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The Datalogics Motto – Where Experience Delivers

Xplor President/CEO Skip Henk Interviews Matt Kuznicki, CTO of Datalogics

Datalogics is relatively new to the Xplor world, exhibiting for the first time at Xploration 17 earlier this year. That said, I reached out to Datalogics’ Chief Technology Officer, Matt Kuznicki, and asked him to introduce himself and Datalogics to the Xplor community.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Datalogics considers themselves the premier source for PDF and eBook technologies in the industry. I won’t go into more detail than that as Matt gives us a great overview below. However, I do want to introduce you and tell you a little about Matt himself.

Matt Kuznicki is responsible for product development and engineering. He serves as a recognized expert in document applications, eBooks, electronic documents and the PDF file format. Matt is also a member of the board and Chairman of the PDF Association, as well as the US Technical Advisory Group on document management applications (ISO/TC 171 SC 2), and active in the PDF standards and technical communities.


Skip: Tell us a little bit about the company itself and a bit about its history?

Matt:  Datalogics, Inc. is based in the great city of Chicago, and we are proud to be able to say that we have recently celebrated our 50th year in business. We consider ourselves the premier source for PDF and eBook technologies. We were founded in 1967 and started as a small independent software firm, in the era of reel tapes and punch cards. We’ve come a long way from those days, and now leverage tools like Agile and GitHub to keep up-to-date with new ideas in the IT community. Our primary goal when we first started, which still rings true today, has been to surpass our customer expectations by providing them with innovative features and new product updates to meet their needs.

Datalogics offers solutions that include a wide range of powerful PDF and eBook technologies for .NET, Java, and C/C++ developers. We are a partner member of the PDF Association and I have the honor of being chairman of the PDF Association. Datalogics is also a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Readium Foundation.

Skip: Give us some history and context about why PDF has been and continues to be so widely accepted and used as a standard document format?

Matt: PDF has continued to be an ISO standard-driven document format; the PDF format provides consistent interoperability for users, facilitating the creation of portable documents and ensuring reliable interchange. Furthermore, regulated industries continue to require and utilize specialized versions of PDF such as PDF/A (archive) or PDF/X (graphics/print).

As further validation that PDFs continue to be a widely-used document format, based on a PDF Association Technical Conference presentation as of October 2015, there were about 1.6 billion PDF documents on the web, 60% of non-image attachments in Outlook Exchange Enterprise were PDF documents, and conservatively there might be 2.5 trillion or higher PDF documents created each year.

Skip: Where is PDF headed next, and how will it continue to be relevant?

Matt: Since one of PDF’s strengths is its focus on longevity – the ability to use PDF files far out into the future – I believe it’s a good thing that PDF doesn’t undergo drastic change very often. While it’s tempting to focus on new technologies, often times users and adopters of unproven document technologies can find themselves stranded when the hype cycle dies down and they are left with large investments in formats that fail to gain traction. With PDF, there is a broad ecosystem of tools and workflows that ensures the vitality of PDF for the decades to come.

PDF 2.0 is an exciting development that represents an evolution of PDF, one that preserves compatibility with earlier versions of PDF as much as possible. We anticipate that PDF 2.0 will be used first in closed-loop workflows, as end users gradually adopt PDF 2.0-compatible viewers. While many of today’s PDF viewers can view most PDF 2.0 files, new features of PDF 2.0 will take some time to be adopted. We expect that there will be a transition over the next several years, if not longer, as document creators gradually add support for PDF 2.0 creation to their software.

In fact, Datalogics is happy to announce our donation of an initial set of example PDF 2.0 files to the PDF Association. We are proud to help the PDF Association in their mission of providing technical resources and education to PDF practitioners. These PDFs are specially constructed to be readable even to those who aren’t yet PDF experts, and are based in part on PDFs Datalogics has built for our own in-house educational programs.

Skip: What are some key things you should consider when choosing/evaluating a partner/vendor for PDF technology solutions?

Matt: A PDF solutions provider/vendor should be active in the PDF community and be advocates for their users in the broader community by helping to move PDF forward. This ensures that PDF continues to address and solve new business problems while making sure that the needs of current users are also not ignored. PDF vendors should also enable users to solve their problems effectively by providing intuitive, simple and implementable solutions for both common and complex problems, while still adhering to the PDF standards specification.

All these points mentioned above are hallmarks of Datalogics’ strengths. We provide PDF technologies and document solutions to a wide range of industries and businesses and offer unparalleled support and expertise. We have dedicated Technical Support Engineers who are available to our customers and prospects during the evaluation process. We also offer many other resources such as our knowledgebase, customer portal, blog, technical service bulletins, and our development site which include documentation, code samples and release notes. We are also active participants in the various developer communities including Stack Overflow where we have the “Adobe-PDF-Library” and “PDF-Java-Toolkit” tags to help facilitate knowledge sharing.

Skip: Matt, I thank you for taking the time to share with our readers more about Datalogics and your thoughts on PDF. Any closing thoughts?

