Heidelberg has bought the German software developer Crispy Mountain, which has developed the Keyline cloud-based MIS.
Heidelberg has said that its intention is to use the Crispy Mountain team to expand Heidelberg’s “HEI.OS” platform. This would include an App Store where printers can buy other applications. Naturally this will include Heidelberg’s existing software solutions that are based around Prinect, the Heidelberg ID and the Heidelberg Assistant.
Heidelberg is planning to open this platform to other manufacturers so that printers will be able to buy most of their software from a single source. Heidelberg will let third-party suppliers create tailor-made offers for printing companies via the platform.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hermann, a member of the Management Board of Lifecycle Solutions and Chief Digital Officer at Heidelberg, explains: “For Heidelberg, the acquisition of Crispy Mountain is a further step in the rapid expansion of cloud based digital applications that are billed on a usage basis.”
As such, Heidelberg is gradually converting individual software licenses to a usage-oriented subscription offering. Jürgen Grimm, Head of Global Software Business at Heidelberg: “This is the first time that Heidelberg has offered its customers all Prinect modules on a subscription basis as Software-as-a-Service since their market launch a year ago and with great success. Crispy Mountain strengthens our team with key competencies in cloud technology and development processes, enabling us not only to deliver an innovative cloud-based and proven MIS application, but also to secure our ambitious business plan on the road to the digital industry platform.”
Personally, I think this is a high risk strategy. The reason why so many vendors are rushing into subscription offerings is because it gives them higher and more consistent revenue streams, which will almost certainly mean that some customers will end up paying more for their software. It means that any print service provider signing up for this subscription service will have to carefully weigh this against the alternatives and be sure that it really is offering them value for money in the long term.
It’s also worth pointing out that Heidelberg’s aim with Hei.OS appears to be remarkably similar to HP’s PrintOS marketplace and it’s only a matter of time before other vendors jump on the same bandwagon.
Heidelberg will also expand on Keyline so that it covers the label and packaging sectors beside its existing digital and offset capability.