Xeikon Going All in with Cloud Workflow

Observations from the Xeikon analyst briefing

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10/19/2021

Greg Cholmondeley

 

 

Xeikon recently held an analyst briefing where Benoit Chatelard (President and CEO of Flint Group Digital/Xeikon) and Donna Covannon (Director of NA Marketing) updated us on their business, products, and services. Of course, they talked about their business as well as their Cheetah, Panther, and SIRIUS lines of printers, but I was most impressed with their software and services discussion. Xeikon seems to be all-in on cloud-based services and is actively exploring artificial intelligence (AI)—two of my hot topics for the near future.

 

Business Is Good at Xeikon

Benoit Chatelard delivered the business results, which were quite glowing. The company sees a 40% year-over-year growth in machine sales, and 90% of its printers are now connected. Print volumes are increasing, and he doesn’t expect that trend to change in 2022. The company has also created a Xeikon Solution Services group led by Daniel Velimoit, who was previously Chatelard’s Director of Strategy. This group focuses on workflow automation from job acceptance through postprocessing and finishing.

 

One glance at Xeikon’s overall product diagram shows its software strategy: utilize the cloud. Jeroen Van Bauwel (Director, Product Management) underscored that “cloud connectivity is especially important.” The company is working on cloud solutions to integrate all the elements it touches. This area is expected to grow 30%-40% in the coming year. In addition to being excited about this predicted growth, I’m also quite interested in Xeikon’s workflow automation focus and direction. Consider some of the offerings it already has in place…

 

Xeikon Color Services

Xeikon Color Services was the company’s first cloud-based solution. It supported managing colors across devices and technologies. Xeikon recently upgraded it to provide fully automated color management in the cloud.

 

Xeikon Performance Services

Xeikon Performance Services assist print providers who are new to Xeikon digital printing during their startup phase. It combines engine performance data with operator input to help visualize features needing adjustment. And where is this data stored? In the cloud, of course!

 

Xeikon Business Services

Understanding and fine-tuning equipment performance doesn’t end after startup, though. Xeikon Business Services provides a dashboard for operators and production managers to visualize the equipment’s performance as well as compare efficiencies and costs to optimize overall equipment efficiency. The data and analytics reside in the cloud, and Xeikon is exploring how to enhance its solution with AI. The firm is even participating in a European collaboration that is investigating the best ways to utilize AI in business.

 

Our Take

The cloud and AI will be the two driving forces that will transform our industry over the next 5-10 years. Services are already migrating to the cloud, which offers tremendous benefits for accessibility and growth. Workflow automation solutions evolve much quicker in the cloud because vendors are not constrained to annual releases and no longer need to sideline resources for upgrade transitioning and rollouts or legacy system support. Vendors, like Xeikon, are increasingly storing anonymized production performance data in the cloud, which provides a ripe big-data source for AI processing. Existing DFEs and workflow automation solutions have a plethora of settings and features that are often unused or misused. Combined, cloud services and AI offer a path to unlocking much of the underutilized power that already exists for more efficient print production.

 

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