The purpose of this study is to understand the application of database and digital asset management tools, techniques, and skills to facilitate content preparation for variable data printing jobs. It does not address who is responsible for addressing the data and digital asset components in the overall workflow—the customer or the service supplier.
While variable data printing is widely recognized as an important adjunct to customer relationship management and targeted marketing, complexities with data and digital content preparation have limited the actual application of the technology. Digital assets and data involve processes closely associated with information technology. Lack of information technology savvy is reflected in how data is handled, what tools are used, and what skills are fostered to work the tools.
A review of available literature clearly demonstrates the difficulties encountered in comprehending and assembling the needed operational knowledge from the wide variety of topics involved in variable data printing. Each topic is a specialty by itself, particularly in the information technology area. This is a barrier to successful knowledge acquisition by printing companies.
Establishing an experimental variable data preparation platform confirmed that it is time-consuming to establish a working model. A number of different tools are available that have oftentimes overlapping functionality—a fact that may confuse their proper application.
A preliminary list of skill sets needed to adequately support VDP solution delivery was put together. This list will serve as the basis for future research into these skill sets and the ways to deploy them in the printing industry.