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HIFLEX Webshop 'Changes-the-Game' of Web2Print by going open source

Press release from the issuing company

Printing Industries of America announced that HIFLEX, the global technology leader of Web2Print and MIS Solutions for Print was selected by an independent panel of industry judges to win the coveted PIA-GATF InterTech Award for the second time.

With its long history of identifying printing industry innovations, the InterTech Award, now in its 32nd anniversary, was established to identify technologies that have never been used before and that will have a major impact and benefit on the printing industry. The focus of InterTech is on enhancing productivity and profitability for print and to elevate attention to technological innovations that achieve this goal with significance that also have a lasting effect over the next five to ten years.

HIFLEX won the 2010 InterTech Award for the innovation of bundling HIFLEX Webshop as a Drupal Open Source Content Management System (CMS) Plug-In and also for Webshop’s JDF core that enables print-buyers to dynamically create and order hundreds of thousands of print products directly on-line and with zero administrative costs. This is a huge departure from the traditional ‘article-based‘ Web2Print ordering systems. InterTech Award Judges referred to Webshop as a “Game-Changing and Mind-Shifting Innovation“. HIFLEX is the only MIS vendor to ever win the award and the only Web2Print vendor to win in the award’s 32 year history and now for the second time. HIFLEX MIS and Webshop won the InterTech Award in 2008 for it’s use of JDF, ‘lights-out‘ automation and Web2Print/MIS integration.

Drupal, the Content Management System used in conjunction with the Webshop Dynamic Ordering System was chosen by HIFLEX for its framework and core functionality. In addition, there are over 2000 Drupal modules that are readily available to HIFLEX customers directly from the Drupal Website and that can be uploaded to the Webshop system for immediate use. Drupal is a free, open source, Content Management System and is the choice of other leading companies such as Yahoo, AOL, FedEx, Nike, Forbes, IBM, NASA, Sun Micro Systems, and Novell. There are over 1 million installations and over 10,000 developers worldwide using Drupal to manage their storefronts and websites. Dr. Mark Bohan, Vice President, Technology and Research for Printing Industries of America comments 'By virtue of the software’s connection to the Drupal Content Management System, HIFLEX Webshop users have carte blanche when configuring their web2print sites. HIFLEX should be congratulated and recognized as a pioneer in the industry for thinking outside-the-box with their use of open source. The judges loved this innovation and they shared unanimous sentiments that it will have a significant impact on our industry.' The panel of judges represented by a mix of 15-20 industry executives that are responsible for making buying decisions regarding technology for their printing establishments, overwhelmingly agreed that the Webshop-Drupal combination will make it much easier to do business on-line and with the use of these tools, printers of all sizes, small to large would benefit from easier and faster deployment.

'Traditional or proprietary Web2Print systems do not provide an open platform so that users can have the freedom to fully configure their own systems. This is because one, vendors view configuring their customer’s websites as a primary source of revenue and two, because of the proprietary nature of these systems – they simply are not able to provide unrestrictive access to the backend. 'Comments Gary E. Marron, President & CEO of HIFLEX Corp, NA. 'The proprietary nature of these systems make it impractical and unsafe to offer such unrestricted access – users could inadvertently damage the system software. Most systems do have the ability to change graphics and images but are limited regarding the restructuring of storefront elements, functionality and adding or changing product types and descriptions. The HIFLEX Webshop backend is one click away from the front-end and completely open and available to users with the superbly organized Drupal Structure.' Mr. Marron goes on to say.
HIFLEX’s Webshop-Drupal bundle also allows its customers to leverage from the thousands of Drupal community programmers and users who have also used Drupal to create their own unique and custom on-line storefronts. Furthermore, Drupal is the world’s most popular global Content Management System. The Drupal community is comprised of storefront programmers in about every major city in the world, making the bundled HIFLEX solution well supported and local to a printer’s business and more importantly, its customers. Much like Apple iPhone Apps, thousands of Drupal Apps are instantly available, such as the Google Analytics module, making configuring easy, simple and fast. “Custom and on-a-dime-without-a-fleet-of-programmers” commented one of the InterTech Judges. Another Judge surmised “The use of open source is a pioneering move for the industry”. Another stated “Selecting HIFLEX is a vote for the support of open source platforms”.

HIFLEX-Drupal Open Source Strategy
“The strategy and concept behind choosing Drupal as our CMS partner is to give our HIFLEX Web2Print Customers autonomy and speed when creating multiple, custom branded, on-line sites. We want our customers to be able to respond to the needs of their customers faster than any other solution and it’s working remarkably well.” comments Gary E. Marron. He goes on to say “HIFLEX Users configuring and building their storefronts are able to search and tap into other user’s storefront experiences and configuration ideas for doing business on-line. HIFLEX users are able to build their sites more economically with custom functionality and without reinventing the wheel. This translates to making money much faster with HIFLEX Web2Print Solutions.”

The Webshop-Drupal Solution ensures that is users stay ahead of the curve rather than falling behind as is prevalent with proprietary systems. Search Engine Optimization or ‘SEO’ refers to a site’s ability to remain the top choice when people search the web for on-line print providers. Because Webshop is a Drupal Plug-in, all of the mechanisms are already there and immediately available to Webshop users for SEO and the many other apps crucial to staying ahead of the curve.

Another good example of a recent Drupal-Webshop tool is integration with Facebook and Twitter. By using simple Drupal apps, Facebook and Twitter users are now able to have immediate access to a printer’s Webshop site and gain automatic access to the Webshop Storefront without having to re-register and login as a new user. This ease of access expands the market of a printer’s Webshop storefront business by millions of potential new buyers, simply by having this Drupal Plug-in available. Web2Print providers can expect an explosive on-line revolution regarding demands such as these that will drive the need to adapt quickly. Other areas of significance are Webshop’s ease of navigation for the potential buyer. Webshop’s design provides the simplest transaction steps and shortest transaction times with the least amount of clicks to buy, ensuring that the buyer returns to do business in the future. Lastly, because the portfolio of Webshop products are the broadest, supporting ganging functionality, dynamic estimating, invoicing and job ticketing, the administrative costs are lower than any other Web2Print system, ensuring users are able to compete in the competitive on-line market.

For the many printers who want to take their businesses to the web, HIFLEX’s new approach is essential and strategic to the viability of doing profitable business on-line. The Webshop-Drupal Solution provides users with the ability to differentiate and promote these significant value added services to their clients and the market.