What’s So Special About RSA’s Four New Software Releases?
Company announces four simultaneous major releases
Rochester Software Associates (RSA) recently announced four product releases. This is a big deal because these aren’t minor bug fixes. This multi-product announcement highlights that, while trade shows are still not happening, RSA’s engineers have been busy working during the pandemic.
The WebCRD improvements I find the most profound include:
- WebCRD has a new collaboration feature that enables customers and the print shop to work on projects together. Anyone who has tried managing and tracking multiple projects using email knows that this feature has been needed for a long time. WebCRD provides a collaborative environment with auditable and consistent records inside WebCRD for job construction, wide format, and even graphic services projects.
- A while back, RSA added a Book Assembly module to WebCRD. Now, the firm has added customized book covers and variable book sections with either ImpactVDP or WebCRD Dynamics.
- RSA has reworked its WebCRD AutoFlow automation rules engine to automate more jobs and identify alternative processing opportunities. In addition to the already extensive criteria list, it can now automate workflows based on cost triggers and delivery addresses.
RSA has redesigned its ReadyPrint Automatica automation engine, which automates repetitive print shop prepress tasks using a workflow builder. New functionality includes:
- The engine is now available as a multi-user web-based server application. ReadyPrint Automatica now lets you create any number of workflows using complex decision processing logic to automate time-consuming prepress processes.
- New email integration capabilities enable shops to receive input files and send the processed output as attachments to flow through automation workflows without email monitoring and manual file onboarding.
- A new burst function for files with complex printing requirements can burst files into sub-jobs, apply different operations, and optionally merge the file as part of an automated workflow.
- New ways to gang and impose jobs together onto single press sheets with marks. This capability can increase efficiency and save operator time by quickly and easily combining multiple input files into a single file.
The ImpactVDP release has new features to increase efficiency and streamline VDP processes and workflow. These include:
- Automating VDP production from a data feed to remove human intervention when ImpactVDP is used as a QDirect module.
- Variable data barcode of a variety of barcodes ranging from QR codes to IMB.
- The ability to manage templates either offline or in the cloud.
- The ability for designers to hide backgrounds for pre-printed stock and shortcuts to speed template creation.
- Like ReadyPrint, QDirect can now directly send and receive email.
- Time and errors can be saved when email is received because email attachments are downloaded and queued directly from a shop’s email server. QDirect then acts as a traffic cop to manage all incoming sources of print to control, route, and manage jobs across the workflow.
- Sending emails with attachments can be performed quicker and more economically. Jobs can be sent as electronic output or as electronic proofs.
- QDirect has had the ability to group and batch jobs for some time based on like attributes such as stock, finishing requirements, and delivery location. Grouping enhancements now permits unlimited batches of related jobs to be collected and grouped over time. Benefits include further automation, optimized printing, finishing and delivery, and savings from reduced touches and costs.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
I find these combined announcements exciting for several reasons:
- The collaboration functionality is valuable for streamlining work and reducing miscommunications with more complex printing and other graphics services projects.
- Completely redesigning an automation engine is a big deal. RSA was wise to use the past year’s slowdown to accomplish this task. This redesign will provide a powerful platform for the company and its customers as we move through the next five to ten years.
- Integrating email into RSA’s workflow, both for job onboarding and proofing communication, is powerful. Like it or not, email is still the communication method of choice for many customers. Incorporating it into automated workflows is essential.
- Increasing cloud utilization is important. The world is rapidly moving toward subscription services and cloud data for convenience, accessibility, and infrastructure costs.
- While I have not yet seen it in action, the AutoFlow automation engine’s ability to identify work with low or high costs using cost criteria to identify alternative processing opportunities is fascinating. I expect Artificial Intelligence (AI) to become a dominant force in five to ten years. This new functionality sounds like a good first step in setting the groundwork for building such a system.
My final note is that many of these solutions are relevant to all print providers. The in-plant segment knows RSA for its WebCRD solution. However, the other three products covered in these releases are highly applicable to commercial printers, wide format printers, and transactional service providers as well.
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