PrintSmith Site is an add-on module to EFI’s PrintSmith product. PrintSmith is a complete MIS solution for small to medium sized print operations, while the Site add-on module provides basic web-to-print capabilities.
A quick look at PrintSmith
PrintSmith is a networked, client-server application for automating most of the tasks involved in a print operation. It includes control of estimating, invoicing, AR, and pricing. It also has extensive reporting capability in all of these areas.
PrintSmith is a large, complex program that requires considerable training to become proficient in its use. A functional demo is available for download from the PrintSmith website.
PrintSmith Site Add-on suitable for small print operations
PrintSmith Site provides a very basic, catalog-based web-to-print capability. Its limitation of 100 customers (catalogs) makes it suitable only for small print operations. The monthly transaction limit of 15K transactions is more than adequate for most small print operations.
Pricing for this product is quite high – PrintSmith with the Site add-on costs approximately $10K to deploy with recurring annual fees of approximately $4K. The price breakdown is as follows:
PrintSmith with Report Writer licensed for 6 users 4580.00 PrintSmith Site add-on 1995.00 On-site installation and training (3 days @ 1395.00/day 4185.00 Total initial cost 10,760.00 Recurring Costs Monthly web-hosting fee for PrintSmith Site 250.00 Optional yearly maintenance contract 1000.00 Total (annual cost) 4000.00/yr.
As you can see from the breakdown, EFI’s business model is geared towards charging for service after the sale. Technician support is expensive, and the hosting fee is unreasonably high, especially when one considers that there is a maximum of 100 customers.
A closer look at the Site Add-on
The live demo of Site, which can be accessed via the PrintSmith website, reveals a simple, unattractive storefront application. The site can only be accessed using IE with security settings lowered (Java and Active-X scripting enabled). Apparently there is no support for other browsers, as I could not even logon to the site with Firefox (with Java plug-in enabled).
I could not locate a demo for the back-end of Site, so I cannot speak to the difficulty of maintenance and administration. A very basic VDP capability is included, but without a demo of the backend, I cannot say what the complexity limit for artwork and templates is. However, if the live demo is any indication, then VDP templates and document creation is limited to only the most basic level.
I have asked the PrintSmith people for more information concerning template complexity, personalization of the site URL, and file upload limits. I will address these issues in a future post if answers to these questions are forthcoming.
As you can see, PrintSmith and the Site add-on are not very printer-friendly. The initial cost, installation, support fees, and exorbitant web hosting fee all contribute to a very high cost of ownership. Products such as Printerorder.com and Printerpresence.com provide a better web-to-print solution for considerably less money.
Stay tuned for more reviews of web-to-print products.
Written by Randy Boulter
Copyright 2006, Zetaprints.com