printCafe vs. PrintTalk--Waging a PrintWar?
In an attempt to wake up from that nightmare, Halberg contacted remaining MIS companies to see if there would be any interest in developing an integration standard along with the e-commerce companies. The result of Halberg's phone calls was a meeting in Burlingame, CA, this past June. "It's really amazing when you think about it. We're talking about a group of companies that, before PrintTalk, would not have said hello to each other on the street," contends Mekis. "In the confines of the PrintTalk meeting, there was a clear and common need from customers on both the e-commerce side and the print management side to come together. We asked all these competitors to leave their egos and their weapons at the door—and they did."
PrintTalk was formed out of that initial meeting and NPES, with previous experience as secretariat for both ANSI and CGATS standards organizations, was also brought on to act as a secretariat for the group.
While PrintTalk and printCafe have the same goal—to integrate the entire printing process, from creation to fulfillment—PrintTalk and printCafe go about their respective missions in very different ways. printCafe chose to form a company with applications that span the buyer to printer arena, while PrintTalk chose to create a non-profit organization to develop transaction sets to be used to exchange data.
printCafe is a privately held company, which is focused first and foremost on integrating its management systems with printCafe's Web-based marketplace. Printers who extend their printCafe business management systems to include Website capabilities receive a customer-branded, customer-configured site, developed and hosted by printCafe, which they can project out into the world and invite the print buyers that they work with to purchase printing using their site.
Yet printCafe does realize that while printers may choose to adopt printCafe, print buyers may not. In response, printCafe announced the eProduction eCommerce eXchange (PCX) framework for integration. "PCX was announced with the intent to provide a means so that a printer who adopts our Website solution can communicate to any external buyer solution," Olin says.