If you’re considering an MIS upgrade but you’re not completely sure if it’s the right time, then this article may be able to help. If you identify with any of the 5 key points below, then it might be time to make the leap and upgrade…
A legacy product is one that is no longer under active development but has yet to be fully retired. This can happen because your provider is releasing a new version or product range, or because it has ceased trading or been bought by another company that intends to migrate customers on to its own products.
If your MIS is deemed a legacy product by your provider, there are some significant risks to your business that you seriously need to consider:
Legacy products can impact your business in other ways, too. It can mean you’re unable to upgrade your hardware platforms, operating systems and web portals due to incompatibility or untested compatibility. You may also be unable to upgrade your integrated software such as accounts packages or web-to-print systems.
Risk level = Medium to High
Suggested action = Upgrade to the latest version or replace, but do it quick!
Of course it’s essential that your MIS partner has the financial stability to survive a downturn in the economy. But it’s also crucial that they have the stability to fund a sustained programme of development for your MIS. If they don’t, your company will get left behind and you won’t be taking advantage of any future technological advancements in your sector.
Poor financial performance can also present a risk of the company merging or being purchased by a competitor, which could result in your software becoming a legacy product (see above).
Risk level = High
Suggested action = Credit check your MIS partner to assess financial stability. If there are any red flags, consider replacing your MIS or at least put a contingency plan in place to deal with the worst-case scenario.
The initial relationship you have with your vendor, from purchase to going live, is critical. But so is your ongoing relationship - you need to feel happy with the support you receive after the implementation stage is over.
Here’s some questions you can ask yourself to assess the experience you’ve had with your vendor so far:
Risk level = Low
Suggested action = If you’re not happy with any of the above, get in touch with your Account Manager and let them know! Give them a chance to fix any areas of dissatisfaction. If nothing changes, then you might need to consider replacing your supplier.
If you find that you’re using more and more different pieces of software to do various tasks in your business, then you should probably consider unifying these. The more unified a system is, the more efficient your workflow will be.
You’ll also have better communication throughout your teams and have more opportunities for automation. This situation tends to happen when your business has changed, and you therefore have different/additional needs to those when you first purchased your MIS.
Risk level = Low
Suggested action = Before you look elsewhere, check with your current MIS supplier first - there may be additional modules available that have the functionality you’re after. If not, you may have to replace your MIS with something more comprehensive or consider integration.
Every printing company knows the benefits of automation – it reduces touchpoints and allows you to produce jobs quicker and cheaper.
Your MIS is the core mechanism that will drive this, through the automation of admin and production tasks, and also through integrations with pre-press, press and post-press vendors. But things change, and the current version of your MIS may not support the latest advancements in this area.
An upgrade may be necessary to take advantage of the latest vendor integrations.
You also need to ensure that your MIS provider is open to integration with third parties. Some vendors may have a policy of only connecting to their own software and hardware solutions, which will significantly restrict your choice of prepress, press and post-press devices. There is obviously a business risk to being limited to a single vendor solution – you will be unable to work with your preferred partners and select the best device or software product for you.
Risk level = Low to Medium
Suggested action = If you want to increase automation and your MIS doesn’t support the latest vendor integrations, then you need to upgrade it as soon as possible. And if you’re currently working with a vendor that isn’t open to third party integrations, then it may be time to move on.
Your MIS should be providing you with a smart workflow that either reduces your operating costs, sustains your growth strategy or gives you a mixture of the two. It should provide meaningful and easy to interpret management information to assist in critical business decisions.
What we're trying to say here is that your MIS has a huge impact on your business. And you really need to be treating it like a significant piece of production equipment such as a new press. It’s that important.
So if you've identified with any of the above issues, it's time to sit down with your team and have a serious discussion about how to get things back on the right track.