New Software Strategy, RRD's Thomas Quinlan Interview Headline 2015 EFI Connect Conference
LAS VEGAS—January 23, 2015—It’s hard to improve on a winning formula, but EFI continued to raise the bar for its Connect users’ conference as illustrated by the 15th annual event that drew to a close today. Approximately 1,500 attendees—about 1,000 of them EFI customers from 25 different countries (a 20 percent increase from the previous year)—gathered here at The Wynn Las Vegas for four days of more than 200 educational and breakout sessions, as well as several keynote presentations and networking opportunities.
Technical training sessions focused on EFI’s product range encompassing MIS/ERP workflows; Web-to-print; e-commerce; digital front end print management; and wide-format, label and ceramic inkjet production printing.
Marc Olin, EFI COO and interim CFO, welcomed the large crowd and introduced Gabriel (Gaby) Matsliach, new EFI senior VP and GM of its Productivity Software business. Matsliach previewed the EFI Productivity Suite (EPS), an evolutionary shift in its productivity software offerings strategy.
With the initial phase of the rollout starting this quarter, the suite will address customers' most pressing automation and efficiency needs by moving the workflow emphasis away from individual EFI software packages and modules to complete offerings that employ best-of-suite, end-to-end workflows. Removing the need for painful integrations of various MIS, Web-to-print, fulfillment and cross-media modules and upgrades, each version of the suite will be certified and tested across EFI’s entire software offerings for easier customer deployment.
It will simplify and maximize MIS software upgrades, add-on modules and third-party integrations for EFI enterprise (Monarch and Radius), midmarket (Pace) and smaller (PrintSmith) users. Instead of point-to-point offerings, the holistic strategy will focus on providing EFI clients of all business sizes with documented and certified, end-to-end solutions. This will include centralized portfolio product management, synchronized suite releases and rapid deployment capabilities.
Users will "get revolutionary results through an evolution—helping you to gradually get there at your own pace," noted Matsliach.
Other new product announcements at Connect included: Unified workflow management capabilities for combined offset and digital production operations using new Heidelberg Prinect/EFI Fiery digital front-end integration. A module featuring EFI DirectSmile technology to enable automated, template-based and data-driven variable image and document rendering within EFI’s Digital StoreFront Web-to-print and e-commerce interface. An enhanced automation workflow, powered by AccuZIP, which uses Digital StoreFront's Web-to-print capabilities and its new variable data printing module to automate direct mail production tasks.
Guy Gecht, EFI CEO, also welcomed the audience, noting that 2015 marks some important milestones for him. It is the 10th anniversary of EFI’s acquisition of VUTEk, his 20th anniversary working at EFI and also the year he will turn 50. Gecht also noted EFI’s goal to reach the $1 billion sales mark in 2016. (EFI produced a humorous, parody video tied in with that initiative that can be viewed here. or by clicking on the YouTube video below)
One of the EFI Connect highlights is Gecht’s "fireside chats" with leading executives in the graphic arts and related industries. This year was no exception, especially with EFI’s ability to secure RR Donnelley (RRD) President and CEO Thomas Quinlan III, who normally does not participate or speak at industry events. Fireside chat topics discussed ranged from RRD’s omnichannel, client retention and M&A strategies, to Quinlan’s views on 3D printing, the role of Big Data and the overall future for print. The following morning, Gecht’s fireside chat featured Avi Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems.
EFI Connect also featured a solutions center, which showcased a complete portfolio of EFI workflow and digital print production software. Attendees saw an exhibit of LED wide-format inkjet technology with 3.2-meter, roll-to-roll and 2-meter, 7-picoLiter UltraDrop hybrid roll/flatbed EFI VUTEk printers, along with an entry-level, 1.6 meter production printer. 3M Commercial Graphics exhibited a Tesla wrapped in graphics produced using a co-developed EFI and 3M ink.
EFI Connect also featured numerous exhibits from partner companies, including the conference's platinum sponsor, Xerox; gold sponsors Canon and Kodak; and bronze sponsors 3M Commercial Graphics; AccuZIP; BCC Software; Esko; ESP/SurgeX; Honle UV America; Heytex Corp.; Konica Minolta; MBM Corp.; the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation; Ricoh Production Print; and Zünd.