Print Still Relies on Legacy Content! Leverage It with Powerful Workflow Software

Print file technology has come a long way in the last few decades. Despite continuing evolution, there is still legacy data and content used to produce critical customer communications every day. You may encounter legacy files in commercial and direct mail print work in addition to normal transaction print. This legacy content, the PostScript® (PS), PCL, AFP, IPDS, VIPP file types, is sometimes hard to transition due to the systems that generate them and their essential roles in how communications are created and distributed for production and delivery.

In this SolimarSecrets ROI Boost video series, Drew Sprague, President of Solimar Systems and Pat McGrew, Managing Director of McGrewGroup, discuss legacy print file content and how platforms like Chemistry™ from Solimar can provide flexible and powerful capabilities that deliver Return on Investment (ROI). Chemistry makes it possible to efficiently manage and leverage content in organizations’ print and electronic delivery (e-delivery) production environment. One of the essential messages is the power of transitioning all work to PDF and Drew explains why this is so important as the print and digital delivery industry continues to evolve.

Implementing transform technology to take legacy files like PostScript (PS) to more modern and regulated formats like PDF is something Solimar has been helping customers do for over 30 years. Moving to a PDF-centric workflow reduces costs of production, optimizes the workflows producing final products, helps transition content to electronic (e-delivery) channels, and eases the impacts of mergers and acquisitions.

Chemistry also helps organizations where legacy content expertise is waning, making it possible to take control of the work you accept from customers without limitations. It brings workflow automation and reliable transformation as the building blocks of an efficient PDF workflow. Be sure to check our ROI Boost video in this series discussing PDF optimization and how that can drive additional ROI and cost savings.

We have created a whole series of SolimarSecrets to help organizations that produce print and electronically delivered content find paths to reduce costs, increase throughput and add business opportunities. If you missed any of the ROI Boost videos, we invite you to look back at our SolimarSecrets video page. We also have other great videos sharing secret ways in which workflow software can drive value and business for print and digital providers. Questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us; we would be delighted to hear from you.

So, can we touch for just a minute on legacy content conversions? Because I hate to I never any more like to even use the word transform because it’s not accurate anymore. I think when we start talking about taking in things like IPDS and AFP and VIPP and LCDS and all the other bits and pieces that are out there in the ether, moving them into a PDF workflow is more than just mapping this feature to this feature, right? You have to be sort of intelligent about it.

Well, yes. And you find that, for example, within our conversions there are lots of sub options because you know everybody has their own special tack on what they need to do with the workflow. The transformations themselves from any of those legacy data streams to PDF is pretty straightforward because PDF is a bigger container for functionality than any of those other ones were. And so, that transform is pretty straightforward, and the beauty of PDF then is you can aggregate those different disparate contents before you could not because there was no way to put them together.

What we’re seeing, in addition, is that there’s still demand for those legacy workflows. A lot of people, especially AFP/IPDS, depending on where you are on the globe, that’s a strong part of your operations and you need to sustain that relatively indefinitely while you complement it with other ways of leveraging it. So, you might need a color output device, but that color output device is a PDF device. So, I need to convert the AFP or IPDS into PDF and drive that device, but with the finishing specified in my AFP or IPDS file. And so that’s the kind of magic that we do is finessing all that so it works.

So, one of the things that seems like a really strong piece of the offering, as well, is that we have so many mergers and acquisitions going on in the marketplace. I mean, it’s been sort of a strong M&A market for the last ten years. But today when companies come together, you never know what the print stream that their legacy systems might be turning out could be because an awful lot of it’s still homegrown legacy generating systems. So, I guess you guys get to be the magic bullet for organizations that are going through M&A.

Well, we try to be and I think those that have made an investment in our technology don’t find that it’s a problem when they make those acquisitions because they can leverage it across whatever they pick up. And, we’ve designed things so that they are agnostic in a vendor set and you can leverage them a lot of different ways. And the return on investment with our products is very low compared to a lot of potential technologies that one might deploy. And so many times in organization, by the time they get to making an acquisition that long ago, they sunk the capital cost on our software.

So, it makes a lot of sense. When you look out in the future, can you see a time when we don’t need to convert things anymore? Do you think this is with us for the long haul?

I’m always amazed at the requests for transformations. PCL has been with us since a long, long time and we still get frequent requests for PCL transformations. And they’re not just simple transforms. There’s usually a lot more needed for the workflow because they’re trying to integrate it into something a little bit more sophisticated. But there’s more of that than you’d expect. And, you know, at some point there’s going to be a tail on it that just makes it impractical for people to want to do anything with it because they have to support the systems that generate it. And that’s more likely where the issue is then being able to support the workflow of PCL or PostScript or whatever. But what we do see is that the systems that create the content, mainframes in particular, are disappearing and people are moving to other platforms.

I think you’re right that is part of the trick. And some of it is also that the people who know how to maintain those platforms are harder and harder to come by.