It’s a good question and one your customers don’t likely even think about, but we in the print industry have to. We have to think about web to print software solutions.

Our industry is chock full of acronyms and file formats that the masses wouldn’t (and mostly shouldn’t) care about in the transfer of knowledge: AFP, BCOCA, GOCA, IOCA, PTOCA, IPDS to name a few, thank you IBM. These can be mixed with AFP object containers such as TIFF, GIF, JPEG, EPS… The bottom line is: print can be complex and these file formats need to be transformed into something digestible for your audience – for online viewability with the ability to print.

Think of it like this: did you ever have a collection of CDs, cassette tapes or even Betamax videotapes that you know house valuable information but you can’t share them because nobody can view them? The content itself may be worth sharing but nobody can get at it because it isn’t in a format that is readily accessible and locked up in a media that isn’t available to the masses.

While it’s not a one-to-one comparison as these print formats are still current technologies, the conundrum remains the same: reading and accessing content should not be difficult — and you may need to transform it so it can be accessed by the masses, complete with tracking information and searchable data. Then, even if you could find a way, the process could be intensely manual and time-consuming.

We can solve this for you and make the transformation process easy and immediate.

The Print-Digital Divide

For nearly a century, printers needed to care about only one thing: the quality of their printed product.

But today, customers expect more. They demand their materials both in printed form and in an accessible, uploadable, digital-friendly form. They demand web to print software solutions. the responsibility for producing these digital versions of print media often falls to you, the printer.

Why do printers today need the ability to create web-ready digital resources alongside print products? Consider these four advantages.

1. Universal Access Matters in Web to Print Software Solutions

For any new print job, printers should assume the need to provide universal access. This means creating digital versions of print products that maintain the integrity, quality, and content of a file, and that are searchable and indexable.

Creating digital versions isn’t hard on its own — with the right consumer-grade software, any PC can create a static PDF out of most source material. But universal access goes further.

Accessible PDFs are both searchable and indexable: customers and their end users can search the full text of the document, assistive playback tools can read the text aloud, and content management and information systems can digest the content.

Creating data-rich, searchable PDFs from print-ready files is quite a bit more complex. At Ricoh, we saw these challenges so we created Several of the tools within RICOH Web Enablement Solutions Suite solve all of these issues, at scale.

2. Improved User Experience

When you have the ability to provide data-rich PDFs alongside a print deliverable, you instantly create an improved client experience. You can now give customers content in whatever format they want: print, digital, or both. And your customers can then do the same to their end customers.

3. Better Long-Term Storage

When properly compressed, PDFs tend to be much smaller to store than other visual-rich media formats. You also don’t have to worry about compatibility like you might with certain media formats. You’ll save on storage costs when you use RICOH TIFF2PDF Plus to convert single and multi-page TIFF files into PDFs, and you’ll create a product that presents better on the web.

4. Access Archived Data in Legacy Formats

Last, some print providers are actively living the 8-track challenge we talked about earlier. They have archived content in a range of formats, including AFP, PostScript, PCL, and Line, that isn’t easily accessible, isn’t searchable, and certainly can’t be placed online directly for customers to use.

Several of the tools within RICOH Web Enabled Software Solutions help printers access and digitize legacy and archival content in those four formats, creating text-searchable PDF files from any of them. And it can even do this at scale, with batch or mass file conversions.

See What RICOH Web Enablement Solutions Suite Can Do

RICOH Web Enablement Solutions Suite may not be the most interesting or flashy solution we offer — but it might be one of the most important. See why printers like your business are using it for smart web-ready digitization. Request a free product demo now.