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Interview with CSO at Impressed Robert Zacherl
Zaikio invited Robert Zacherl for an interview. Andreas Aplien (Partner Manager) and Olga Baginski (Product Marketing Manager) asked the co-owner of Impressed about topics such as the Impressed Workflow Server, connectivity and the future of the industry.
Olga: Even though you are known to many in the industry, please introduce yourself and Impressed once again.
Robert: My name is Robert Zacherl. According to my business card, I am Product Manager and Automation Solution Architect at Impressed. However, I don't put quite so much stock in business card text. I would describe my job more strategically; in today's world you would probably call it Chief Strategic Officer. I have now been with Impressed since 1995 and try to keep track of the market and the industry. Every day I look for new and relevant solutions in the market that can complement our portfolio. At Impressed, we always try to look one to two years into the future and only develop solutions that can withstand future demands. In doing so, we always want to be ahead of the industry.
Andreas: I think we've known each other since then. Please feel free to tell us more about Impressed
Robert: Impressed's mission was and still is to make life easier for printers in all steps of their daily work. We would like to digitise and automate much of what is still done manually in the daily process of order processing. The Impressed Workflow Server (IWS) is one of the solutions designed to save printers both time and money: the IWS user interface provides an overview of the files currently in production and can control their further progress. In short: IWS automates and standardises production.
Our customers can be found in all areas of the printing industry: from small to large, from offset to digital, from large format printers to the production of business cards, from a single family-run print shop to big online print houses.
Olga: On the one hand, you are a trader of various products, on the other hand, you are also a consultant and integrator. How does that work together?
Robert: Yes, that's right. About 70 % of our work involves standard solutions that are adapted to the specific needs of our customers. The other 30 % are individual solutions that we develop together with our clients.
One of our principles is that we do not "impose" a way of working on the client. We analyse the actual situation and offer appropriate solutions based on that. However, if the client cannot or does not want to implement the project in this way - because it may involve far-reaching rethinking or restructuring within the company - we are also happy to adapt to the client's wishes.
To cut a long story short, we analyse the customer's production and offer a solution based on their requirements and circumstances.
Olga: How can Zaikio support your mission?
Robert: In my opinion, both companies share the vision of a networked industry. IWS and Zaikio have a similar approach: both want to provide a standardised platform that customers can connect to with their existing systems - without major integration projects. In future, Zaikio will use Mission Control to ensure the data flow between all integrated systems. The advantage here is that Mission Control is a concrete product that can be used and not a theoretical standard like JDF/JMF, which in itself allows for many interpretations and resulting dialects. Impressed can make use of precisely this connectivity and, with a single integration to Zaikio, expands the number of usable interfaces enormously. Today, for example, we have to develop an individual interface for each MIS. In future, we will use Mission Control and can concentrate on our core business: Automation. It is therefore a logical step for us to connect to Zaikio.
Andreas: I agree that it will be a win-win situation. What are concrete case studies in the future?
Robert: As already mentioned, our focus is on automating production data. With Mission Control we will be able to easily pull this data from the MIS and relieve the printers of the burden of processing the data all the way to printing. Afterwards, the corresponding information (e.g. processing data of a job) can also be transferred to the MIS again. Zaikio provides us with the right interfaces to avoid major integration projects.
To use an analogy here: Zaikio provides the Lego construction kit and we create the blueprint. We can use your building blocks (connected solutions from different vendors) for our projects. Today, we create middleware for every software solution, which is sometimes cost-intensive and time-consuming. In some projects, this means that the costs of integration alone bring the project to a halt. With the broad and global approach of Zaikio we can integrate known but also new modules easily and quickly.
There are many printers who have grown over a long period of time with a wide variety of systems from different vendors. In the past, integrating all vendors was a Herculean task. With integration via Mission Control, all the necessary production data is in one central place and it doesn't really matter which software solution has supplied the data or will use it.
So by working together we will be able to reduce project costs for our customers, in some cases noticeably, so that every printing company can produce in an industrial manner at the highest level of automation.
Andreas: When can your customers expect an integration with Zaikio?
Robert: We already have integrations with your MIS product Keyline. My understanding is that Mission Control's product specifications API will be very similar to Keyline's or XJDF's product data model, so we will certainly be able to offer a connection to Mission Control quickly. However, the full integration potential of Zaikio and IWS will only come to light when the individual software vendors, such as MIS providers, can store and retrieve production data such as calculations, order levels, production types, and much more. We are of course very interested in Mission Control and I can already say today that we will be very happy to work on the project and also want to provide an interface directly at the launch. For us, this opens up a new possibility for simple integration with a wide range of known and new partners.