09 June 2019 Digital Printing Technologies

Heidelberg spots opportunity with purchase of Crispy Mountain

The cloud based MIS start up Keyline is fundamental to Heidelberg's plans for a new ecosystem for the printing industry, one based in the cloud.

Heidelberg is creating a cloud based ecosystem for print, linking its online portal for ordering consumables, its reporting technology and its subscription services, now expanded to include Prinect and MIS. This will be developed into the HeiOS as a fully configured system for print by the opening of Drupa in a year’s time.

A foundation stone comes through the acquisition of Crispy Mountain, the developer of the Keyline MIS that came to the UK last year through distributor Paul Warren. This is not affected by the acquisition and Resolve Business Management, the company which handles sales, implementation and training, anticipates benefits from the deal.

People always query the resilience of Keyline, says distributor Wayne Beckett. As part of Heidelberg that question is answered.

The same argument could entice other software developers either to sell out to Heidelberg or else to make their applications through what Heidelberg hopes will be print’s app store. This comes under the umbrella of HeiOS.

The deal will accelerate Crispy Mountain’s development path, enabling it to tap into Heidelberg's software expertise and to recruit further programmers of its own. They will be directed to creating versions for niche verticals. A books version will be followed by packaging and labels, tying in with Heidelberg’s strategic directions.

Keyline already has extensive connectivity to third-party applications through its API. The approach will be expanded to plug in any number of independent third-party applications “to give print shops easier access to comprehensive services at the lowest possible administrative burden”, according to Heidelberg.

More ambitiously it wants to extend the HeiOS to encompass printers that do not currently use Heidelberg's digital, litho or label printing technology as an Amazon for print, according to CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.

It is not the first to open a cloud based applications change. The leader has been HP with PrintOS which began with Indigo and has expanded to cover all HP’s Graphic Systems Business. The environment covers workflow, variable data, job tracking, management information and remote monitoring of a print shop. Enfocus also has a store where users can access applications for Switch, its prepress automation technology, and exchange workflows for specific applications.

By Gareth Ward

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First UK customer

First UK customer

The first UK customer for the Keyline MIS is Colourfast and has been joined by others since. The deal with Heidelberg will strengthen the direct sales approach by reassuring customers that the developer will stick around, while Heidelberg will open a new sales channel via its own distribution.

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