HP Bolsters Print Management, Assessment Tools

HP said its Web Jetadmin 8.0 software will include color control management; Report Generation Plug-in 3.0, for user- and application level reporting and asset utilization analysis; and an enhanced HP Imaging and Printing Assessment tool, among other new capabilities.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor also unveiled its Universal Print Driver for Windows, which lets users roll out one print driver companywide and manage an entire printer fleet, said Tom Codd, director of HP&'s Enterprise Imaging and Printing unit. Universal Print Driver for Windows can manage HP PCL 5 and PostScript general color and monochrome laser printers made since 1997, and it supports new HP LaserJet and multifunction printers. Codd also noted that the software eliminates the need to distribute new drivers when equipment is upgraded or scales up.

HP said the Imaging and Printing Assessment tool enhancements include easier data entry and "in-depth contract analysis" for commercial use of copier, fax and multifunction systems. The tool also allows teams of consultants to work at the same time in different geographies.

HP&'s new printer management capabilities come as printer vendors increasingly look to engage with channel partners to provide document, page and workflow solutions and services. Xerox and Lexmark, for instance, are offering new document consulting tools, and Oki Data said it has seen significant growth in its channel-based consulting services.

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HP&'s latest tool upgrades will enable solution providers to slash customers&' document costs, Codd said. "We can take up to 30 percent of the cost of printing out of a customer's environment," he said. For example, Laser Resource, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based HP solution provider, used the new Total Print Management tools to help client Grand Rapids Community College reduce its number of print devices by 30 percent and its costs by 18 percent, he said.

Going forward, HP will operate its document assessment and consulting offerings under its new rules of engagement, in which it will work directly with a named-account list, and channel partners will provide fulfillment and serve accounts not on the list.

In addition to the new printer and document tools, HP unveiled a new projector. The HP xp 7000 with DLP technology brings heightened contrast ratio and multiple connectivity inputs and carries a starting price of $1,999. Also introduced was the HP JetDirect pn1050 Network Projector Manager, for projector management and security, which is priced at $299.