EFI doubles Productivity Suite portfolio at Connect

By Darryl Danielli, Tuesday 26 January 2016

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EFI has used its annual Connect user conference to unveil three additions to its Productivity Suite portfolio and a new portal to promote the power of print.

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Matsliach: these workflows are now designed, built and validated in a Productivity Suite context

Productivity Suite, EFI’s 'best of suite' approach to its MIS/ERP offerings where it bundles products suited to specific market applications and then tests and certifies their integration, was launched at Connect last year. It initially consisted of three packages: Packaging, Enterprise Commercial Print and Midmarket Print.

All three have benefited from a number of module enhancements, however, at last week’s EFI Connect user conference in Las Vegas EFI doubled the number of certified suites, with three new packages: Quick Printing; Publication Print and Corrugated Packaging.

The new Quick Printing suite is available on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The cloud-based suite uses PrintSmith Vision MIS and has full e-commerce and cross-media marketing functionality as well as scheduling and Fiery integration.

Publication Print package uses either Monarch or Technique ERP, depending on customer needs, at its core. It offers estimating, planning/scheduling and tracking with support for sheetfed or web litho and digital production. It also features advanced pre-press integration and optimised ganging and planning.

The final addition to the Productivity Suite portfolio is Corrugated Production, which was largely born out of EFI’s acquisition of workflow developer Corrugated Technologies Inc (CTI) last October. The corrugated business and production workflow package is targeted at carton plants with some corrugated production and full corrugated packaging plants. While the current package is aimed at conventional manufacturing, digital production, based on Fiery integration, is expected to be added in the second quarter of 2016.

“Each Productivity Suite has at its core the relevant ERP or MIS,” said Gaby Matsliach, EFI senior vice-president, general manager of productivity software.

“They are designed to drive and generate new revenues [for users], whether that be though cross-media, extending e-commerce, better customer relationship management, tools for better efficiency or productivity, which is really our bread and butter, or more advance estimating or scheduling capabilities.

“When you take all of that and combine it with the EFI eco-system you can really see that we are covering a very extensive workflow, with marketing capabilities through to acquisition and management of jobs, pre-production, production and post-production – the big difference is that [all elements] are ‘suite certified’ and those workflows are now designed, built and validated in a Productivity Suite context.”

Matsliach also used Connect to unveil some new Productivity Suite elements, including Workbench, a customisable dashboard that can be configured for various users within an operation to show information specific to their role. It is available in Commercial Print, Packaging, Midmarket suites.

The e-commerce and cross-media marketing module, available in the Enterprise Commercial Print, Midmarket Print and Quick Print Suites, has also benefitted from several enhancements: It now has a Smart Canvas, a HTML5-based VDP editor, DirectSmile cross-media integration and European VAT support and Worldpay integration. The e-commerce module will also be added to the Packaging Suite later this year.

Separately, in his Star Wars-themed opening keynote address, EFI chief executive Guy Gecht unveiled EFIs ‘Imaging of things’: an online portal for EFI users to highlight innovative applications of inkjet technology as a sort of lookbook for print buyers.

“It will allow our customers, if they have used EFI technology, to promote their capabilities [with] samples of their work, whether it be printing on carpets, caskets, flipflops, wallpaper, packaging, signage, what ever they produce. They can add their contact details and we will try to promote the ideas exchange to print buyers,” said Gecht.

It will be free for EFI customers to upload case studies to the site, once registered, and open to anyone to view for inspiration.

“We want to use the network effect to accelerate the printing of things globally, we run into so many customers who produce beautiful things, but have no way to appeal to new customers,” said Gecht.

EFI Connect is a four-day annual user conference, which has been hosted at the Las Vegas Wynn for the past 10 years. More than 900 customers attended this year’s event, which closed last Friday, up 10% year-on-year.

It featured more than 200 educational sessions and user group meetings as well as a keynote address from billionaire casino magnate Steve Wynn.

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