Friday, May 27, 2005

A tale of two shows, CeBIT and PacPrint

CeBit and PacPrint show passes
I've been "beta testing" a business advisory service which we're launching on July 1 and had reasons to be at both CeBit Sydney and PacPrint in Melbourne this past week. What a contrast...

CeBit felt like just another IT show, only with a New Zealand pavilion. It wasn't much different from the computer shows in years gone by, although Wireless Networking and mobile companies had replaced hard drives and mother board vendors. Of course, there were the AIIA stands and the national stands, subsidized by their respective governments, but as a show, it didn't work for me. A very, very pale imitation of the Hannover CeBIT show. Moreover, the question that hung in the air at CeBit was "What is the target market of the show?"

Pacprint show floor
At PacPrint in Melbourne, it was abundantly clear who the audience were: Printers, people and companies involved in "Ink On Paper" technology. You knew who they were and why they were there. They were looking for that printing press or some other piece of technology which might make their business more productive or improve their quality of service. There was a sense of excitement and interest which seemed sorely lacking at the other show.

Of course, there was as much Information Technology on site at Jeff's Shed in Melbourne as there was at CeBit. Powering not just the presses and ancillary equipment, but of course also on stands like Adobe's. An important software category at the show was workflow. Printing equipment is expensive, and needs to be constantly "kept fed" in order to provide a return for their owners.

Quote & Print logo
Workflow is a hot topic and efficient execution determines profit and loss for commercial printing companies. It's good to see an Australian software company, Quote & Print doing well there. They are an example to many in the software business: start with a customer's problem and help them solve it. When there are a number of customers with that same problem, you've got yourself a business. As long as you run it well and stay in touch with the customers, which is exactly why Dave Bell and his company, Quote & Print were at the PacPrint show and not at CeBIT. Simple, really...


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