The printing organization is trying to decouple Web-based interactions with customers from its production workflow, Jones says. “The systems will be integrated and some tools overlap, but we like to think of them as being separate. If a job isn’t tied into a specific workflow, we have the flexibility to figure out a better way to produce it.”

Laying the Foundation

One of the foundations for its efforts is Agfa Delano project management software, which the company exec sees as an internal customer service tool. It will be passed product definitions from the “Print Management Solutions” Quebecor World is rolling out to customers, Jones explains.

Whenever possible, the company looks to put a custom wrapper around existing solutions, but he says it has to do some of its own development work—especially given the number and variety of legacy systems Quebecor World has due to growing by acquisition.

Along with Delano, the tool kit currently includes Dalim’s Ficelle and Creo’s Synapse InSite workflow products, along with Printcafe and Printable third-party solutions. Jones characterizes the company as being deep into the deployment of “pilot” solutions.

Still on the wish list for development is what he calls “Print Modeling” tools. These would enable customers to run “what if” scenarios to see how changing a job’s parameters, stock, production techniques, etc., would impact its cost, delivery date and more. “We are in consideration of how to do it, but haven’t implemented anything,” Jones says.

While some degree of process intelligence can be built into the tools, greater responsibility for the final results is being shifted to print buyers. They are at the nexus of movements to change how print is procured in the future, Jones says. “Brochures and other printed materials are being added to Ariba (corporate spend management) systems in the same space with general office supplies,” he points out.

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