Matt: Just want to thank everyone for taking the time and be sure to check out our website at www.datalogics.com. Perhaps we can do business together in the future with some of you!

Skip: Once again, thank you for your time and for your ongoing support of Xplor International.


I want to go ahead and plug Datalogics as well as our upcoming show by saying I hope all our readers will check out the Datalogics booth at Xploration 18! The show will take place April 17-19, 2018 in Orlando at the Rosen Plaza. Datalogics will be in booth 9. Stop by and say hello, their team will take great care of you!

Until next time! Take care.

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Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

How the EDP Certification (and the M-EDP Designation) can Help you Personally and Professionally

An Interview with Paul Abdool, M-EDP, Student Advocate and Student for Life
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

I had a conversation with Paul recently who shared an interesting story regarding his EDP designation that I asked if he would share with everyone. A story that shows professional certification not only benefits companies and your resume, but can help you even on a personal level.

Paul is currently Vice President of Sales at Doxim and has been a part of the Xplor community for many years. Based out of Toronto, Paul began his participation as a local Canadian region board member and joined the Xplor International board a short time later. Eventually, Paul became the Chairman of the Board for a couple of terms and now once again sits on the Canadian region board.

He was the driving force behind Ryerson University becoming Xplor’s first Student Chapter. Paul has been to numerous Xplor events, both in Canada and the U.S., attained his EDP in 2004, and topped it all off with his Master EDP (M-EDP) in 2014.

Skip: Paul, thank you for taking the time today. Paul, I know you are very passionate about the EDP Program and are very proud of your M-EDP designation.

Paul: I certainly am as I can always be seen at industry events wearing my EDP pin!

Skip: When did you get your EDP and what drove you to strive for it?

Paul: I received my EDP in 2004 and my M-EDP in 2014.  I was encouraged by a few Xplorers that I really respected.  For the fun of it, I had a side bet with someone in 2003 that I would finish it by 2004.  I won!  In many ways!

Skip: What does it mean to you personally to be an EDP?

Paul: As a young Xplorer at the time, it elevated my credibility prior to getting grey hair.  Those who knew about the EDP Certification instantly had positive thoughts about my knowledge.  When I explained it to others and they saw my EDP pin, they understood that my knowledge about our industry was well-rounded.

Skip: Has the certification helped you professionally throughout your career?

Paul: Yes, but it is hard to separate the EDP certification from Xplor.  The association’s educational forums that comes prior to earning an EDP probably outweighs the EDP certification, however, the process of acquiring the EDP and the possession of it, has been very positive for my career as well.

Skip: Share the story that you mentioned in our previous conversation?

Paul: To earn my M-EDP, I contributed 2 chapters to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge (EDBOK) and was on the committee to finish the book and get it out.  I was very proud of that work and the best part was being a published author.  This was key to getting a work visa in the USA when I switched jobs to a company that did not have employees in Canada.  One of the criteria that they look for is being published which my M-EDP fulfilled.

Skip: Who do you think should attain their certification?

Paul: I believe that young people in our association and people looking to advance their careers should get it.  The EDA which is the stepping stone to the EDP is great but all of those EDA holders should finish the journey and get that EDP.

Skip: Thank you very much Paul for taking the time. I look forward to seeing you at Print 17 in Chicago at the keynote breakfast panel!

If anyone has any additional questions regarding the EDP Certification program, please visit www.xplor.org/edp and take a look around.

Until next time! Take care.

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Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Clarity, Award Winning Technology by Pitney Bowes

Interview with Marie-Pierre Belanger, VP Digital Solutions & Product Manager at Pitney Bowes
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

Xplor’s annual Technology of the Year Award honors an individual, company or organization that has conceived and developed an original concept leading to a significant advancement in the industry.

Each year Xplor’ call for Award Submissions yields a plethora of hardware and software submissions as vendors vie for recognition which tasks the Xplor Award Committee.

This year’s winner of the Technology of the Year Award is the Clarity product by Pitney Bowes, a new cloud offering   that leverages data analytics and services to help increase productivity and lower the cost of running a print and mail operation.

I had the opportunity to speak with Marie-Pierre Belanger, VP Digital Solutions & Product Manager at Pitney Bowes to learn more about their award winning product. Marie assumed her role in August of 2016 with the mission of continuing the success of Clarity by leading highly skilled team of experts to define, develop and deliver PB Industrial Enterprise Mail equipment data optimization solutions.


Skip: First, congratulations on receiving the Technology of the Year Award. I have to say our judges were quite impressed.

Marie: Thank you and we are honored to accept this award recognizing our work in the Industrial Internet and it’s especially gratifying to be recognized by Xplor.”  

Skip: Clarity is part of the Enterprise Business Unit of PB. Could you share with our readers how it fits within the PB family?

Marie: Our clients include many of the world’s leading insurers, telecommunications companies and financial institutions who have come to rely on Pitney Bowes to process billions of pieces of mail annually. Faced with increasing competition and cost pressures, mail operations are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity, and maintain a competitive advantage. By connecting industrial sensors, machine data, people and processes, the Clarity solutions suite helps clients access new intelligence to drive higher levels of operational performance.

