March 3, 2017

Are Transforms or Print File Conversions a Thing of the Past?

As technology moves ahead, we had to stop and ask the question: How relevant are transforms or print file conversions? To answer that question we first have to set a baseline. In the Enterprise Output Management (EOM) or print and mail industry, the need for transforms developed from the need to move transactional document production … Continue reading “Are Transforms or Print File Conversions a Thing of the Past?”

As technology moves ahead, we had to stop and ask the question: How relevant are transforms or print file conversions? To answer that question we first have to set a baseline.

In the Enterprise Output Management (EOM) or print and mail industry, the need for transforms developed from the need to move transactional document production (bills, statements, policies, invoices) from one high-speed digital printer to another. Back in the times of the IBM 3800 and the Xerox LPS printers, it was difficult to take your print file from one printer to another due to the fact that each device had its own print language. Some of you might remember the headaches of going from AFP to PostScript or Xerox Metacode to AFP. But that was the ‘80s and ‘90s; surely those are challenges of the past?

Like the difference between imperial and metric measurements, each file type and preference for printer brands has driven entire print-operation environments that are predominantly AFP, Metacode or PostScript. As times have moved forward, there have also been advancements in the capabilities of these print languages; a specific example is the change from AFP, originally developed by IBM, to being an open standard managed by the AFP Consortium, which is now moving onward to becoming an ISO standard.

Another example is up-and-coming file formats, PDF/UA (for delivery to people with reading disabilities) and PDF/VT (a format taking on advanced variable print capabilities in competition with AFP). Like preferring Craftsman tools to MAC or Stanley, there are entire shops and industries that prefer their operations to be set up with specific workflows or need to change the file type in order to facilitate new offerings like digital mail delivery, online presentment, mobile delivery, archiving and more.

To illustrate how important print file conversions or transforms are to the print and mail industry, consider the following scenario. Imagine doing business for years in your shop where you are producing hundreds of thousands of transactional documents. You have put a solution in place to deliver to your customers and internal staff in the way they prefer, requiring print and mail documents online presentment through a custom portal. Now think about what would happen if the vendor you are doing business with changes their licensing strategy and makes it impossible for you to use their services due to increased costs and/or substandard support levels. The result, as you can imagine, is the potential to miss your contractually-obligated Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with your customer; moreover increasing costs and reducing your ability to serve your customers.

This is exactly the situation one of our clients found themselves in when they called us up and asked if we could help. Being a leader in the industry, our team knew we could create a solution that would not only help them, but ultimately save them time and reduce their costs substantially.

The key was the ability to transform or re-engineer the data coming into the print operations and then be able to move it through a set of processes to make it presentable in the online portal. Our professional services team were not only able to implement a working transform solution, but were able to use our expertise to improve operational efficiency.

This client was able to quickly able to move off their previous provider’s products and move to a CrawfordTech solution, seamlessly and on time. This client relied on our proven 24/7 support for these business-critical applications and is now investigating other components in our Enterprise Output Management solution portfolio.

Are transforms a thing of the past? No, in fact they have evolved into even more important enablers for improved operational efficiency. They have become integrated components within Automated Document Factory workflows, Archive systems, Enterprise Content Management systems, customer service operations and multi-channel delivery services. Transforms were the foundation that CrawfordTech was built on 18 years ago and are now important components in our broad range of solutions that provide the best workflow automation and document re-engineering capabilities in the industry.

To learn more about how we can help you and your print, mail and archiving operations, contact us today. Include a link or information about how they can contact us and a link to where they can find more information on our website.

We look forward to creating more business opportunities and a better ROI for your organization.