Editing functions with user appeal, software updates and perspectives – CloudLab still has a few innovations up its sleeve for online print providers in 2018.
The focus here at beyond-print during the last few weeks was on international providers from and developments in the online print business in particular. So it’s time once again to highlight software offerings and providers that are no less active internationally but that all have one thing in common – they originate from Germany. I asked CloudLab, a software developer that supplies a number of well-known online packaging, photo and advertising print providers with Magento-based software, what has been happening recently on its own software front.
Only established as recently as 2013, Dortmund-based CloudLab is one of the newer players in the online print business, but it is at the same time also a successful one and has a high-quality client portfolio. There’s a good reason why nearly 50 employees now devote their efforts to implementing and managing the Magento-based solution, printQ, which is used for B2B and B2C print stores. CloudLab’s reference list is peppered with niche providers from the D/A/CH region and online print providers with international operations. I have posted multiple articles about several of them, like Cimpress, Letterpresso and Ortmaier, here at beyond-print.
But in order not to repeat everything that CloudLab experts already know about the proven printQ solution, here is a short update. Use of CloudLab’s new packaging design editor for Saxoprint’s range of packaging can be quoted as a recent example of implementation. The design tool was incorporated as a stand-alone version and has been in service at Saxoprint since the first quarter of 2018 and provides a dynamic 3D direct end-product visualization (WYSIWYG) detail based on the dimensions selected and features a freely adjustable rotation and zoom function. Any elements that may have been incorrectly positioned by the customer can be logged and corrected; this also enables the user to effectively monitor multiple-page designs, for example. And given that the editor is HTML5-based, variable-size previews can also be displayed on mobile devices. PDF and CF2 files based on the size of packaging selected are immediately generated for production purposes, ensuring fluent inclusion of the Editor into packaging workflows.
“Making print workflows more efficient and providing online print customers in the relevant segments like packaging with new features – that is how you as a software service provider stay in the ball game, and indeed over the long term.” – Bernd Zipper
Adobe recently announced the acquisition of Magento, (I reported on that here at beyond-print). And since I am – and certainly a number of readers are – interested to know how somebody who uses this software every day views this acquisition, I asked Marc Horriar, CEO of CloudLab, what his take on it is.
“In contrast to the last takeover in 2015, this time it is not a purely investment-focused company that is purchasing Magento, but Adobe.
Adobe should be viewed as a positive for the print industry and for Magento in two ways. On the one hand it is a company that is currently investing heavily in the cloud concept and in eCommerce and the operational ideas behind it; while on the other hand – and that benefits us especially from a sales and distribution perspective – Adobe is a company that absolutely everybody is familiar with, which previously was not always the case with Magento. Many in the print industry and nearly all of our customers use Adobe software solutions, InDesign or Photoshop, somewhere in their processes – that’s why there will sometimes be better opportunities for cooperating and collaborating in the future.
Things certainly won’t change for users to start with and we do not share the fear that Adobe might no longer provide Magento as an open source system – at any rate Adobe has no intention of risking a shitstorm!
All in all we are very positive about how things are panning out. Adobe is a good, reliable partner that has an excellent knowledge of our industry and we are really curious about how it all goes from here.”
So Marc is – just like me – curious about what Adobe is going to make of this. Even if I tend to formulate things a tad more critically – what is certain, however, is that Magento-based print stores will not be worse off than previously.
In order to shift one’s gaze from the Editor as a specific application to CloudLab and printQ as a whole, it would be interesting to know what the future holds. In the near term and very important: conversion to Magento 2.2 with Version 4 of printQ, which will be the case from August 2018 onwards. In that respect future CloudLab clients can be certain that their stores will be based on this new standard. But that doesn’t mean that existing stores are then “obsolete”. The Packaging Editor will also have further functions added to it, and as far as print procurement is concerned, the team headed up by CEO Marc Horriar is working on developing a standard interface. So as you can see, there’s quite a lot happening.
My take: basically it’s a good sign when successful niche providers, start-ups and established companies use a solution that helps all of them to be profitable. And given the fact that CloudLab has always shown itself to be a dynamic provider of W2P software solutions, the Dortmund-based firm will be able to meet future online print requirements, especially in the packaging segment. As I said before, there is a good reason why this software service provider’s client portfolio has the particular status that it has.