Clarity Solutions is a cloud based SaaS offering available on our global fleet of production mailing systems.  It integrates and organizes data collected from sensors on our machines to drive greater operational performance for our clients.

Skip: In a nutshell, what is Clarity and what does it represent to the industry?

Marie: Clarity is a disruptive technology that brings the transformational benefits of the Industrial Internet to production print and mail.   The data and real-time insights enable the predictive analytics, and prescriptive maintenance that drive optimized performance and improved business outcomes.   The Clarity suite is comprised of three offerings:

Clarity Advisor, launched in early 2016, is our new service delivery model that offers an intelligent view into the performance of our client’s equipment to help drive higher levels of machine efficiency.  It proactively monitors trends and patterns to diagnose and resolve issues before they occur resulting in up to 10% greater machine efficiency.   Our technical experts leverage these analytics and insights to prevent system downtime and predict anomalies allowing us to start moving to outcome based service support.

Clarity Optimizer leverages actionable insights and industry benchmarks to identify an optimal combination of jobs, machines and operators to help clients improve equipment performance, operational productivity and capacity.

Clarity Scheduler provides real-time adaptive scheduling to help clients meet critical service-level agreements and drive productivity.

And in late 2017, Clarity for Production Print Systems will provide a detailed view of machine efficiency and consumable usage.

Skip: Clarity utilizes the “industrial internet”. For those not familiar with the term what exactly the industrial internet?

Marie: The Industrial Internet brings together industrial machines, advanced analytics and people in a network of highly secured connected devices to monitor, collect, analyze and deliver data-driven insights that help drive transformational business outcomes.   The business benefits include lower cost of operations, greater productivity, output and increased service levels.

Skip: This seems to be a collaborative effort with GE. How do they fit in to the equation?

Marie: At Pitney Bowes, we are leveraging a combination of physical and digital technologies to transform our businesses, which include mailing and shipping, global ecommerce and location intelligence.   We chose to partner with GE to transform our enterprise mailing business with GE Predix, the software platform for the Industrial Internet since GE has expertise in industrial manufacturing.  Our production print and mail equipment is very similar to the large scale industrial GE equipment.

Skip: What makes Clarity unique? 

Marie: This cloud based Industrial Internet technology, the first in the mail industry, allows Pitney Bowes to provide unique innovative capabilities to our clients.  Many systems collect and report data; however, by coupling the cloud analytics with our technical system knowledge and expertise, Clarity Advisor delivers the intelligent insights needed to drive higher levels of operational performance.

And by leveraging the data collected across our global install base, our clients can begin to understand how their operation compares with industry benchmarks and obtain insights that will drive the most optimal combination of jobs, machines and operators through Clarity Optimizer.

Truly innovative and unique, Clarity Scheduler leverages machine learning capabilities along with in-depth insight into the productivity relationships, trends and reoccurring patterns between operators, machines and jobs.  This provides our clients with a dynamic, adaptive real-time scheduler that learns from historical performance to unlock additional capacity and maximize yield.

And finally, all this is delivered through a secure cloud platform that allows our client to focus on their core competencies and automatically receive new features instead of supporting and maintaining complex IT infrastructures.

Skip: Marie, once again congratulations to Pitney Bowes. Do you have any closing comments? How can our readers learn more about the Pitney Bowes Clarity product?

Marie: We are proud of the recognition we have received from Xplor for Clarity.   This innovation offers the Xplor community a solution that will transform the way print and mail operations provide high quality service to their clients and driver better business outcome.  We invite you to learn more about how Clarity might benefit your operation.  Click here to do so.


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Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Much More Than a City in France

An Interview with XLPrint USA CEO, Gerard Callaghan
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

At our last conference I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Gerard Callaghan, CEO of XLPrint USA, about the various changes in our industry.

I must admit, I was not familiar with XLPrint but after speaking with Gerard and spending some time on their website  (http://www.xlprint.com/) it is apparent that their platform, Paris, is relevant, agile and totally focused on transaction documents.

I decided to circle back with Gerard and get him to share a few additional thoughts on XLPrint and his vision for our industry.

Skip: Gerard thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with the E-Document News audience.

Gerard: It is my pleasure Skip.

Skip: For our readers that are not familiar with XLPrint and its Paris product, give us your 15 second elevator pitch?

Gerard: XLPrint is a software company and Paris is our flagship product. Paris has been employed in over 55 countries, in almost every industry and in thousands of customers producing billions of printed and digital transaction documents a year. Paris is the culmination of more than 30 years of development and refinement of the tools required to efficiently design, compose and deliver transaction documents. Everyone knows that you need the right tool for a job and XLPrint remains focused exclusively on delivering exactly the right tool for transaction document workflow. We do not attempt to make tools for marketing automation or graphics arts, for example. We focus entirely on transaction document production and workflow. We believe that we continue to excel at this.

