Prinergy is Dead

by admin on November 4, 2009

I have just received a phone call from a Kodak employee. This morning Kodak served notice to virtually everybody who works in the Willingdon building of Kodak. That's the building that houses the Prinergy development team.
Everybody is being laid of, save for a small remnant. At its peak, there were more than 200 developers who worked on the Prinergy workflow. I'm pretty sure there were more than 100 hundred (update: 100 staff reductions worldwide, definitely fewer than 100 who got laid off in Burnaby) who got served notice today.
Officially, the story is that development will be moved to Israel. However, I doubt they have the staff to handle the migration of such a complex piece of software. I mean, unless they have about five or six dozen developers twiddling their thumbs.
In Burnaby, British Columbia, the plan is to leave a skeleton staff for business strategy and device connectivity. No more than a dozen people.
More details to follow, but at first glance this is a shocking dismemberment. Usually, to mothball a piece of software as large and complex as Prinergy takes about a year or even two. But it looks like Kodak plans on doing it in a matter of months.
Oh my God, this is going to be such a mess....

Update Thursday evening November 6th
The rumour that everybody is being laid off in Vancouver in two weeks time is false. There are two groups. One group is to be laid off by the end of November. The second group will be staying on for three months to help with knowledge transfer.
Next week a group from Israel will be arriving for knowledge transfer and be sticking around for two weeks. That's the origin of the two week rumour.

About 10 developers (coders and testers) and 10 "other" staff (product managers, subject matter experts, and project managers) will stay on in a "consulting" role.

Confirmation that product management and marketing is staying in YVR.

In Israel, the PODS team was cut and KEMS was cancelled. Many believe that the remnants of the KEMS team will be called to take over Vancouver's products.

Worldwide, the net reductions are approximately 100 staff.

An interesting note: Apparently the 3-month staff haven't been told what their severance packages will be and this is causing some "concern."

{ 3 trackbacks }

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Mark Jetzer November 5, 2009 at 6:21 am

Depends on what to overall plan is. Is there another product in the wings to replace Prinergy? Until I know more I guess I’ll being opening up communication with Esko as a fall back plan.

thoams clifford November 5, 2009 at 7:02 am

I heard this too. Straight from one of the God Fathers of Prinergy himself. I’m sad very sad. I know that the coding is going to Israel and China and I’m really not all that worried. The SME’s and product and project managers will still be in BC, so that’s ok..but why did you have to let go one of your prime assets. That I do not understand. I guess that where the product is coded does not matter to me. The people I interact on a day to day basis are still intact. Prinergy is a mature product and now Kodak needs to reinvent prepress and hopefully the addition of print on demand and the new Kodak propser press will do that.

Eric Patterson November 5, 2009 at 10:05 am

I just confirmed with my Kodak rep and about 10% of this is true. There are two buildings at Burnaby, one is being closed down (-100 jobs) and moving it’s coding operations to Israel. This is an obvious cost saving means for Kodak as in net, they will be losing 30 jobs total. Prinergy is very much still alive and is one of the only growing and healthy revenue streams for Kodak.

Jay Zipursky November 5, 2009 at 10:23 am

Not just Burnaby, but the Insite team in Victoria, too.

It’s shocking. I still have not seen a press release about the news. I wonder if customers have been notified (although, it’s probably best not to scare them 😐 ).

FubarGuy November 5, 2009 at 11:28 am

How reputable is this source? No mention any where at all that I can Google, but if it’s true – yikes.

admin November 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

Fubar, Vancouver is a small city. I mean, I’ve got more than one independent source. I worked in the Prinergy development team for more than six years, and it was a large team by the standards of this city. Socially, I still bump into Prinergy (and ex-Prinergy) team members all the time. at the coffee shop, at the grocery store, etcetera.

You can bank on it. They are shutting down the team.

Jon Bracken November 5, 2009 at 12:14 pm

To set the record straight: Prinergy is alive and well and fully supported by Kodak.

