Variable Data Printing

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1 Output & Security Variable Data Printing The area of variable data printing (VDP) provides an excellent opportunity to sell more color devices, so it is important for you to understand what VDP is, and how VDP software fits in. TEXT BARCODE FONT Variable data is information that appears on a form, but is not part of the form s design and varies from page to page on the form. Examples include a customer s name, the date, and so on. VDP is commonly used for sales promotion and marketing, especially direct mail marketing. It is also widely used for invoicing. VDP uses software to automatically compose formatted documents that contain different text and graphics. While traditional offset printing cannot change the contents from one printed piece to the next, digital printing can change the contents of each printed piece. Therefore VDP has played a major role in the growth of the print-on-demand market. Variable Data Printing: Key Features & Benefits There are many business opportunities for multifunction products (MFPs) and laser printers to make use of VDP software, such as: Placing high-volume, production-class print engines Increasing the sales of color printers Replacing desktop laser printers with MFPs Eliminate the need to purchase and store letterhead and other pre-printed forms. Place high-volume, production-class printers. GRAPHICS IMAGE Use customized communications to build customer relationships and entice prospects. Streamline workflow for transactional and promotional document production. FORM Quick Reference Overview

2 Variable Data Systems A variable data system VDP software accepts unformatted data and uses it to produce a document that can be printed on any laser printer or MFP connected to the network. The result is an attractive, effective set of documents, with no changes required to the business application that produced the data. There are two types of VDP software: Dynamic composition composes a document dynamically from content in a database. Static form overlay creates a document by simply merging a static pre-formatted layout and variable spool file output from another system. This is typically used for transactional documents such as bills, invoices, statements, reports and tax notices, and also for promotional documents such as direct mailers. Create the fixed format using graphics software Add images Select the external database Drag the database fields from the database window, and then drop them to the page design window Dynamic composition Dynamic composition VDP software uses an internal database with format designs, text, graphics and images, and a connection to an external database or print spool file. For example, to create an invoice design: All the elements of the page layout can be freely positioned and mapped, regardless of what the original data layout looks like. It s also possible to add conditional logic in the layout that is, if the content of a certain field matches registered data, then additional text, graphics, and images can be selected. Static form overlay Static form overlay software merges a fixed form with text from a print spool file. The most common static form overlay is the PCL macro. A command embedded in the PCL/PJL command calls overlay files stored in printers to merge with the form. It is simply overlaying the form on the original print spool file, so it s not possible to change the position of the data from the original print spool file. Associated Functions Both dynamic composition software and static form overlay software are associated with other functionality. They are: Printer-embedded software When printer-embedded software is used, the trigger is usually added to the print spool. For example, for the PCL macro, the trigger is the PCL or PJL command. Server software Server software has advanced output management functions to send s with PDFs attached, fax and store PDF documents in categories, or tag information in a content management system. Most advanced server software has its own web page, which presents the document in a secure website with username and password access created for each unique document that s composed and printed. Client software Some software has a converter function for different types of print spool file, including PCL and PJL. Some VDP software has multiple connecters to retrieve data from different types of databases, such as a connector to SAP. Customer Benefits The main customer benefits of VDP are cost reduction in transaction applications, and revenue growth in promotional applications. Generally, VDP software specializing in transactional applications is good at print spool file handling, while VDP software specializing in promotional applications is good at text layout with various fonts, indent and centering and color matching with high-image resolution. Transactional applications There are three ways of reducing costs: Place high-volume printers and MFPs. Traditionally, transactional and transpromotional applications such as invoices and statements are either outsourced or produced with smaller, slower and high-cost printers. Streamline these workflows and eliminate outsourcing by adding in-house, high-volume, production-class printers and MFPs. These faster print engines can save labor and consumables, improve days sales outstanding (DSO) and streamline overall workflow. By handing mail automation in-house, these print engines can also increase security and compliancy.