Skip: Looking ahead 2-4 years, what will our industry look like?

Gerard: I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in our industry. The rate of change and evolution in the customer communication management (CCM) and customer experience (CX) industry is astounding. Having been in this industry for over 30 years I can’t think of any other period of such great innovation and value creation. However, as exciting as these new opportunities are, companies are still very focused at fulfilling the most basic obligation of delivering transaction documents. This is usually done from business systems that have been in place for a decade or more and will remain in place for another decade or more. Many companies need a solution like Paris to handle these requirements, yet be confident they are investing in solutions that support future requirements. ‘Transaction Document Production‘ may not sound as glamorous as ‘Marketing Automation‘ or ‘Customer Experience’, but it is a vital component of any business and its workflow.

Skip: What effect will emerging technologies have on our customers and our industry?

Gerard: We are working on some very exciting ideas for transaction document content and delivery which will appeal to some of our more forward-thinking customers, but the truth is that the majority of our customers expect only incremental change in this area. Our customers still expect to be delivering significant volumes of printed and PDF/Email transaction documents in 2 to 4 years. As we saw with email delivery, there was no overnight change. Print and mail is still the main medium for transaction documents and it has been, and continues to be, a very gradual change to digital delivery. We believe that businesses will continue to look for specialized, robust, future-proof tools for transaction document production and we believe that XLPrint is one of the most focused and reliable providers out there.

Skip: What does the longer view look like? What will transaction document production look like in 15 years?

Gerard: So, even in 10 years’ time, transaction documents will still be printed and mailed and Paris will be there for them however we believe that by then we will be reaching (or have reached) a tipping point and that the majority of transaction documents will be electronically delivered. At this point, there will be an incredible opportunity to deliver spectacular functionality. We believe there will be an explosion in functionality and capabilities. We are already envisioning and working on these ideas and plan to be there for our customers as they evolve into this very bright future. XLPrint has both feet firmly planted on the ground focusing on what customers need “today” but we are very excited about what lays ahead in the longer term.

Skip: Gerard, thank you for your time. If someone would like to get in contact with you and learn more about XLPrint what is the best way to do that?

Gerard: There is obviously our web site at xlprint.com however you can also contact me directly at gcallaghan@usa.xlprint.com

About XLPrint
2017 sees XLPrint celebrate its 31st year in the business of document production and workflow solutions. We have witnessed, and been a party to, incredible changes in the way that documents are produced, distributed and managed and continue to be at the leading edge of that evolution. With thousands of installations spanning more than 55 countries, producing billions of physical and electronic pages each year, our global industry and market experience is unparalleled.

We pride ourselves on thinking beyond today, and strive to revolutionize how your business will manage tomorrow’s document production opportunities. We base our success on leading-edge technology, reliable and knowledgeable support and solid partner relationships


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Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

OpenText Exstream, Digital Transformation and Customer Communications Management

An Interview with OpenText Exstream, Senior Manager of Product Strategy
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

Last year Open Text Corp. acquired certain customer-communications management assets from HP Inc., an acquisition that certainly expanded and complemented the OpenText portfolio of software offerings.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, I wanted to catch up with Avi Greenfield, EDP – Senior Manager of Product Strategy, to discuss his views about digital transformation and Customer Communications from an OpenText Exstream point of view.

Avi, a 20 year industry veteran, is focused on technology solutions that build business value, focusing on customer communications and content management strategy. As I mentioned he is a Senior Manager of Product Strategy for OpenText Exstream, responsible for understanding the needs of customers for managing business-critical communications in complex and demanding environments, and driving the direction of the Exstream portfolio to meet those needs.

Avi received his Electronic Document Professional (EDP) certification in 2012.


Skip: Avi, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today.

Avi: You are welcome; we appreciate Xplor allowing us the opportunity.

Skip: For our readers who are not familiar with OpenText Exstream, can you give us your 15 second   elevator pitch?

Avi: OpenText Exstream offers the fastest, most reliable communications production engine to enable

digital transformation for companies. Exstream helps companies in a range of industries and sizes optimize customer engagement through the design and delivery of personalized, consistent, compliant, anytime, anywhere communications for better customer experiences across all channels. The latest version includes capabilities that enable users to create responsive, mobile-ready content; generate robust, interactive charts; perform controlled in-context editing; and better handle PDFs.

Skip: There is a lot in the media now about “digital transformation” and “digital business/digital economy” – what does that mean to OpenText and why is it important? 

Avi:  With 50% of the workforce expected to be made up of those who were “born digital” by 2020, digital communications are becoming more and more important and many companies are looking to move to a digital business model. A recent Gartner report states that 89% of companies will compete on customer experience and 90% of CEOs place CX as one of their top three priorities, so companies will need to be able to provide exceptional customer experiences across multiple channels to stay competitive in the future.

