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Why isn't specialist business software all things to all people?

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Dan Tyler, Managing Director of Vantage, explains why the company remains focused on enhancing its specialist software rather than diversifying into other areas and its plans for greater integration with industry partners.

In an often chaotic industry, you need specialist software solutions.

There are many times in life and work when a bit of expertise goes a long way.

Say, for example, you need a complex operation on a badly broken leg. You wouldn’t want the surgeon and anesthetist swapping roles simply because they both know a bit about what the other does. And you certainly wouldn’t want a jack-of-all-trades who does a bit of everything with no particular insight having a go. You’d like an expert in each specialist role.

It’s the same with software. Take Vantage, for example. Vantage has been specifically designed for the job of managing installations in the wide-format print and graphics industry. Printers, installers, and subcontractors use it to collaborate and bring greater efficiency to a pretty chaotic and fast turnaround element of the production and fulfillment chain. It’s not used to run production lines, order stock or create invoices, and so on. We leave those to other specialist software providers.

Each to their own

Prospective customers usually see the benefit of each piece of specialist software for its defined purpose; the problem comes when they start imagining that it should also solve issues outside of its scope and then judge it harshly when it can’t. 

Our industry has many elements of the production chain – from estimating, quoting, ordering stocks, arranging artwork approvals, printing, finishing, delivery, and installation to invoicing, account management, HR, etc. The key isn’t to get ‘one software solution to rule them all, but to get different specialist packages talking to each other.

Everyone is looking for a ‘single source of truth’ for their business – we can get that by enabling different software tools to talk to each other, providing holistic solutions without diluting individual specialisms.

Be careful what you wish for

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing software solution, remember that there are still some parts of the job that need the human touch. Here at Vantage, we’re all about increasing efficiencies through simple online solutions while making sure that the interactions you do have with colleagues are the really important ones.

Replacing hundreds of admin phone calls between project managers and installers not only saves time. It also saves direct contact for the times when it really matters. Simple tasks such as allocating work, updating job details, and running calendars are all now done quickly and easily through the Vantage app.

In an industry where every job is different and no two days are the same, you need specialist software that can handle the flexibility required and still allow for added value from human communication.

Working together for the best solutions

We are good at what we do, and we often win customers from software companies that are trying to be all things to all people.

Everything we have built has been developed in collaboration with our customers by listening to their feedback and developing new features that they have requested. That’s how our client portal was born. We also recently had a customer who requested a much higher level of reporting, so we’re working with them to develop this and will then share the new functionality with our other users.

Our customers always talk about our software as being simple and intuitive – which is great because managing installations isn’t rocket science, after all.

Introducing a greater potential for integration

We’re now working on our most exciting project since we launched Vantage. Over the last few months, we’ve spent time looking at what we would do differently now if we were to build Vantage again, and we’re putting that into practice. With the rebuild that’s underway, some of our processes will be up to 90 percent faster. That’s massive for our users. 

I’ve discussed here the importance of specialist software solutions being able to talk to each other. Because we recognize that integration is crucial to the way forward for businesses in our industry, we’re focusing on a new interface that will allow for greater collaboration with other key industry players in the near future.

Our roadmap for the future will help our customers get the best out of Vantage as a key part of a holistic solution; the surgeon to someone else’s anesthetist, so to speak, or the Morecambe to their Wise, depending on your metaphoric preference.

More than 700 large format print and signage professionals across the UK use Vantage software to manage their day-to-day work. Vantage includes a client portal, a project management dashboard, and an installer app for iPhone and Android, built in conjunction with customers. Together they help teams across the graphics and signage industry to deliver a streamlined and efficient installation service. To find out more, visit

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