, it’s no wonder that there is reluctance in moving to the cloud. However, the reality is that cloud-based business applications are typically more secure than those hosted locally.   
  1. Cloud service providers, like Microsoft and Amazon, own heavily fortified facilities around the world to maintain state-of-the-art computer servers. They invest large amounts of resources and research into safeguarding hosted data. These companies allow smaller printing businesses to bypass the burden of hardware costs, infrastructure maintenance, and labor investments to keep their data and systems secure.  
     
  1. Vendor Lock-In 
    “What we don’t own… we don’t control.” Many printers are still concerned with the idea that committing to the cloud means getting locked down to a specific cloud service provider, product, and software partner. This isn’t true. But the key takeaway here is that although you can change partners and vendors at any time before, during, and after implementation, it’s not something you want to do. The cost of a misaligned partner relationship or product can cripple a business with already tight margins.  
     
    The more project delays, the longer it takes to see results. You avoid this scenario by doing your due diligence and finding a partner with your best interest in mind. That partner will be able to understand your goals, successfully guide you through a software deployment, and fully support you for years to come. And they won’t try to sell you technology you don’t need. Here are some tips on how to find the right print software partner for the long term.   
     
  1. Unknown Costs 
    What’s top of mind and never out of sight? Costs. When you have been paying for on-premise software and hardware for years, it’s hard to wrap your mind around a monthly subscription model. So, let’s set the record straight. With cloud print management software, you pay a monthly fee for the application, storage, hosting, and uninterrupted access. While you avoid infrastructure, system maintenance, and upgrade costs, you still have to consider installation, training, data migration, customization, and support fees.  
     
  1. Change Management  The addition of any new business management system comes with growing pains. Cloud print MIS/ERP software is built to streamline and automate business processes, and that usually means reassessing the way you currently operate. Due to unfamiliarity or lack of involvement, some employees may find it difficult to see how they can provide value or where they fit in a new software implementation.  But the truth is, the real power of the cloud is lifting the technical constraints off of talented but often overburdened people. It provides the tools they need to do their job better and faster. One of the ways to get past this obstacle is through more education. Here is a relevant blog post on cloud ERP software:

Read: How to Use Cloud ERP to Future Proof Your Business

10 Key Considerations to Make Before Committing to the Cloud  

Whether you are looking to implement a new print MIS/ERP solution or migrate your existing system to the cloud, there is no better time than the present to take a step back and look critically at the systems supporting your business and production operations. To learn more about integrated print MIS/ERP technology and dive deeper into the advantages of moving to the cloud, our experts have put together a helpful whitepaper. In addition to understanding why print MIS/ERP technology is essential to survive (and thrive) in the print industry today, you will learn:

  • The importance of tackling data silos and data integrity 
  • What a print MIS is (and what it’s not) 
  • The advantages of cloud-based software 
  • 10 considerations to help you assess your need for cloud print management software

Take a step closer to controlling your profit margins and injecting growth into your printing business with cloud-based print MIS/ERP technology.

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Whitepaper: What is Print MIS and Why Do Modern Printers Need it to Survive?

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.