Integrating E-commerce And Print Management
Both PrintTalk and printCafe have made promises of seamless integration from the buyer to printer. Find out what they have in mind.
IN THE realm of printing management systems, there's probably no hotter topic right now than printCafe and PrintTalk. The announcement last January of the merger of nth degree software and Prograph to form printCafe, then the subsequent acquisitions of AHP, Hagen Systems, Logic Associates, M Data and Programmed Solutions left the industry confused, nervous and full of questions.
That air of uncertainty was further fueled when, in June, the remaining MIS systems and 10 e-commerce companies announced the formation of the PrintTalk consortium. Both PrintTalk and printCafe made promises of seamless integration from the buyer to printer, but many in the industry remained skeptical.
Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2000 in Chicago proved to be the watershed moment for both PrintTalk and printCafe. PrintTalk unveiled and successfully demonstrated the first implementations between four companies.
While, across the show floor, printCafe demonstrated the coupling of its Web solution with its business management solutions with data flowing to and from the shop floor via its direct machine interface with MAN Roland, and integration to the print buyer's Ariba e-procurement platform.
Despite both demonstrations, there is still some confusion about what exactly printCafe and PrintTalk are offering and how they differ from each other. So, to clear up the muddy waters, here is a primer on the companies, their evolution and how they view their respective places in the market.
In February and March 2000, the newly formed printCafe, backed by CreoScitex, acquired what it believed were the leading MIS systems in the commercial printing industry. The concept behind the creation of printCafe was to integrate printer and print buyer MIS systems with e-commerce.