Digital StoreFront from EFI – A High-End, Flexible Web-to-Print Solution

29/12/2006

Digital StoreFront (DSF) from EFI (Electronics for Imaging) is a complete, server-based solution for Web-to-Print. EFI refers to this product as “Ecommerce for Print”. DSF is targeted to medium-to-large print operations.

 

Available Features

DSF combines a simplified user interface, template-driven documents module, File-Print to PDF module and shopping cart interface to produce a very capable web-to-print solution. Any print order can be used as a template.

Catalog, VDP, Advanced Native File-to-PDF conversion and credit-card modules are available as options. EFI has recently converted DSF to use JDF-based ticketing.

Available language versions of DSF include English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and Norwegian.

 

Simple, Intuitive Interface

dsf_catalog_vdp_ss1.jpgA run through the demo found on the EFI website reveals a well-planned interface that allows individuals at all skill-levels to place orders. The interface is built around a familiar catalog/shopping cart model. The number of drop-down lists and other variable items is kept to a minimum.

In addition, customers can order office supplies or other products by simply adding these items to their shopping carts.

 

Basic System Requirements

The minimum hardware requirement for a DSF server is a 2.4GHz P4 running Microsoft Server 2000 or 2003. The Microsoft .NET framework is required. MS Office XP or Office 2003 is required for advanced file conversion.

Performance

While the minimum hardware requirements are surprisingly low, EFI claims that multiple corporate customers with multiple print centers can be deployed on a single DSF server.

 

Availability and Cost

EFI markets their web-to-print solutions, including DSF, directly to consumers. A one-year technical support contract is required with the purchase of DSF. EFI also offers on-site training courses for all of their web-to-print products.

Pricing for a basic DSF system is in the $60K range. A complete system with optional modules, installation, training, and support contracts can cost up to $70-80K.

 

The Good

dsf_print_services_ss1.jpg

DSF is a capable, flexible web-to-print solution. EFI markets a full-range of print products and DSF integrates easily with these products. Foreign language support is a definite plus.

The Bad

The base product does not provide a complete web-to-print solution. Several modules that are included with web-to-print solutions from other vendors are optional. IE 6 is the only browser supported. DSF includes excellent native file support, however the only preview option available is PDF.

 

The Ugly

Cost – DSF is definitely a high-end solution, and the costs involved would eliminate DSF as a solution for many medium-sized customers. Overall cost of ownership is quite high as well, mainly due to the cost of tech support and training.

 

The Bottom Line

DSF is a complete solution for medium-to-large commercial, corporate and public sector web-to-print operations. Initial cost, the need to purchase optional modules and the cost of support all contribute to a high cost of ownership.

Stay tuned to this blog for a review of PrintSmith, EFI’s web-to-print solution for small to medium sized print operations.

 

-Randy Boulter-

Copyright 2006 Zetaprints

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