Whether you’re replacing a proprietary system, or any type of existing system, buying a print MIS is a big step.
Done well, this change can fundamentally change your business’s relationship with print technology. And making the right choice is crucial for future success.
We can write (and have written) blog posts guiding you through the print MIS decision-making process, but this post is a little different. Today we’re providing you a glimpse into the other side of the table: we’re giving you the perspective of the MIS salesperson.
Richard Thompson has been selling print MIS for over 10 years. In that time, he’s worked with numerous companies, guiding them through their unique challenges and meeting their requirements.
Here are Richard’s thoughts on the right way to go about buying a print MIS.
Make It a Team Sport
First, your company’s MIS decision should be a team sport. The change you’re considering will affect nearly every department in your organization, so make sure to consider what those departments need.
We recommend creating an internal MIS team with representatives from relevant departments companywide. Each perspective on the challenges of your current state adds detail to your desired state.
Clearly Define Your Implementation Team
Implementing any new software can be painful, especially software as wide-ranging and deeply embedded as a commercial print MIS. It’s crucial to have the right strategy in place and to understand who’s doing what during the implementation.
Clearly define both roles and responsibilities for implementation.
Who will be the project sponsor?
Who will operate as system admins?
What are team leads responsible for during implementation?
What aspects of implementation are your responsibility, and what are the vendor’s?
Understand the Nature and Scope of Change
Implementing a new MIS = change. It means changes to many areas of operations, and people have some interesting responses to change.
Many fear it. They hear the word “automation” and fear that this new system will eat their jobs, for example. Or maybe they’re simply afraid they won’t be able to learn or use the new MIS.
Usually, this kind of fear can be mitigated through thorough communication and training.
Some may simply oppose the change. Perhaps they’re invested in the old process or fear becoming irrelevant or losing control. It is critical to strategize how you’ll manage fear and opposition—and how to minimize or circumvent these responses with thorough, up-front communication.
Change + Progress = Time + Resources
Part of the change you must manage is around time and resources. Implementing a new print MIS invests both of these, so it’s crucial to make the right decision and build the right implementation strategy.
Furthermore, it's essential to evaluate how the new system will affect the workflow and productivity of your team and ensure that they receive adequate training and support to adapt to the changes effectively.
Change Is Messy, So Make Sure You Capitalize
Change is messy, and implementing a new print MIS is change incarnate. So, while you’re digging in, there’s no better time to critically examine all aspects of your workflows and systems.
You’re about to rebuild your workflows in and around a new heart and brain, so it doesn’t make sense to bolt bad processes and workflows back onto that new system. That’s like giving your operations a new heart valve without clearing the blocked artery.
Do you have vestigial tasks that could be chopped off? Outdated or unreliable processes in need of replacement? Manual processes that don’t need to stick around?
Now is the time to review these weaknesses, identify current bottlenecks and efficiencies, and review budgeted hourly rates.
5 Elements to Guide Your Print MIS Selection Process
When your organization enters the print MIS selection process, you’re making a significant commitment: even exploring the move is a time and resource investment. And when you move forward, implementation will be a resource-intensive journey as well.
Given the complexity, it’s easy to get lost along the way.
Richard recommends using these 5 elements to guide you to the print MIS that’s best for your needs.
Integrations: consider what systems you will need your new print MIS to integrate with, and vice versa. Make sure an integration method exists for each.
Scalability: choose a print MIS that you won’t outgrow or evolve Choose one that will scale with you.
User-friendliness: you’ll be using this print MIS for nearly everything—ideally for a decade or more. You owe it to yourself and your staff to choose a solution that’s easy to use, intuitive to control, and relatively simple to navigate.
Support and training: a commercial print MIS is a complex system that enmeshes itself into your existing processes and workflows. Choose a provider that will partner with you for ongoing support and training—not leave you to figure things out alone.
Cost: budgets matter, so cost will always be a consideration. But as you evaluate costs, be sure you’re evaluating more than the dollar cost of the Consider the ROI and time savings you’d receive from each solution you’re evaluating and compare that against the “price tag” on the software.
Improve Your Print Operations with Avanti Slingshot™ Print MIS
We’ve shared Richard Thompson’s perspective on how the print MIS buying process should run from the salesperson’s side. It’s no surprise that Richard has strong opinions on which print MIS you should choose, either: he recommends Avanti Slingshot™.
Avanti Slingshot™ print MIS is a complete end-to-end print automation solution that delivers efficiency, control, and visibility at every step of the print workflow. It’s built to be customized to meet your unique workflow needs and challenges, and it can scale with you no matter how your print business evolves.
We know our solution is the best way to meet your needs, and we’ll show you: using real job samples from your print shop, we’ll create a custom demo so you can see the power of Slingshot for yourself.