The Millennial generation is now larger than the Baby Boomers and they have more than one trillion dollars in purchasing power. Companies need to adapt their customer communications to appeal to this highly digital and technologically advanced group. Digital transformation of your business will be critical and is much more than being able to send email or PDFs because these consumers want much more engaging experiences and access to their brands 24/7. They have the highest adoption and usage of mobile devices of any generation, and they navigate seamlessly between devices and channels, which means they expect relevant and consistent content, experiences and branding across all channels.

Skip: What is the impact of digital transformation on CCM?

Avi:  We see it driving a lot of demand for modern CCM capabilities. Digital transformation means rethinking business processes to meet consumer demand for frictionless multichannel interactions. This frequently means updating or replacing core systems of record and systems and engagement like CRM, billing, customer care, and claims for example. Most organizations already have multiple systems that are used to produce and deliver traditional and digital communications. So when they update those core systems, it’s a great time to consider whether their current CCM tools and processes are able to serve all of their enterprise needs for engaging customers in a way puts them at the center and gives them the freedom to engage using the channels and devices of their choice. We see this leading to increased investment in enterprise-grade CCM tools and also increased focus and organizational resources dedicated to producing and delivering timely, relevant, compliant communications.

Skip: Given these changes, and a shift to digital documents and communications, what steps can people take right now to take advantage of this?

Avi: In the digital age, it is critical for your company to move from traditional paper-based documents to engaging conversations across all channels. By delivering communications in the channels preferred by your customers and designing with digital in mind, you can turn your communications into a differentiator.

Your communications should use clear and concise language and be compliant, accurate, and controlled. All this requires synchronizing the right data with CCM software and the business processes that intersect with customer touchpoints.

Communications—whether traditional or digital—are the primary customer touchpoint for most organizations. The quality, timeliness, and accuracy of those communications have a huge impact on the consumer’s perception of your company. And the quality of a customer’s experience is the single greatest predictor of whether they will return and promote your company or defect to a competitor and malign it.

The design of any communication is important and can either drive desired behaviors, additional revenue or loyalty if done well. If not, it can undermine customer experience and create expensive call center inquiries. As far as best practices, five key things to consider when designing any communication are:

  1. Design for understanding – What do you want recipients to understand?
  2. Design to drive action – What do you want recipients to do or not do?
  3. Design for digital first, but don’t neglect traditional channels – Do recipients have a seamless cross-channel experience?
  4. Design to align business user profile with the business process – How do you involve business users? Do they own content and messages? Can they help personalize communications for the front office?
  5. Design customer-centric communications from the outside-in – What do you do to modernize your processes and systems of interaction to deliver on consumer expectations for seamless cross-channel interactions?

Skip: Those are five great points. Do you believe the investment in CCM worth it?

Avi: Not only is it worth it, but it is essential to positive business outcomes. Providing a better customer experience is shown to increase loyalty and lifetime customer value and can be a key source of competitive differentiation. Delivering interactions that are clear, timely, and easy to understand leads to higher customer satisfaction.

So there are many pressures and expectations on customer communications. Companies must respond quickly to changing markets and circumstances, while providing consistent, high-quality communications in the recipient’s language and preferred delivery channel.

There is also a critical need to maintain compliance and control over communications for legal and regulatory reasons. At the same time, business users are demanding more control over the content and faster time to market. And of course operational requirements demand timely, optimized output at the lowest possible cost. So having an enterprise CCM platform with the right organizational commitment and resources dedicated to it is essential to increasing profitability, improving customer experience, and mitigating risk.

Skip: Avi, I once again thank you for taking the time to speak with me today and sharing your insights. Anyone who would like more information can contact OpenText here.

About OpenText Exstream
Exstream is a multichannel customer communication management (CCM) solution that is proven to improve the customer experience and make customer interactions more profitable. It allows business users to create the communications for connected customer journeys using the delivery formats and channels customers prefer – including email, web and mobile.

This software solution powers the transformation of all of your data—whatever file sources, formats, and systems you use—into relevant and insightful customer communications. With on-premise and cloud deployment options, Exstream is scalable to fit the needs of any department or complex enterprise environment. Design and deliver consistent, personalized, compliant, anytime, anywhere communications with Exstream.


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Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

An interview with Harry Lewis, President of the Advanced Function Presentation Consortium

Xplor President/CEO Skip Henk Interviews Harry Lewis, President of the AFP Consortium

Most everyone in the Xplor Community is familiar with AFP (advanced function presentation) and the impact it has had on our industry over the years. But AFP has come a long way since 1984 when it was first introduced. Most recently, it reached a very important milestone announced in January by the AFP Consortium.

Just a bit of background as to how the consortium came to be:

In October 2004 IBM initiated the formation of the AFP Color Consortium (AFPCC). The purpose was to collaboratively develop color management support in the AFP architecture. This resulted in the creation of the new AFP CMOCA (Color Management Object Content Architecture) specification which was first published in 2006.

In May 2006 IBM announced plans to open up the complete scope of the AFP architecture to the consortium. The new initiative was finalized in February 2009 with incorporation of the AFP Consortium (AFPC).

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Harry Lewis, president of the Advanced Function Presentation Consortium (AFPC), to get an idea of what the AFPC has been up to for the last several years.

