Start Here October '20

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83 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 CH-CH-CHANGES Unlike machinery, software compa- nies typically implement changes at a much quicker rate. Whether that's back- end system updates, add-ons/program extensions, or new versions of existing platforms, some of these rollouts can range anywhere from every couple of months to an annual revamp. Stretch that set of changes over the last decade, and there's sure to be significant additions to a suite you're still using from 2010. "Shop management software has seen a significant shift in the past five to 10 years," contends Bruce Ackerman, Printavo. "The largest (is) cloud-based. Software is all moving to the cloud on a subscription basis." Major companies like Adobe, Gmail, and QuickBooks, as well as industry-specific platforms, are shifting to this model, he adds. Through the cloud-based model, soft- ware companies can roll out updates in a much more uniform manner than they have in the past. Plus, Ackerman points out, the cloud-based model makes things more convenient on the user side since it means shop owners can theoretically log in and check on things from virtually any- where there is a secure, stable connection. From a shop owner's perspective, Adam McCauley, co-owner of Sandlot Sports, says he's seen the rise in promi- nence of software in decorator shops as a means to stay relevant. "There was a time when having the newest press, biggest dryer, (and) the coolest equipment was your big flex on the industry," he adds. "Those are great too, but having some kind of management software driving the ship can arguably be more important to your professional well-being." While some markets have adapted well to business management software updates, JP Hunt, InkSoft, points out that the uniqueness of the decorated apparel industry has made it more difficult for such business owners. "Centralization of business activities and departments has been a tremendous challenge for print entrepreneurs," he elaborates. "So many general and (apparel decorating) industry business management software solutions address specific needs and neglect others." Thankfully, newer solu- tions continue to come online that are built primarily for businesses that need to track things like art approvals, colors (for screen-printing jobs), production timelines, and shipping ETAs. Shop management software has seen a significant shift in the past five to 10 years.

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