In fact, the company’s commitment to KODAK PRINERGY Workflow Systems and to its entire Unified Workflow portfolio has never been stronger. We are committed to the success of our customers and to the continued successful development of our world-class Unified Workflow products and services, including Prinergy, Insite, Preps, ColorFlow, NewsManager, PowerPack and Color Controllers.

So what’s new? We have announced to employees that we will consolidate global product development for Unified Workflow at our site in Israel, and we will focus our customer technical support and marketing operations at our Vancouver site. We will create a world-class, innovative engineering team built around skilled developers, and efficient, effective processes that can drive forward our investment in PRINERGY Workflow and the full Unified Workflow portfolio. Kodak will be better positioned to generate long-term growth for our customers and for Kodak while maximizing our industry leading technology platforms.

This was a very difficult decision because it involves employment reductions. The decision was not in any way based on the performance of our employees in Vancouver, which has been excellent. It was simply based on an analysis of a number of factors, as well as synergies and support infrastructure at the respective sites, in concert with the anticipated future direction of the business. While this does involve reductions, please know that we will have substantial remaining operations in B.C., with more than 500 employees located here.

As you may know, earlier this year, Kodak formed a new business entity, called the Business Solutions and Services Group, to better deliver solutions in our digital world. The strategy behind the group is to enable customers to do more, increase efficiency and grow their businesses β€” print and enterprise β€” through offering integrated solutions, consultation and implementation services, enterprise marketing asset management and security, print workflow software, document capture software and hardware and overall service and support.

Our Unified Workflow strategy ensures that Kodak continues to support the traditional print space by delivering automation and integration for customers. We’re also accelerating developments in digital print workflows for hybrid and digital printing at the same time that we develop a new solution business in integration services, custom development and business transformation.

So that’s the news about what has changed. I can assure, as I said at the outset, that one very important fact has not changed: Prinergy is alive and well and fully supported by Kodak.

FubarGuy November 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Well, at least the synergies and support infrastructure will remain intact, as well as the integrated implementation while accelerating developments in leading technology platforms. And we can still drive forward our business transformation too!

Keith November 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm

They are closing down development in Canada and will try to keep Prinergy alive from Israel. Transition time – 2 weeks
Good luck with that but personally I dont think it happened in near feature. Ex Cre o now Ex Kodak

Been there, done that November 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Pray sisters and brothers, Pray!

Even if the Israelis are software angles, There is a gap of about a year
till the time they will be able to send out a useful version.
So, ask god that Adobe will not release CS5 and Quark will not unleash 8.1 in the near future,
Because if god will not listen, We are all in deep $%#@.

FubarFan November 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Where is next GUA meeting, I can hardly wait.
FubarGuy should be the keynote speaker.

admin November 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Two weeks? TWO WEEKS??

I need to get this independently verified.

Bracken, if it’s really a two-week transition period to shut down development operations in Burnaby and switch to Israel, then you’ve got a big set of brass balls to come on to my blog and post the corporate spin-crap script.

For heaven’s sake, the more I learn, the worse it loosk.

pmhapp November 6, 2009 at 7:26 am

Been there, done that –

Quark 8.1 was release earlier this year.

Da printer November 6, 2009 at 8:09 am

pffttttttt… so much BS. When a company fires the development team, it means the revenues generated by the product are not sufficient to keep development going. Moreover, what will be the “quality” of the so called knowledge transfer???? Do they think an employee loosing his job (now or in 3 months) will “fully” collaborate???? Workflow is a saturated market and maintenance revenues are simply not sufficient. Just look at what EskoArtworks did this week… moving everything to India. Cheap labor, bad service, language barrier, lack of proper development… calling for “the end” to happen, just don’t know when, but it will happen.

Mike November 6, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I’m really sorry to hear about this. As one of the few survivors of massive layoffs at my company (so far), I can relate. Same outsourcing deal.

