The Cannata Report's April 2016 Special Out of the Box: Software & Services issue features a virtual software panel with Stephen Young, president & CEO, Square 9; Bruce Malyon, President, MaxxVault; Vaclav Muchna, CEO and co-founder, Y Soft; Jordan Darragh, founder & CEO, PrintReleaf; Casey O’Hara, director of product, Print Releaf; and Chris Dance, president, PaperCut. Because of space limitations, we were unable to include all six questions asked of the panelists in the print edition. That sixth question and our panelist’s responses appear here in digital format only.
CR: What trends are impacting your software development and enhancements to your products?
Young: The hottest trend right now is business process management. That was evidenced last year by our release of Global Action. There was a time when eliminating paper was the single biggest focus of the customer, now it’s about reducing the labor costs associated with manual data entry. Customers want to be able to extract high value data from the paper they’re scanning so it can be shared with business applications—their accounting system, their CRM platform, or their ERM solution. A big part of what we’re being asked to do these days is take information from purchase orders or invoices, for example, and feed that directly into their accounting system to intelligently create transactions. The ROI on this type of automation is substantial. It’s a hot trend that I don’t see slowing down anytime soon.
Dance: One of the biggest trends is not so much a force inside the printing industry, but a force without, and that is the user’s expectation around simplicity and power. We’re seeing the advent of mobile apps shaping people’s opinions, small bits of functionality, doing it really well, and easy to use. We’re finding that is shaping a lot of thinking around trends in the industry. PaperCut is one of those products that offers an install out-of-the-box experience and an intuitive interface that anyone can set up, but also when combined with professional services can offer the power to the end user as well. Being able to support those often biometrically opposed models, simplicity vs. power has been one of PaperCut’s selling points and something that has influenced our development.
Every day we are looking for new ways to integrate our software with additional software and services. It’s about existing in an ecosystem in IT as opposed to being a standalone product. That’s something else that’s influencing our development.
Darragh: PrintReleaf has dependencies because we’re integrated with products like FMAudit. But when you take that a step further, FMAudit’s central server and website reporting is also dependent on a downstream DCA (Data Collection Agent) installed at the customer to remain active and prevent it from being stale. You have all these different interdependencies which, when [operating] in collaboration work very well, and when they don’t, they don’t work at all. To bring it back to your question, we’re looking at ways to enhance quality assurance, reliability, and health monitoring of our application as far downstream as we can see. In order for PrintReleaf to work we need a DCA running at this customer. For the monitoring to work, you need that DCA to work. It all has to be working in unison for delivery. Anything we can do to develop our product in that direction to keep uptime at or near 100% assures delivery for the dealer and ultimately their customer.
O’Hara: Too add to that, we’re finding that people are eager to share everything on social networks and many of our new features and enhancements are around sharing and promoting, so it’s in the direction of supporting our customers. People should be proud of their reforestation efforts.
Malyon: The biggest impact on development is around mobile devices. You have to decide how much time and money you spend on developing a feature on the mobile platform because it costs roughly three times more than designing that same feature for a browser interface. Some features are just not practical in the “real world” on smaller mobile devices—no one is going to merge two 20-page PDF files on a mobile device just yet, nor are they going to complete complex workflows that require specific task lists on a mobile device. When we are adding new features to the product they fall into three categories: server-based admin and setup features, browser functionality for MaxxCloud, and mobile.
Muchna: There are trends we see on the market, and trends we believe in and which we try to push to the market. The first category is about lower cost of ownership (limiting number of servers, sharing server costs among more customers – i.e. public cloud), spreading use of mobile phones and, in specific vertical markets (such as education), also 3D printing – you’ll find all that in our latest offering – SafeQ 6.
The trend we believe in is the use of a [single] platform instead of multiple, different products. It also lowers the cost of ownership. A big chunk of the benefit is there for the dealer channel – such as simplified installation, deployment, service, support and maintenance.
Read the rest of the story as published in the April 2016 Special Out of the Box: Software & Services Issue: "2016 Virtual Panel Series: Software."
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