A report on the latest and greatest updates in technologyMay 2010 By Melissa Busch
Service could get pretty stormy for San Mateo, California-based PageDNA customers if it wasn't for cloud computing.
Cloud computing allows a retailer to rent Internet-based computing power and data storage to support its Web business. PageDNA recently migrated a lot of its offerings to Amazon Web Services.
"What this means to our customers is that we've ensured best-of-class business continuity for them," said president Doug Ballinger. "For example, should an earthquake or other disruption hit our datacenter in San Jose, Calif., Amazon takes over our hosting. In the same way that we believe our software allows our customers to focus on their strengths (selling printing), the cloud allows us to focus on creating great software rather than maintaining IT [information technology] infrastructure."
PageDNA and other companies such as the Beverly Hills, California-based EonCode are doing whatever they can to better serve customers, including using the most up-to-date technology.
For instance, PageDNA developed an online quoting technology that provides instant quotes. It also has a file upload tool aimed at the "sweet spot" of today's print market—short-run digital, Ballinger touted.
"Show me a customer who doesn't want an instant quote and the ability to upload files directly to [his or her] provider," he continued. "Let's face it, we live in an instant gratification world and print buyers are no different. If the quantity requested, or the job specifications dictate an offline quote, the specifications are sent to the provider. Our 'hold for quote' feature complements instant quotes by providing an uninterrupted shopping experience for customers (if they have other items to quote) while providing an online channel for the provider to handle more complex quotes."
Another new feature by PageDNA is its best of class variable print tool.
"Recently, we've created a mash-up between our quoting technology and our variable print solution to allow customers to easily upgrade paper stock or coatings and change prices on the fly for variable items," he said. "We are also rolling out new reporting options that should give our customers a much more robust and flexible tool that will satisfy their most inquisitive customers."
Later this year, the company is adding two-byte font support for Asian fonts.
"That is a hole we need to fill," Ballinger said. "Finding and integrating appropriate cross-media tools so we can handle hybrid e-mail and direct mail campaigns, PURLs, etc. is a hot topic and one that we are addressing. And basic order entry—non-storefront order entry—is an area that would make us a more complete MIS tool within some shops. There is always a long list of ideas. The challenge is setting priorities and executing. We are currently hiring for our production department as the economy improves and we become busier."