Executive Q&A: Eric Wold, Vice President, Datatech-SmartSoft

Q: Tell us about your company, the segment of the market it serves, and who you consider to be your core users.

A: Datatech SmartSoft is leading provider of workflow management software; providing data hygiene, mailing software, and print workflow solutions to thousands of customers across a wide variety of industries and services —from commercial printers to government agencies, financial institutions to national printing franchises.

In 2009, Datatech SmartSoft acquired PressWise, an end-to-end print workflow system designed to replace the need for printers to purchase separate Web-to-print, production workflow management, print MIS, and mail preparation software. PressWise offers an all-in-one, browser-based workflow system that handles all shop orders, from point of entry to shipping and fulfillment.

PressWise is ideal for any print service provider looking to reengineer their workflow to leverage the benefits of cloud computing and remove as many touches from the work process as possible.

Our customers range from smaller shops of fewer than 10 employees to larger commercial printers with more than two hundred on staff. All have benefited from greater productivity, faster turnaround times, and higher margins as a result of a more efficient workflow.

Q: What is your background and how did you get involved with your company?

A: A serial entrepreneur, business consultant, and former printer, I created PressWise in 2003 to help manage my growing digital print fulfillment company and the product continued to grow and evolve with the company. In 2008, I launched the PressWise Software-as-a-Service product to the wider industry, and the following year PressWise was acquired by Datatech SmartSoft.


Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in this market?

A: Challenging two ideas that seem to have taken root. Firstly, that only big companies with a staff of developers and a big budget can participate in automation. PressWise works on an SaaS pay-monthly model, with no annual contracts, and is very competitively priced, making it affordable for just about any size printer.

Secondly, that Web-to-print is something that only works for a few select customers on your client list. PressWise customers are successfully rolling out storefronts across their client base, taking advantage of the unlimited storefronts that PressWise offers.

Q: If you could change anything, either about your career, your company, or the market as a whole, what would it be and why?

A: I would cure procrastination. Every printer knows that the business has changed and they need to evolve to survive, but we keep seeing companies fail that could have made it if they would not have spent the last few years in ostrich mode.

Q: What do you consider to be the greatest challenge for the industry right now?

A: Redirecting labor from non-value-added processes to value-added processes. Stop throwing bodies and payroll dollars at mundane tasks like order processing, writing quotes and job dockets, and endless production meetings. Clients don’t pay for these activities, so the less time you spend on them, the better off you will be.

Q: What do you consider to be the greatest asset for the industry right now?

A: Marketing know-how and the accumulated trust that our clients place in us to help them accomplish their objectives. We need to be on the leading edge of helping our end clients evolve and survive in the changing landscape of modern communications or this asset will erode.

Q: What do you consider to be the biggest changes to the way we communicate with one another in the past few years? How would you recommend that our industry take maximum advantage of those changes?

A: The present changes are not about the transition from offset to digital, even though a lot of that is going on and we can profit from it. We are looking at a fundamental landscape shift in the way humans are communicating with each other. Grandmothers now use Twitter and text messages to keep in touch with the kids—or they don’t hear back from them.

It’s imperative that we explore, test, and innovatively apply these new communication tools to find ways to use them to help our customers. Multi-touch is here to stay.

Q: Looking ahead, what major innovations or technologies do you believe will shape the future of the industry? Why?

A: There will be an increasing emphasis on one-to-one—and I don’t mean variable data with my name on it. Relationship marketing will drive an increasing share of buying decisions. Cutting edge marketers will explore the use of AI (artificial intelligence) agents that will sift through mountains of data looking for correlations and opportunities to trigger communications. If printers still want to be around 10 years from now, they need to overhaul their workflow now so they will be able to participate. A large portion of the production work will be received electronically.

Q: What one piece of advice would you like to give to printers and others involved in this industry?

A: Remember curiosity? How we approach learning and new ideas will define how successful our companies are going to be over the next couple decades. Everybody knows a printer who is mad as hell that the industry has changed and it’s not about “big iron” anymore. There’s a reason there are no more dinosaurs.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with Printing News readers?

A: Only our website address—www.presswise.com—and an invitation to try out a Web demo of PressWise, so you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Email me at ericw@presswise.com and I’ll be happy to schedule some time for a quick tour around the system. PN