PrintMedia: Are you a subscriber to the theory that application services are crucial to the survival of printers?
Pawlaczyk: Absolutely. There are two things we zero in on, and they're why we've been as successful as we have [during the recession]. Our sales were up significantly last year, so we had a good year in a very difficult time. We're focusing squarely on talking to our customers about how to reduce cycle time, and how to save money while adding value. Our industry [printing] has become a commodity. Customers are always asking, 'Can you do it 5% cheaper? Can you cut my price?' We focus on the value model that helps customers reduce cycle time and cut costs through the [workflow] process itself, using new technologies. We've been very successful with new technologies that allow [customers] to save significant amounts of money, without having that pricing conversation in quite the same way.
PrintMedia: So the application services model is, to some extent, an outsourcing model that allows organizations to not only defray, but avoid the capital expense and training costs related to dabbling in potentially risky new technologies?
Pawlaczyk: Absolutely. For example, take a technological application like virtual proofing. Our offering is based on Real Time Image's Real Time Proof. We do this as an ASP [application service provider], where the customer rents experience time from us. In other words, we're going to do an event, and they will pay only for the portion of that—whatever we've been allocated to that effect—so the cost to customers is significantly reduced on an event basis. When you compare virtual proofing to the cost of traditional proofing output materials, and add in the messenger costs, the savings are significant in time and in money.
PrintMedia: What challenges are you finding in bringing customers into the realm of virtual proofing? Is there cultural momentum to overcome?