Skip: Harry, thank you for taking the time to talk about the work of the AFPC.

Harry: Skip, certainly, it’s my pleasure.

Skip: Since IBM’s announcement in February 2009, could you share with our readers how the AFPC has evolved and what initiatives they have undertaken?

LewisHarry: As you well know, the print industry, and especially the digital printing industry, is constantly changing. The consortium has been hard at work helping AFP’s end users stay ahead of the game, making big strides on key issues, such as reaching agreement on a standard interchange set (IS/3), continuing to enhance color support, and defining a metadata framework to support tagging at the print file and object level. We defined a subset of AFP for archiving, of which metadata is a key component. Recently, this AFP archive (AFP/A) subset achieved ISO certification, which is essential for end users who want a high degree of confidence when creating searchable, reliable archives, whether to meet their internal needs or to satisfy externally mandated compliance.

Skip: What does ISO certification mean for AFP and its users?

Harry: ISO certification provides a level of assurance to AFP’s end users that the Archive standard brings the levels of data fidelity and efficiency they’ve come to expect from AFP, and, in cases of maintaining regulatory compliance, it gives them something to point to that indicates their archive format is recognized and accepted around the globe.

Skip: So what is next for the AFPC?

Harry: Commercial variable data has been a growing segment of AFP’s user base for a while, and, with the commercial space evolving as rapidly as it is, we intend to track and adapt to those changes to help ensure AFP users are able to meet their – and their customers’ – needs effectively, efficiently and reliably.

Skip: How can companies get involved in the AFPC?

Harry: If a company develops or sells an AFP hardware or software product, tool set or service, they may be eligible for membership. They can request further information through the Membership Information widget on our website, afpcinc.org.

Skip: Harry, I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. For our readers, you can find out more about the great work of the AFPC and its numerous standards, by visiting http://afpcinc.org/afp-publications/.

About the AFPC
The AFP Consortium is an international open standards body consisting of 33 companies committed to the continued development of the AFP architecture. Since 2004, the AFPC has developed open standards for accurate and consistent ICC-based color management, high-speed complex text, page group recovery within high-volume production, the IS/3 interchange set for compliance, and metadata support for AFP Archive and future applications, such as accessibility features.  The AFPC will continue in its role to grow and maintain the complete set of AFP architecture.

To see a full list of the Consortium’s members and learn more about the AFP Consortium and the new IS/3 AFP interchange set, visit the AFPC website http://www.afpcinc.org.

Until Next interview! Take care.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

What is Behind GMC Software’s New Look? An Interview with Tamir Sigal, CMO of GMC Software

Xplor President/CEO Skip Henk Interviews Tamir Sigal, CMO of GMC Software

GMC Software has been a longtime supporter of Xplor International and a leading provider of Customer Communications Management (CCM) software for many years.

Headquartered in Switzerland and with offices throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia, GMC Software serves thousands of users worldwide in a wide range of industries including financial services, banking, insurance, health care and the service providers that serve those industries.  In 2012 GMC Software was purchased by Neopost.

Recently GMC launched a new logo. The familiar “GMC Software” is still part of the moniker but some interesting graphics have been introduced.

So as one who is always curious about the meaning behind logos, I, Skip Henk, decided to contact GMC Software’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tamir Sigal, to see what I could find out.


Skip: Tamir, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. For our readers who are not familiar with GMC Software could you give us your 15 second elevator pitch?

Tamir SigalTamir:  It’s good to talk to you, Skip. GMC Software helps companies communicate with their customers and employees. We empower organizations to create stronger engagements with timely and relevant communications. We are the only company that provides the means for business users to develop contextual, highly individualized communications across all channels that span the entire customer journey. As a leader in customer communications, GMC supports thousands of clients and partners in banking, insurance, healthcare and service providers around the world.

Skip: I like the new logo. What drove the introduction of a new logo?

Tamir: GMC has served our market well since the company’s inception over 20 years ago. We have long-standing relationships with many of the leading companies and biggest brands in the world. And during that time there have been a lot of changes in the way people interact. Today, our customers rely on us to help them deliver digital engagements across multiple channels with one design. It was time to give GMC Software a new look and voice. Obviously a logo is a big part of a company’s brand.

Skip: Can you share the story behind its development? What do the graphics represent?

GMC Logo 062215Tamir: With the new logo, we wanted to reiterate our focus on delivering outstanding products, using the latest technologies and overachieving on customer needs. So first and foremost, the logo represents a focus on customers – GMC’s customers and our clients’ customers. The second theme of the logo is around technology. Today’s technology devices are responsive and utilize pinching to zoom in and out of visual elements. The frame represents the need for all solutions today to be responsive. Finally, today’s journey is not just about onboarding and delivering monthly communications. Every interaction
a leading brand has with their customers is important – and the symbol allows companies to focus on specific steps of the entire journey.

Skip: What do the graphics and colors represent?

