The Digital Heidelberg


Today Heidelberg announced its acquisition of Crispy Mountain, a small company not known far outside its base in Mainz, Germany. For those in the U.S. who are unfamiliar with the company, they do not make mountains of light and fluffy doughnuts. Instead, Crispy Mountain develops a light print MIS solution, called Keyline MIS, that is cloud-delivered and mainly sold in Germany with a reseller agreement also in the United Kingdom.

Source: Crispy Mountain

According to the press release, Heidelberg acquired the company to kick start it’s HEI.OS industry platform “open to all manufacturers in the printing industry” where third party vendors can be part of an app store. The acquisition will give Heidelberg additional technical knowledge for developing and delivering cloud-based software to build up their platform targeted at the entire printing industry. The goal is ambitious since creating a platform for the industry will require more expertise in creating beneficial partnerships than the technical details to deliver it.

Regardless, InfoTrends also believes that software platforms supported by app store experiences are important to help printers build universal workflows. The need for a flexible and scalable workflow that can prepare work regardless of the intended output technology. As printers continue to offer more applications created across diverse print technologies, a universal workflow is key to operational efficiency.

Universal Workflow: Assembling and integrating best-in-class software solutions to have a scalable and flexible end-to-end workflow that can support all outputs regardless of application or print technology.

Heidelberg is no stranger to acquiring software businesses where previous examples include NEOSEVEN and CERM. NEOSEVEN, still owned by Heidelberg, formed the basis for Prinect Media Manager which is no longer viewed as a primary component in the Prinect workflow. The management solution developed by CERM, however, continues to have market success for the label market but it’s adaptation for the commercial print market as Prinect Business Manager has been far more limited.

In fact, the future strategic direction is unclear for Prinect Business Manager and the newly acquired Keyline going forward as both are print MIS solutions largely targeting the same set of printers. Perhaps Crispy Mountain was acquired to simply gain the intellectual property in cloud development and deployment of software for HEI.OS as the press release eluded. Other possibilities include porting Prinect Business Manager/CERM to the HEI.OS platform, making a combination of the two, or separately maintaining the two solutions.

Heidelberg has been on its own path of digital transformation for several years and is bringing that know-how and message to the industry. Today the company offers data-driven consulting services, comprehensive subscriptions, along with the mainstays of software and printing technologies to help printers succeed in today’s environment. InfoTrends sees the acquisition of Crispy Mountain as another positive step in developing forward-looking solutions for the industry and will continue to follow all developments.