3 Replacing impact printers. Other transactional applications such as purchase orders, packing lists, shipping labels, order confirmations, tax notices, checks and shipping instructions are often printed with impact printers. There are costs for highly-priced pre-printed continuous forms and pre-printed stationery, and also labor for operators handling printouts. Replacing impact printers with MFPs can lead to significant customer savings. Increasing efficiency and automating the workflow. The customer can increase total workflow efficiency using advanced output management functions, including sending s with PDFs attached, faxing and integrating a content management system. Promotional applications For promotional applications, an increased direct mail response ratio is an important indicator to measure success. Color-capable MFPs and VDP software can create attractive and focused direct mailers with fully personalized content and attractive design with high-resolution graphics and images. This increases the response ratio and leads to an increase in sales revenue for the customer. Major Business Opportunities There are enormous opportunities for VDP software for both transactional and promotional applications. The business opportunity comes from the total document volume (TDV) capture, MFP and printer sales, and VDP software packages together with service and support. The four types of service and support revenue opportunities include consultation, form design, customer training and annual software maintenance fees. Target Markets There are three key target markets for VDP software: Impact printer replacement. TCO reduction by replacing impact printers and pre-printed forms with networked laser printers or MFPs. Laser printer replacement. Replacing desktop laser printers with networked laser printers or MFPs. High-volume laser printer placement. Placing high-volume production print engines. Sales Process There are four stages in the sales process for VDP software: Perform analysis Submit a proposal 1. Analysis Investigate the system: platform, ERP/in-house design/tailor-made Investigate how prints are used, model and make of printers, and print volumes Calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) reduction due to VDP 2. Proposal and sale Agree with the customer on the scope of solutions, how prints are used and the calculated TCO reduction Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and receive captured print stream or a database sample from the customer Generate a proof of concept (POC) for the client using their resources (data, graphics, etc.) Agree with the customer on pricing and next steps 3. Application development Scan the sample print or sample design into the tool as a background Design the form(s) and desired workflow Map the database data or the captured print stream into the form Perform a test print to the target output destinations, printers, s, faxes, etc. 4. Additional features Consultation service: Depending on the level of complexity of the customer s requirements, and the type of software Software license Develop forms Offer and implement additional features Training service: Various levels of training, from simple form design to complex programming Software and server maintenance

4 Glossary ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet. In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number-a string of seven 0s or 1s. 128 possible characters are defined. Direct Mail: Advertisers often use database analysis to create 1-to-1 marketing pieces designed for specific recipients, using knowledge within the database to target that person by name, address, buying habits, geography, etc. When direct mail uses database analysis, it is a type of database marketing. DOT Matrix Printer: Refers to a type of computer printer with a print head that runs back and forth on the page and prints by impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, but unlike a typewriter or daisy wheel printer, letters are drawn out of a dot matrix. EBCDIC: Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code is an 8-bit character encoding (data file) used on IBM mainframe operating systems such as z/os, OS/390, VM and VSE, as well as IBM minicomputer operating systems such as OS/400 and i5/os. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): A business management system that integrates all aspects of a business, including planning, manufacturing, sales and marketing. As ERP has become more popular, software has been built and sold to manage activities including inventory control, order tracking, customer service, finance, and human resources. Examples of well-known ERP programs are: PeopleSoft, Oracle, and SAP. Impact Printer: Relies on a forcible impact to transfer ink to the media, similar to the action of a typewriter. All but the dot matrix printer rely on the use of formed character letterforms that represent each of the characters that the printer was capable of printing. IPDS: Intelligent Printer Data Stream is IBM s Systems Application Architecture host-to-printer data stream for Advanced Function Presentation subsystems. LCDS: Line-Conditioned Data Stream is line data with embedded DJDE commands that specify formatting information for the data. Mail Automation Software: An all inclusive software product which fully qualifies mail to USPS standards (including CASS/PAVE and MAC Batch Manifesting) to achieve the highest level of postage discounts available. Printer Command Language (PCL): A PDL developed by Hewlett Packard. PCL 3 became the standard for general office black and white printing. The following versions are currently used: PCL 5c (color), PCL 5e (enhanced), PCL 6. Page Description Language (PDL): A language for describing the layout and contents of a printed page. The best-known PDLs are Adobe s PostScript and Hewlett-Packard s PCL, both of which are used to control laser printers. Lanier has developed a PDL called RPCS to provide comprehensive printer features to Windows users. Printer Job Language (PJL): A PDL developed by Hewlett Packard. PJL was conceived as an extension to PCL, but it is now supported by most PostScript printers. PJL provides a method for switching printer languages at the job level, and for status readback between the printer and the host computer. PostScript: A PDL introduced by Adobe in 1985 to provide a convenient language for describing images in a device-independent manner. PostScript is suitable for printing high-end graphics, and for Adobe applications, such as Adobe Acrobat. It provides better image quality and color consistency; it also supports a variety of operating systems. PostScript 3 was released in 1997.

5 Glossary Transactional Output: A mode of submitting a job to a printing device based on a business sale, purchase, or payment. Examples would be an invoice, purchase order or check. A digital printing system is attached to a computer database and many similar pages, called forms, are printed; each, for example, with a different person s data filling the form (such as a monthly telephone or cable bill). Transpromotional Output (or Transpromo): A type of document or corporate communication strategy that delivers combined transactional information and promotional marketing messages on the same document. Variable Data: Data that is not part of a form s design and varies from page to page on the form, such as a customer s name. Variable Data Printing (VDP): The ability to customize printed material by mixing and matching both graphical and text content with a database of some type. VDP is commonly used for transactional documents, sales promotion and marketing, Also known as variable information printing, personalized printing, customized printing and database publishing. Instead of producing 15,000 copies of a single document, delivering a single message to 15,000 customers, variable data printing could print 15,000 unique documents with customized messages for each customer. Lanier Five Dedrick Place, West Caldwell, NJ Lanier is a registered trademark of Ricoh Americas Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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