Author Archive

  • Kodak Prinergy workflow gets smarter

    Former EAC Graphics and Heidelberg veteran Peter Janusik is responsible for Kodak’s workflow and software in Australia and NZ.

    Print workflow provides printers with the ability to automate file submission and pre-press production, allowing them to accept files from different geographic locations and render them usable for output. They have developed from proprietary systems that were completely ‘locked down,’ into open systems ready for integration with other business systems and customisation to meet any unique requirements.

    The introduction of the PDF format and Adobe Extreme architecture more than 20 years ago were the key drivers for the print workflow changes we now take for granted.

    Advances in computing technology have meant that print companies can deploy even more processing capability and flexibility to help grow the business. The use of VMs (Virtual Machines) is now common-place, allowing the use of multiple systems on a single hardware platform. As an example, Kodak Prinergy customers often have a single server with both their Prinergy and InSite servers within VMs on that platform, making deployment more cost effective than ever before.

    Kodak’s Prinergy system was first introduced to the market in the late 1990s and was one of the first systems to implement the Adobe Extreme Architecture. Prinergy organises individual tasks in prepress and plate production into automated processes. It leverages Adobe Extreme tech-nology to provide job tickets and job ticket processors that control and perform tasks initiated by users.

    Job Ticket Processors (JTPs) are software components that implement specific actions or tasks to be performed as part of the Kodak Prinergy Workflow. The real work of a Prinergy workflow system is performed by one or more JTPs. Examples of JTPs used within the Prinergy system are: pre-flight, trapping, imposition and colour management, to name a few. All of the user and system activity that occurs within a Prinergy Workflow system is stored in an Oracle database, ensuring job tracking and history are available. However, the database can now give us even more.

    The Cloud and SaaS

    In the past few years, the terms ‘Cloud’ computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) have become commonplace. Within the print industry, clients and providers are using Cloud storage such as Dropbox and WeTransfer daily, sending files back and forth with ease. However, the use of SaaS within our industry has so far been quite limited. If it were possible to use the computing power available in cloud based computing, along with information we gather about our business, then print companies would be able to look to further improvements in workflow performance.

    Traditionally, printers have had pretty good visibility as to what was going on in a single job. Break-even points, labour costs, and timing can all be linked to a particular project to help assess pricing and profitability. When it comes to analysing multiple jobs across multiple time periods, however, it is often more guesswork than anything else. That is all about to change.

    Dark data sees the light

    There’s been debate over what features of a workflow could be migrated off-premises to the cloud. Potential issues to be solved include data security, dependency on the internet, and upload and download speeds. The Prinergy database has been the repository of a large amount of unstructured or ‘dark data’.

    Dark data is data which is acquired through various computer network operations but not used in any manner to derive insights or for decision making. Because the Prinergy database is collecting all available job information, that data can be mined to provide useful information to enable printers to make informed decisions on how to best manage their workflow and configure jobs and systems. Enter the Kodak Prinergy Cloud.

    Analytics-Enabled Workflow

    The first step in leveraging the abundance of available dark data is to actually collect and categorise it. But just how do you go about doing that? Fortunately, in today’s era of intelligent workflow solutions, this functionality can now be accessible. The key is the selection of the right platform – one designed not only to collect data, but also to organise and present it in a usable way.

    The design and purpose of the Prinergy Cloud platform makes it a tremendous source of data for the printer’s operations, as it is directly integrated into the workflow, collecting data from a variety of sources. This includes machine data (log files, error messages), operator job notes, portal activities, customer comments and much more.

    Prinergy Cloud is built from the ground up on the Microsoft Azure platform, so all of this data is captured and organised in a structured, tagged, and much more useful way.

    Utilising the dark data for analytics, can lead to a powerful cycle of continuous improvement. An analytics-enabled workflow will become an invaluable tool in the ‘unfreeze – improve – freeze – measure’ best business practice. Finding this best business practice is only a click or two away; Kodak provides prepared dashboards and professional service so that no data analyst is required.

    Decision Analytics, the print industry’s first business intelligence solution, is the foundation of Prinergy Cloud and is available now.