There’s no denying it – technology is changing the world. It’s changing the way that we live and how we work. Which is why we wrote our recent article on why every print company needs a Chief Technology Officer, to demonstrate why you need to put someone in charge of the continuous improvement of your technology stack.
But there’s more to doing this than just hiring one tech savvy person – you need to make sure the rest of your team can understand and use the technology that’s being implemented as well.
Let’s take a look at what you could achieve if you made sure all your future hires were tech savvy people too.
PROJECTS YOUR TECH SAVVY HIRES COULD CARRY OUT
1. Automation Tasks
A tech savvy employee could immediately add value to your business by automating any manual processes that happen repetitively. This might sound complicated but all we’re talking about here is taking that manual process and digitizing it using software. You don’t need to be a computer programmer to do that – you just need to know how to search for an appropriate software solution online and learn how to use it.
2. Integration Projects
Connecting all the disparate software applications you have together is another ‘low hanging fruit’ project that will immediately give you benefit. If your new hire has development skills, they can achieve very slick integrations between different products using their APIs (if they have them).
A great example of this comes from Sundance Marketing, who wanted to integrate the Print Beat Jobs app with their Tharstern MIS, so they could stream jobs data directly from their HP Indigo press into their MIS and have better control of their production and costing. To achieve this, Sundance took advantage of the fact that both applications had an API and tackled the project internally. Their Automation and Development Manager, Susanna Toppa, had the integration up and running within a month, including testing and final release.
Here’s some other integration projects that could be achieved using an API:
- Business Intelligence – Connecting a tool like Microsoft Power BI with your other software applications like your CRM, your MIS and your accounts package, will give you some very powerful data to make strategic decisions.
- Courier tracking apps – At Tharstern we already offer integrations to certain couriers, but there are so many out there it would be impossible to cover them all. So some printers have developed their own integration from Tharstern to their favourite courier.
- CRMs – You might have an external CRM for your sales and marketing teams, and so could develop an integration between that application and your MIS.
- Accounts link – Most MIS providers integrate with a variety of accounting software applications, but no one covers them all. So we’ve seen some customers write their own integration links.
- 3rd party storefronts – Customers have also written their own links to the less well-known web-to-print providers, and some have even written their own web ordering portal and linked that to our MIS.
You don’t need development resource to get involved with integration projects though - even those without development skills can achieve connectivity. Automation software such as Zapier has been created exactly for this – to allow the average tech-savvy individual to connect disparate software applications together by mapping data fields across both applications and then specifying both a trigger event and some subsequent actions.
3. Enfocus Switch Workflows
Enfocus Switch requires more technical knowledge than Zapier, but we’ve seen printers use Switch to automate remote approvals and to create preflighting workflows that automatically check any uploaded artwork for errors.
WHAT SORT OF ROLES SHOULD I BE RECRUITING FOR?
You only need to look on LinkedIn to see the type of technical roles that are appearing in printing companies of late. Take a look at these which I found from a very quick search:
- Automation and Development Manager
- Director of Technology
- Chief Information Officer
- Technology Lead
- Technology Workflow Project Manager
BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO HIRE ADDITIONAL PEOPLE!
While having these sorts of roles in your company is fantastic, and will result in some very slick integrated workflows, recruiting people for a technical based role isn’t actually necessary. What is important is that when you hire people for a new role, in any department of your company, you place importance on those who are technically minded. They are the ones who will play around with new software applications and tools like Zapier and create added value for your company.
So next time you’re recruiting, specify in the job advert that you place importance on people who are technically minded, add these skills to your scoring matrix and make sure you ask questions during the interview that help you rate candidates in this area. Whatever role they will fill in your company, you want them to be tech savvy so they can be part of your company’s continued technological evolution.