Blog: Universities embracing web-to-print technology

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With data suggesting that universities could be spending as much as $623 per student per year on marketing – or potentially more than $2.2 billion across the sector – universities are becoming one of the biggest embracers of web-to-print software.

Whilst universities have often had their own printing departments with large presses and whole teams employed to drive and deliver print, the situation is changing thanks to new technology. At Infigo, we have been seeing this first hand.

In the US, Infigo has been working with Arizona State University (ASU) to demonstrate how web-to-print can provide staff, from any location, the ability to access, customise and order marketing and stationery materials – from business cards and promotional banners to t-shirts and even legal documents, reducing cost and increasing efficiency.

“Managing the printed materials of a large institution like a university can be a huge challenge, particularly if it is spread across multiple campuses,” explains Douglas Gibson, CEO and Founder here at Infigo.

“Each department within the university will have very different needs, requiring an assortment of printed collateral (from marketing materials to more formal, legal documents) on a regular basis. Universities have found the need for a solution where staff can easily order a range of printed materials or documents without requiring constant checking from a marketing or legal team.”

Indeed, a big part of the problem ASU found was maintaining brand consistency. The lab had accumulated quite the library of old content, which was still accessible on the system and meant staff and students were often using outdated branding.

Since implementing Infigo’s platform, Chris Halkovic, digital workflow and web-to-print manager for ASU says average order time has been cut in half. The University has also managed to get a much stronger handle on brand consistency, eliminating redundant designs from the platform. Chris says: “It’s allowed us to condense over 1,200 templates, to just 200, thanks to its powerful editor and JavaScript backed templates. For instance, we were able to cut down 120+ business card templates into just five.”

The switch to Infigo has meant that the lab is able to self-fund itself, due to the revenue generated through the different printing services offered. Chris Myers, director at the Arizona State University Print & Imaging Lab, says: “We can allow the alumni and our students, faculty and staff to be able to order things like dye sublimation pieces, luggage tags, to be able to do photo books.

“There’s a whole plethora of things that we can offer to the university that we couldn’t ever do before. And that really gives us a revenue stream that we’ve never tapped into.”

Web-to-print systems also offer universities access to their own brand management portal. This is effectively an online storefront, which allows university staff the option to order printed materials as easily as ordering from Amazon. The portal is personalised and branded to the particular university and in the case of multi-campus institutions, can even be branded to the individual location.

A web-to-print portal help significantly reduce marketing spend and is easy for staff to adopt. According to an Electronic Document Systems Foundation study, conducted by Gartner, Inc., and George Mason University, 38% of large-to-very large companies using a web-to-print portal reported print costs savings ranging from 10% to 25%, while another 13% reported savings of more than 25%.

“All of your assets are housed in one hub, saving time when new materials are required and helping to retain brand consistency,” continues Gibson.

“You have control of the assets. If you find a printer that is more cost effective than another, you don’t need to worry about transferring all your design templates to the other printer, you can just integrate your portal with their systems, often with just a click of a button. You can easily partner with different printers for different requirements. You also know precisely what has been ordered, regardless of how large and widespread your organisation is, which is essential for managing budgets and yearly plans.”

Finally, a web-to-print portal also enables universities to manage users (and what they see). Accounts can easily be created for new users or sites and the level of access they have managed, from administrators (with full editing permission) to users who have very basic editing permissions.

“You may not want every employee, or even every member of the marketing or legal team to have full editing control. However, there will be certain members of your organisation who you do want to be able to make changes when required. You can also vary permissions by product type. For example, materials with a higher investment can require sign off by a more senior member of the team, providing an additional layer of security.”


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