Also, I got a letter from Kodak this week informing me of a 10% increase in the cost of Unified Workflow Solutions Support. Guess this is what the author was referring to when he wrote “Kodak continues to do everything possible to design new services, improve our efficiencies, and provide support at the lowest possible costs.” Gee thanks.

Been there, done that-
CS4 is 13 months old now, given Adobe’s recent track record of delivering at new version every 18 months, one could guess that CS5 will appear in April.

Ken November 7, 2009 at 12:39 am

Typical corporate crap.
10 people crew remains in Vancouver to insure “smooth transition”. Time to admit this is the end of Prinergy era …..

anonymous November 8, 2009 at 10:06 pm

There is a lot of rumor out there, here is the scoop from an insider.

1. Kodak considers the Prinergy install base saturated, they are now focused on getting more revenue out of existing customers rather then finding new customers.
2. Kodak hired some consultants that concluded workflow is “sticky,” so customers won’t switch to an alternate unless they really screw it up.
3. Kodak is moving all development to Israel and China. All developers in Vancouver have either been dismissed as of Nov 30, or are tentatively dismissed as of Feb 1.
4. In Vancouver, Kodak will have product management plus a small development team. The development team will be 10 people, and they will work on feature for specific customers. Most customers cannot afford this. They will not be working on Prinergy proper. If it turns out a customer pays for a feature, and other customers like it, it will be rolled into the product for all customers.
5. It takes the Prinergy team about 3 months for a minor release (no features, just bug fixes) and about 1 year for a major release. Given the experience of the team (many people have been on the team for over 10 years), expect the rate of bug fix and feature release versions to be in the range of 1 year and 2 years. Also remember all those testing the product have never tested it before, nevermind they have never worked on a prepress product before.
6. Prinergy is a very complex systems, it’s sheer size and complexity makes it difficult to maintain. It is likely that once it moves only simple bugs will be fixed. Even in Vancouver, the entire system is not longer understood.
7. Kodak’s new focus is on digital, but the integration and plan for digital is very poor. Look for the folks in Israel to drop the ball on this ( just look at the state of the Creo color server compared to the competition)
8. The team taking over Prinergy formerly worked on Kodak EMS (my guess).
9. If you sleep better because the SME’s are still around, consider this
– most features added to the product ad added by the people leaving. They are the front line in gathering the information directly from customers; SME’s help this process, they don’t drive. it.
10. If you are talking to a SME, you likely have a problem the RC cannot deal with. SME’s escalate to developers. Most of the developers that take escalations will be gone is 2 weeks.
11. If you buy the Jon Bracken story above, and have a chance to talk to him, here are some specific questions:
a) When will the next minor version of prinergy be out.
b) When will the next major release be out. What will it include?
c) Can you release the consultants report that led to this action – is this action better for Kodak, or it’s customers. If it is better for it’s customers, how?
d) Why are customers now required to buy support?
e) How will escalations to the development team work, now that the development team is not resident with the SME team.
f) assuming prinergy releases will be slower, are you trying to force customer to use the custom development service? What will be the charge out rate? What expertise do you have in his business?
g) What specific benefits will customers see? In the next 30 days, 90 days, 1 year?
h) Given this fundamnetally changes the product, is Kodak planning to offer any returns for this software?
i) What kind of contact will customers have with the new development team ( I can’t enumerate all of the customers that I have personally worked with over the years – Hi Tom)

BF November 9, 2009 at 3:06 am

Remember when Quark moved its developments to bangladesh, before version 5 shipped, it was the beginning of the end.
But there could be a positive side to this, the switch to Israel could lead to new a platform, since they recognize that Unix is a stable platform, unlike Windows, and therefor better suited for prepress production.

Jeff Lazerus November 9, 2009 at 5:43 am

“Prinergy is alive and well and fully supported by Kodak.”

This is almost EXACTLY what my boss told our staff, a mere 2 months before the company shut down. ” Our company is fine, we’re not going anywhere.”

