printCafe vs. PrintTalk--Waging a PrintWar?
printCafe felt that its solutions were perfectly suited for the industry. "We saw clearly that a lot of the e-commerce players in the market did not fully understand how the printing industry supply chain worked," explains printCafe co-CEO Marc Olin. "There were people who had come from outside the printing industry that had developed solutions which were somewhat hostile to the printers. Based on our many years of experience in the printing industry by delivering electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions to print buyers and printers, we felt that we were uniquely qualified to provide an end-to-end solution that addressed the needs of printers, as well as print buyers."
While printCafe was busy with its acquisitions, PrintTalk was also in its genesis, reveals Jess Walker of Noosh, a founding PrintTalk member. "It happened after printCafe had acquired a few of the companies, but before they began to give us any definition of what they intended to establish." Although PrintTalk would not be formed until June 2000, Impresse, Noosh and some other founding PrintTalk e-commerce companies had completed integrations with some MIS systems on their own. "Noosh demonstrated an integration with Logic Systems about six months before printCafe launched their company," Walker reports.
"Our initial integration tests and development showed us that it was technically possible to integrate and that there was a lot of customer interest for us to do so," notes Jim Mekis of Impresse, also a founding PrintTalk member.
Although there was a definite interest and a developing need for integration, it became apparent that no one company could integrate with every company out there. "There was no one market-maker that could accomplish what many marketplaces could do together," adds Walker.
As several e-commerce companies were beginning to realize that they needed to work together, Steve Halberg, president of Parsec Corp., was coming to the realization that his customers were going to want and need to be integrated with e-commerce companies. "This industry is very dynamic right now and there are companies jumping into it all the time. It just looked like an absolute nightmare to me," he remembers.