Star product: HP Exstream
By Tim Sheahan Thursday, 20 September 2012
All your multichannel communications needs fulfilled, according to HP
What does the software do?
"HP Exstream allows you to save money by streamlining business processes," says Simon Crewe, sales manager for UK and Ireland at HP Exstream. "HP Exstream also helps you to acquire and retain customers through customised communications delivered how and when your customers want them."
Exstream has the ability to access and process data from multiple systems simultaneously, while output support includes a number of manufacturers’ print engines (including those from HP, Xerox, IBM, Kodak and Océ) alongside electronic and XML output formats and types.
"The software also supports multiple formats, including PDF, image, RTF and PowerPoint, and we believe it is up to 10 times faster than competitors on complex documents," claims Crewe.
How does it work?
"Users interact with HP Exstream through the Designer and the Design Manager tools, which are connected to the HP Exstream Design database," explains Crewe. "Once the communication has been designed, the specific customer communication applications are packaged for production and subsequently processed by the HP Exstream engine."
The next step is to move from the design environment to the production environment for processing. As mentioned above, the engine has various output capabilities through multiple channels and these can all be selected on demand.
"Sorting and bundling capabilities also let you group customer communications applications to reduce print and mail costs," says Crewe. "Testing tools, meanwhile, enable you to review documents and validate data to ensure changes are made and that customer communications will be created correctly."
Crewe adds that communication content can be fetched from "virtually any data source", including legacy systems, web service calls, as well as ECM, CRM and other applications.
How does it differ from previous versions?
HP says the latest version includes many "incremental improvements and enhancements that add value to the software".
"One of the major strategic enhancements is to build on and to significantly enhance HP Exstream’s multichannel functional capabilities," elaborates Crewe. "This means the ability to use single or multiple sources of content from a single HP Exstream design to simultaneously drive multiple communications across all publishing channels, be they print or electronic."
What is the USP of the product?
HP says a key differentiator is the fact that the software works with both single, on-demand products and multimillion-strong mass-communication documents as well as everything in between – something HP says is unique to this software.
"We can also get a communication to market 85% quicker than rivals through automated cross-functional processes," adds Crewe.
How easy is it to use?
"HP Exstream is very easy to use, providing all the tools to administer and manage the environment on a Windows PC," says Crewe. "The design interface lets users create design objects and define business rules, production characteristics and personalisation based on variables. These design objects and variable rules can be created once and then reused in multiple applications for multichannel delivery, significantly reducing design time.
"In the design interface, different users can manage different aspects of the design process, and users can also use the built-in viewer to review documents immediately," he adds.
What training and support is on offer?
HP offers a hands-on "educational experience", equipping users to "fully exploit" the software. A full schedule of introductory and advanced classes is provided throughout the year at HP’s global offices. Or, if customers prefer, HP Exstream trainers also run courses on-site at the customer location or will develop a customised curriculum tailored to your company’s specific needs and applications.
How much does it cost?
HP Exstream is a modular software solution, so costs are dependent on the exact customer requirements and vary based on modules required and the size of the deployment.
How many installations are there currently?
More than 700 companies across a variety of industries are using HP Exstream, according to HP.
HP Exstream includes more than 70 fully-integrated modules that are organised into the following functional categories:
- Design and deployment
- Data and content integration
- Interactive documents
- On-demand delivery
- Production output and testing tools
Price Dependent on configuration
Contact HP 0845 270 4567 firstname.lastname@example.org
The following products may not be direct competitors, but do offer many of the same capabilities as Exstream.
Pageflex Campaign Manager
Pageflex Campaign Manager allows the user to build campaigns across a range of channels. These include personalised print, targeted emails, personalised URLs (PURLs), microsites, online surveys and follow-up communications.Users can build and distribute campaigns directly from the Campaign Manager, or can offer campaigns as a product to be customised and ordered from within Pageflex Storefront.
XMPie PersonalEffect (PE) Platinum Cluster
According to XMPie, the PersonalEffect Platinum Cluster Edition is a multiple server system designed for creating a wide range of personalised communications. Again, these include variable data print, personalised images, data-driven charts and graphs, PURLs, email and SMS.
Price From £24,000
Contact Xerox UK 0870 873 4519 www.xerox.co.uk
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