Maybe if Jeff Hayzlett wasn’t off at some Twitter conference (I know, WTF is a “Twitter Conference”) Kodak could make rational business decisions. Pretty unlikely. They had to acquire the only decent products they have from the likes of Creo and Scitex, they have a history of layoffs and decisions that are not customer centric.

Very very disturbing, for so many reasons.

Gordon Pritchard November 9, 2009 at 9:22 am

Ex or soon to be Prinergy developer?
I’ve received a job opportunity for developers in a B2B company. Contact me at pritchardgordon @ gmail (dot) com

Hope it’s OK to post this DJ

AP November 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

No official statements yet .. but more and more public news spreads …

stimpy November 9, 2009 at 10:20 am

The software team in BC was considered to be the “last bastion” of the Creo culture. The departure of Judi Hess earlier this year seemed to be result of an irreconcilable clash between Kodak management and what Creo had wrought. I expect Israel and China are filled with management much more able to work UNDER Kodak than the BC people, with their meritocratic and flat corporate structure Ms. Hess attempted — and ultimately failed in the end — to maintain.

I expect a decision to drop-ship in a management team that Kodak Central trusted into the BC team would have been an unmitigated disaster given how independent and creative many of the senior programmers and technical staff in BC are. Best to cut it off and move it to where the teams do what they’re told from Rochester. No surprise, considering how Kodak runs the rest of their operations.

anonymous November 10, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Thus ends the era. Perhaps the damage started by the MDA mafia has run to the natural conclusion. What goes around comes around, eh? Any one remembers the Israel visit by BC team when Creo purchased Scitex? Play that scenario in reverse.
Cheers and good luck to all.

Baildonory November 11, 2009 at 7:52 am

I cannot believe all of the negativity surrounding this announcement. OK, so Kodak are continuing to go through a restructuring exercise. For those that still haven’t noticed, the world is not in a great place at the moment,. All companies, from the 10 man shop, to the large corporations are having to make radical changes to their business plans in order to survive. Kodak are no exception. Nothing you guys say can change the way that Kodak runs their business. You can vote with your dollars and euros and no longer purchase hardware and software. But are Kodak any worse than the other vendors in the market. Change is not always a bad thing, but sometimes it is inevitable and can be for the good. The product will have to be supported for at least seven years, if it is dropped and further development ceases, although that appears unlikely if you take Jon Bracken at his word. Let’s stop getting bent out of shape and see what happens. Long live Prinergy!

Tom Bird November 12, 2009 at 8:02 am

For goodness sake every one needs to step back for a moment and get a reality check.

Prinergy is the jewel in the crown for Kodak and for the pre press industry. It out strips every other workflow around and it will be the major driving force behind Kodaks Digital print revolution. What the critics fail to mention here is that Kodak have kept, and are increasing their ‘Customization’ development team who are revolutionizing customers workspace.

Would Audi or BMW get rid of their best selling model? No, they would improve it with slight modifications from year to year and give its audiences what they love, a reliable powerful products that can be relied on.

So production moves to Israel and China….Israel was the Country that gave us Whisper and Brisque, two of the best products in pre-press history.
And what intelligent company would not use the far East to manufacture products these days?
I think you will find some of the biggest names in the world have production out there and have survived this dreaded recession because of such moves.

Redundancy is never nice, Ive had my fair share of it, but it also brings out the killjoy in people who only see their side of the story.

Dmitry Shultz November 12, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I’ve worked in Israel on Brisque 4/5, worked on Director (Brisque to Prinergy integration), was relocated to Vancouver in 2004 where worked 2 years on core futures of Pandora 2.7+ and 1 year developing (the correct word is rewriting) Workshop 4.

Knowing the products and people from Hertzelia and Willingdon offices I can tell – there is nothing Israel team can’t handle relating to the code and functionality (and there is nobody from MDA ! πŸ˜‰

Blackpool November 13, 2009 at 10:25 am

How Kodak does anything is how they do everything. Badly. They are a company destined to go bankrupt.

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