Tamir: The idea was to use gradient colors to make a connection between the 20 years of experience and the future of GMC Software. We wanted to incorporate the previous logo’s colors and themes. The best way to do this is by using gradient shading.

Skip: You also changed your tagline from “The smartest way to engage customers” to “Your Customers. Engaged.” Why make this change?

Tamir: The tagline we used was specifically related to the GMC Inspire product line. The new tagline is more relevant at the corporate level. At GMC, we wanted to move the focus away from our product to what our customers want to achieve with their customers – better engagement.   

Skip: I thank you for taking the time to share with our readers more about GMC and your new branding. Any closing thoughts?

Tamir: For your readers, I invite them to visit our new website at www.gmc.net. There is a great deal of information and resources available that may be of interest to them.

Skip: Once again Mr. Sigal, thank you for your time and for your ongoing support of Xplor over the last 20 years. I look forward to seeing the GMC team at Xploration 16 in Orlando.


I highly encourage our readers to take a look at GMC’s new website because it does look great! I always enjoy the great blog postings GMC has and recently read a good one by Scott Draeger that you should take a look at. It’s titled: A glimpse into the future of Customer Communications Management (CCM).

Until next interview! Take care.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

An Interview with Mike Jackson, CEO of eLynxx Solutions

By: Skip Henk, EDP, President/CEO of Xplor International

I was recently introduced to Mike Jackson, CEO of eLynxx Solutions and although I was not familiar with eLynxx, Mike certainly had some interesting insight on some of the relevant issues in our industry.

I decided to go back to Mike, ask a few more questions and share them with the E-Document News audience.


Skip: For our readers who are not familiar with eLynxx, give us your 15 second elevator pitch.

Mike: eLynxx Solutions provides cloud software that serves a very specialized need in the marketplace. Our software is purpose-built to help organizations plan, source and manage the acquisition of custom marketing materials such as direct mail, publications, POP signage and all things print. Our platform connects stakeholders and coordinates all steps from planning to payment. In short, it strengthens the marketing supply chain by bringing complete order and transparency to a process that’s usually managed through a maze of emails and spreadsheets.

Skip: Can you tell us about eLynxx itself and perhaps a short history?

Mike
: I’ll try to give you the short description of a long history since eLynxx has been around since 1975. Throughout our forty year history, we’ve helped buyers and producers of custom print work more effectively together to the benefit of both parties. We have extensive experience and expertise working initially with printers to help them compete for GPO projects and later expanding our focus to work with private sector print buying organizations.

A pivotal point in our history came when we invented and patented a method for sourcing custom print. This method solved the so called iron triangle, allowing print buyers to achieve required product quality, on time delivery and lowest price – all at once. Conventional wisdom had previously been that you could only achieve two out the three at any given time.

Today’s eLynxx is principally a software company offering the most robust cloud software available to help print buyers and their organizations achieve cost and operational efficiencies.

Skip: From a positioning stand point, where do you see your products and services in the industry?

Mike: When it comes to buying and managing custom print, organizations have to decide whether they want to have responsibility for it or if they’d rather have someone else do it for them. If they want a third-party to take everything over, there are plenty of capable firms but that’s not our business. When an organization wants to maintain full control of everything and manage it themselves, we can greatly assist them with a solution that’s rather unique in the market.

The concern over working with a BPO or broker that I most often hear in the market is that it requires relinquishing control. Decisions over critical elements like what vendors are used, how much is paid and so forth, are placed in someone else’s hands. Depending on the arrangement, there may be limited transparency or access to information. But on the surface, the business case may look attractive because their buying power likely brings economies to the table.

When organizations maintain control by employing people to directly source and manage projects, they have the benefit of being in charge of everything but typically lack tools made for the job. Too often it’s a highly manual process that relies extensively on spreadsheets, memory, and email. That’s where we come in. As a purpose-built tool built for print buyers, eLynxx software positions organizations to have the control they want and the economic benefit they need. It’s not one or the other.

Unlike third-party arrangements, eLynxx has no print capabilities or vendor relationships. Our clients use our software to empower their own people, streamline their own process and work more effectively with their own trusted vendors. When working directly with print vendors, the inherent profits of the broker model are eliminated. And when our patented sourcing method is applied, the cost of print is reduced to levels that are often favorable to what the third-parties achieve through volume discounts.
So in short, we’re positioning organizations to have the best of both worlds – full control and the most competitive cost. We sum it up as your people, your process, your vendors, better results.

Skip: Let’s talk a little about the technology. How can enhanced workflows change an organization?

Mike
: When it comes to custom print, every organization has some level of prescribed or required workflow in the lifecycle of a project. The stages typically begin with planning and then move to sourcing and production management before concluding with approvals and payment. When they’re planning they may be going to vendors for budget pricing. When they’re ready to buy, they may do so under a contract, through a competitive bid and award process or they may even hand it to their favorite vendor without competition. And once a job is in the hands of a vendor, someone has to monitor whether the project is being produced on time, at quality standards, and ultimately ensure that the vendor is paid the right price.

