The beta installation, which was originally intended for May, was put back after Nottingham-based Prime Group opted to wait for the cloud-based, software-as-a-service (saas) version of Oneflow to be ready.

Oneflow founder Chris Knighton explained that all beta sites had decided to wait for the saas version, with Netherlands-based Digital4 due to install the software over the next few weeks.

The cloud-based version has been favoured by beta sites principally because of price, said Knighton. Where previously Oneflow was being priced at around £7,500 for implementation, around £25,000 for annual subscription, and £10,000 upwards for on-site tablet and server hardware, the cloud version is expected to be much more cost effective for most users.

“The implementation fee is now only £600, and this will be refunded as ‘click charge’ credits after 12 months if the company decides to stick with Oneflow,” explains Knighton. “Then, instead of an annual subscription fee, users will pay a charge per item, which will be around £1.60 if the company is processing around 25-50 items per day, but could be as low as 3p if printing more.”

Knighton explained that ‘an item’ was classed not necessarily as an individual print product but batch of identical products, so six identical calendars for example. Illustrating how OneflowCloud was likely to be more cost-effective than the company’s dedicated platform version, Knighton added that a 25 items per day, 220 days per annum digital printers would pay around £8,800 a year in item charges.

A dedicated platform version of Oneflow is still available for those customers expressing data security concerns. However, the 180 or so sites worldwide that have expressed an interest in purchasing Oneflow once it is commercially available in January have all favoured OneflowCloud, according to Knighton.

He said: “The message we are receiving loud and clear is that guys want OneflowCloud because it’s more cost-effective and can be deployed faster. It means we can automatically connect into our customers without the need to install any onsite hardware or software. In terms of ease of deployment and support we can accelerate the roll-out of the system in different countries because we can install it remotely.”

The benefits of Oneflow over other workflow systems is that it enables ultra-short runs to be produced cost effectively by automating the entire process from file submission to shipping without any manual intervention, said the vendor.

“It’s the first workflow system we’ve seen that really allows digital printers to capitalise on the capabilities of their machines,” said technical manager at Prime Barney Netherwood. “All the management for the dispatch and the operation for print seems to be handled exceptionally well by Oneflow and it seems to be the only product that does that.”

He added: “This will allow us to offer unparalleled visibility of where each individual piece of print is in the factory. From our customers’ perspective it makes us much easier to work with and allows us to grow without the need for multiple additional workflows.”