What to look for in an MIS Vendor

Kevin Shaw | May 20, 2021

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The Right Print MIS Upgrade Begins with Implementation: 3 Signs You’ve Made the Best Choice

Choosing the right print MIS to match your company’s current needs and growth plans requires research and due diligence. Even though it may seem like a minor part of what could be a 10- to 15-year commitment, don’t overlook the importance of an implementation process that sets your business up for success from the start. Overhauling your workflows and transitioning all of your data and processes to bring a new print MIS online is a complex and time-consuming endeavor. You deserve to know that your new vendor is prepared to make the process as smooth and transparent as possible.

You’ll know you’ve chosen the right vendor if they do these three things

This can be a daunting consideration. Not only is implementing a new MIS a huge monetary investment, but reimagining the way you operate is also incredibly time-consuming. You’ve survived this long with the way things are; is an MIS upgrade really necessary? 

AdobeStock_2252449171. The vendor is upfront about what implementation entails.

If a vendor promises you a quick and easy implementation, that company may be more interested in closing a sale than establishing a long-term partnership with your business. Implementing a new MIS is complex, and your vendor should be both unafraid of challenges and candid with you about the amount of work and time involved.

For instance, just one part of the process, creating job estimate templates, requires documenting every kind of print job that might come through your shop. Is that dozens? Hundreds? No matter the scope, there’s no shortcut to migrating information carefully and comprehensively during implementation.

On the other hand, the new vendor may advise you not to implement every possible module and functionality of the new MIS at once. The prospective MIS vendor should understand the importance of phasing in a system and setting priorities regarding which functionalities to focus on first. Its experts understand, perhaps more clearly than you do, the risks of trying to do too much in one shot. They must be willing to encourage you to make the transition and the investment one step at a time to serve the best interests of your company.

2. Implementation is guided by a detailed timeline and a qualified project manager.

You’ll know you’ve made the right choice if your vendor can provide a detailed implementation project plan, along with assigning an implementation team that includes at least one Project Management Professional-certified project manager.

An experienced vendor should be able to walk you through its proven methodology for implementing your new MIS, complete with a timeline, specific associated tasks for both the vendor and your in-house team, milestones along that timeline and deliverables. This should include configuration, build-out and set up, along with all the training needed to have your team ready to take over MIS operations for peak efficiency in your shop.

A great vendor will also understand that most print shops don’t have extra manpower available to build out all of the elements of a new MIS, even after training. For busy print shops that simply can’t risk slowing their current production rates, services like Avanti’s Accelerated System Build can relieve that pressure by taking on tasks such as building estimating templates for you, providing you with a fully-turnkey system that is ready to go.

3. The vendor offers a software solution to easily track the implementation process.  

Regardless of who builds out your new MIS, both you and the vendor need to have a system to track the implementation process in-the-moment, compare it to established timelines and determine where delays or challenges may impact the process.

You’ll know you’ve picked the right vendor if it offers a software solution that manages the information flow around implementation, with accurate reporting that can gauge the progress at departmental or even individual levels, task by task. That kind of granular visibility and accountability builds trust that your MIS vendor has your best interests and the success of your business as its primary focus.

With all that goes into implementing a new MIS, it may seem there’s never a good time to begin. Yet the right vendor can make the difference between an implementation that causes headaches and one that helps you achieve greater efficiency and profitability for your print shop with the fewest disruptions.


Perhaps you’re still on the fence about whether changing your MIS will help you keep pace with your print shop’s changing needs and opportunities. Downloading this ebook, 5 Signs Your Print Shop Needs A New MIS, will help you decide.

Want to see if Avanti is the right partner for you? Chat with a specialist about the Slingshot MIS and our implementation process.