Enterprise Output Management Systems Research Explores Technology Solutions
Enterprise Output Management Systems (EOMS) were historically used to manage the production of printed communications; however, today, these solutions offer enhanced workflow and additional output capabilities to meet consumer expectations for digital delivery.
Over the last decade, the print industry witnessed an increase in service provider mergers and acquisitions, and stricter privacy and security requirements necessary to comply with the Affordable Care Act and other regulations such as HIPAA, GLBA, and FISMA. Yet, despite the prediction of the demise of print — especially since the introduction of email — print may never cease to exist entirely, making enterprise output management critical for monitoring production. Advances in technology have commoditized this industry forcing enterprise in-plants to consider outsourcing due to low print volumes, and service providers rethinking their value proposition beyond print and mail service offerings.
Madison Advisors’ latest research, "Enterprise Output Management Systems, 4th Edition: Moving Beyond Print Management," explores the technology solutions available in the market today. Our research indicates that numerous enhancements have been made in the areas of print transformation, workflow, and multi-channel delivery. While the participants in this research believe that many clients are approaching transactional communications from a “digital-first” mindset, printed communications will nonetheless continue to be a critical and valuable component of multi-channel delivery.
Enterprise Output Management Systems is commercial software that ingests data files from multiple systems and in multiple formats, transforms that data, and directs it to the appropriate output channel. These solutions, however, have grown beyond traditional print production management. In the past, EOMS solutions were acquired to manage multiple print devices by combining and splitting print jobs to optimize utilization of print hardware.
Fax and other electronic delivery capabilities such as email or SMS text messages were a low priority compared to print management functionality. Today, in order to communicate with customers electronically, organizations are looking for solutions that can provide multi-channel delivery for high-value customer communications in order to keep up with consumer expectations and remain competitive in the industry.
All enterprise output management systems offer the same basic production management features such as:
- Page Description Language (PDL) file ingestion – the ability to ingest a wide variety of PDL files, such as PDF, PostScript, AFP, PCL, HTML, XML, CSV, ASCII, and Metacode
- PDL transformation – converting the format of input files received to another output format, such as converting from AFP format to PDF or to PCL
- Print queue management – the ability to schedule print jobs and monitor print queues, establish print job priority and balance printer workload
- Job grouping – combining multiple jobs together based on like attributes to facilitate longer print runs and fewer machine setups, or to increase pre-sort postal densities to reduce postage expense
- Job splitting or merging – manipulation of data streams to consolidate print jobs, or split a single job across multiple print engines for better resource utilization
- Print file modification – the ability to edit print files by inserting or deleting text, adding OMR or other types of barcodes, adding print overlays, swapping out images, adding color to monochrome documents, and creating banners, headers and footers for print job files
- Reprint capability – documents that are archived can be retrieved and reprinted as well as exception files from the insertion process
- Householding – the ability to group documents from multiple jobs together for insertion into a single envelope for a given address
Consumer expectations for digital delivery have increased due to advancements in technology. Organizations that are unable to communicate to their customers in the customer’s channel of choice run the risk of losing out to their competitors; therefore, multi-channel delivery of high-value transactional communications is critical to maintaining consumer loyalty.
The results of Madison Advisors’ 2010 research revealed that although demand for multi-channel communications was increasing, few of the solution providers offered strong support for email and SMS message delivery. Today, most of the solution providers have integrated email and SMS capabilities as a part of their solution.
The last decade has witnessed several new developments in the marketplace for enterprise output management. Changes in technology and increased consumer expectation for digital delivery have driven this already mature market to respond by developing capabilities to support additional channels for electronic delivery. Other improvements include sophisticated workflows that can be designed easily through a graphical user interface and robust print transformation capabilities, all of which help streamline print production operations and allow service providers to increase their value proposition beyond print and mail.
The report contains profiles of 11 EOMS vendor solutions and can be accessed at this link: Enterprise Output Management Systems, 4th Edition: Moving Beyond Print Management