Dickeson--Wanted - A New Kind of Software Company
Perhaps what we need are digital information publishers—publishers, not technocrats, thinkers who help us identify, specify and supply our management information needs. Printing industry committees chatter endlessly about collecting data. Enough already. We can't use data. We want data packaged as information that helps us decide on correct solutions and then actions.
Suppose a supplier came to you with this proposition:
"Ours is a digital information publishing company. Subscribe to our publication, and we'll install all the needed hardware and software in your plant, and upgrade and maintain it as needed, at our expense. We collect the data and provide you with a flexible information newsletter, magazine or newspaper about your production processes—in real time—on the screens of your network or intranet. We deliver information, not technology. You can filter, summarize and sort the information as you choose, and see graphics and text that we enable for you. Any time you wish, for any reason, you can cancel the service, and we'll pack up our gizmos and be gone with no penalty."
You'd immediately say, "Let me see a sample of what you're talking about," wouldn't you? If the subscription price for the information was reasonable, you'd likely subscribe.
That's what I'm suggesting as a model for printing software suppliers. Turn yourself from a technocrat into a customized, boutique-type publisher. Think, really hard, about what information we really need to manage our printing businesses. Then give it to us.
Lead us. Counsel us. Help us articulate our needs. Don't talk tech to us anymore. Been there. Done that. Cost a bundle and didn't help satisfy a single customer. No mas! We do printing. You do management thinking and tech. If it's really worth it, we'll pay for it.
Too good to be true? Maybe. I've recommended the idea to a software house, and they're thinking of running it up the flagpole to see who salutes.