The steps that happen along the way usually involve a lot of people and there are often change orders after the project is in production. So there are a lot of moving parts. When you are in the spreadsheet and email world, you rely heavily on people’s gray matter to insure that details are cared for, that boxes are checked, and that things are done in accordance with policy. Technology can effectively deal with all this complexity and transform workflow. For example, our eLynxx software allows organizations to streamline complex workflows and dependencies in a way that creates full accountability, transparency, and record keeping without adding friction. This allows our clients to embrace the complexity and deal with the workflow in a way that assures compliance. When people are freed from chasing tactical details, they’re able to focus on strategic actions.

Skip: Two questions that are somewhat related. First, what impact is the cloud going to have on how we do business and second, how will the cloud affect communications management?

Mike: The cloud is having a bigger impact on business every day. One obvious attraction point is that organizations don’t have the traditional investment in infrastructure and support costs. One common concern is that their information is being stored somewhere outside of their own four walls, so to speak. But we see a growing number of organizations, even ones who not long ago were averse, coming to embrace cloud-based solutions.

From an operations standpoint, I think the fundamental opportunity with the cloud is that it provides a means to access information, execute actions, and collaborate from anywhere, at any time. With our software, for example, all you need are internet access and credentials to login. This means people are no longer tethered to their desks or phones. The ability to see and do things from anywhere at any time makes people more productive.

Skip: Do you believe that more companies will be looking toward the software-as-a-service model?

Mike
: Absolutely. I think that not only will more companies look toward it, but those companies who are already using it will look to do more things with it. I foresee a day, not too far out, where the majority of activities are happening through cloud software.

Skip
: Compliance is a major issue for organizations. What challenges do organizations face and how have you been able to help them?

Mike
: In print procurement, the biggest challenge I see with verifying compliance is that it’s usually done on a spot-check basis. If an organization wants to pressure test whether they’re meeting compliance objectives, they have to pick random samples of jobs. The next step involves grabbing data in many forms from a lot of disparate systems. This often includes auditing email trails and may even require doing interviews to document recollection of phone conversations. So when compliance is monitored through a manual, spot-check process it’s time consuming and by definition incomplete.

What we have done with eLynxx software is insure that all jobs are managed through the same system allowing all activities, communications, and approvals to be indelibly captured in one place. Whether metrics or actions are based on time, quality or cost, our clients always have an up to date single repository. This not only affords uniform compliance monitoring, but it also means you can proactively see when a job is about to go out of compliance. It’s a very powerful business tool.

Skip: What is the importance of balancing compliance with operation efficiency?

Mike
: Getting back to my example of a more manually driven environment, if you want 100% compliance, the only way you get to that is by sampling 100% of the jobs. That means you have to add more personnel in the form of analysts and auditors. All that adds excessive administrative cost to the point where you can’t afford to get to 100% compliance. Compare that with using a purpose-built platform that automatically monitors and measures compliance as work is being done, not as a separate effort after the fact. Not only can balance be achieved, the return almost always exceeds the investment.

Skip: If I am looking for software, should I build it, buy it or both? What are the pluses and minuses?

Mike: I meet many organizations that have progressed beyond using spreadsheets to procure and manage custom print projects, often by creating an in-house system. The thing they have in common is they believe that if they build something they will get exactly what they want but not have to pay for things they don’t want or don’t need.

Now, if you’ve ever been involved in one of these projects, and I have, what you find more often than not is that, they take longer than anticipated to build, they end up costing more than expected, and you never end up with everything you’d hoped for. There’s also a requirement for operational people to be heavily involved in the design and acceptance testing which detracts from their ability to do their core jobs. So organizations typically end up dealing with trade-offs anyway, so what they get in the end is something that is less than 100% of what they wanted.

Assuming you get all this right in the first place, more unforeseen issues loom on the horizon. If they haven’t made a commitment to continually support and upgrade the software to meet their changing business needs then it will start to fall out of phase with requirements on day two. I have met organizations that are working with 10 year old home-grown systems and tell me that because it was never updated they’ve had to create numerous manual workarounds. It’s a back to the future scenario.
I think the advantage of buying it is that you are typically dealing first of all with software that was purpose-built for solving the common problems of many organizations. This brings broader perspective. And because the software is the core business of the provider, they are always looking to innovate and keep pace with changing market demands. Access to these upgrades typically comes at little to no cost to individual clients because the burden is shared across the provider’s entire client set. In the case of eLynxx software, for example, upgrades are included in the subscription price so our clients are always using current software.

The benefit in this regard, with eLynxx in particular, is that our software is designed to be tailored to fit each client’s specific business. By that I mean clients don’t have to change the way they do business to fit our software. Instead, our software is configured to fit the way they do business. That’s one of the many things that make eLynxx software unique in the marketplace.

Skip: Mike, thanks for taking the time to speak with me and share some additional thoughts and insights. Anyone wanting to learn more about eLynxx can go to their website at www.elynxx.com or can reach Mike at michael.jackson@elynxx.com.