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The U.S. e-Print Infrastructure Market


Introduction
 
CAP Ventures defines e-Print Infrastructure as hardware, software, and related services delivered via a licensing or application service provider (ASP) model that allows print buyers to procure printing and print-related services via the Internet. These services might include job specification, RFQ, job submission, ordering print (new jobs or reorders), job tracking, and customer service. They may be buy-side focused or supplier focused, and may include such tools as auctions, e-catalogs, collaborative tools, and document repositories.

The print e-procurement infrastructure market is embryonic, initially populated by small, start-up companies that are struggling in the wake of a severe economic downturn. As we see small start-ups consolidating and larger players entering the market, however, we believe that this market is poised for considerable growth. Nevertheless, there is a caveat to this growth: we do not expect to see significant success among e-procurement “point” solutions. Those solutions that are offered as part of an integrated, end-to-end process reengineering strategy on the buy-side or the supply-side will be able to demonstrate a more compelling value proposition to prospective customers and will therefore be more likely to participate in the expected increase in adoption of these types of solutions.

e-Print Infrastructure and the Super-Efficient Organization

Today, we no longer view the purchase of print via the Internet as an industry, or even as a distinct market. The Web is an enabling technology that allows buyers and sellers to conduct business more efficiently and less expensively. That technology is supported by a range of hardware and software solutions and services. The most significant trend we are seeing is that more and more of these solutions are linked to, or offered as part of, other print production for print business management solutions. Ultimately, these integrated, end-to-end solutions will form the basis for the Super-Efficient Organization. The Super-Efficient Organization is one that has achieved high levels of efficiency and optimization by basing operations on content-driven, automated processes that link all stakeholders in a value chain.

CAP Ventures believes that a Super-Efficient Organization is a requirement for success in the mature, competitive print industry. In a Super-Efficient organization, procurement processes are coordinated with suppliers’ order fulfillment processes. In addition, common data repositories eliminate duplication of effort, time, and cost while providing higher levels of service, and the Web is used as a common business tool.

Characteristics of a Super-Efficient organization are:

  • Internal processes function with rare interruptions and few errors       
  • Little data is re-keyed between functions       
  • Units and functional areas collaborate       
  • Work processes are fast and cost-effective       
  • The organization interacts with stakeholders by sharing processes across the supply chain

Summary

The e-print infrastructure market is a young, immature market that is populated by early adopters. It offers considerable growth potential as solutions continue to make their way into the mainstream of print production. Nevertheless, this is not a market of point solutions. Instead, e-print infrastructure is the thread that will weave together the business systems and production solutions of the print value chain of the future. This value chain will be dependent on other key technologies such as content management, variable data, PDF workflow, and color digital printing. Solutions vendors who recognize this and offer interoperable solutions that embrace industry standards will have the greatest opportunity for success.

This document has been abstracted from the CAP Ventures white paper entitled “The U.S. e-Print Infrastructure Market,” which reviews the e-print infrastructure market in the United States. The document examines market size, growth, and trends. For more information about this and other CAP Ventures white papers, contact Alison Hipp at  ext. 126.

 

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2011 InfoTrends