It is rare for really big — if struggling — technology companies to have new offerings directly of interest to advisory firms but HP pre-briefed me on some last week that, thanks to Sandy I am just now getting to.
HP announced on Tuesday last week (Oct. 30) some new printers and print technology that could significantly cut printing costs and allow for a better marriage between a firm's printing and content management/document management needs.
Among the new offerings are a new line of HP Officejet Pro and HP LaserJet printers as well as a content management system that will appeal to many smaller advisory firms.
In a briefing company officials were touting the performance of a new line of inkjet printer models that are not yet available but will come out in the spring of 2013.
Specifically the HP Officejet Pro X Series desktop printers and multifunction printers (MFP) that they said will deliver up to twice the speed at up to half the printing cost compared with color laser printers in their class.
This line is meant for the small to medium size business market and it is HP PageWide Technology (this link will take you to a detailed HP white paper on the subject), will power this next-generation line of HP inkjet printers.
With this technology target users, including small and medium-sized businesses, remote offices and branch offices, should get print speeds of up to 70 pages per minute.
George Alonso, the senior director of marketing for Inkjet Printing Solutions at HP explained some of the differences here; namely that unlike many other inkjet printers to date where the print bar (which is made up of heads) that go across the page, with these new HP models the page instead travels underneath the print bar.
“There are also technological differences in the ink as well, there is no fuser or imaging drums and the ink itself is a bit cleaner,” said Mr. Alonso.
He also explained that the cartridges can print considerably more pages on average as well; approximately 9,200 monochrome pages and 6,600 color pages respectively.
“That's about three times as many pages as a typical laser and because we don't have fusers to warm up [fusers are a key component of laser printers] you have half the energy costs of comparable laser printers,” he said.
LASERS + DOCUMENT AND CONTENT MANAGEMENT
I was also briefed by Mike Weir, vice president of LaserJet Enterprise Solutions at HP, who said that you will increasingly see networked multi-function printers that are able to steal away even more tasks from traditional copiers (though the reverse can be seen as well — we have a Konica Minolta copier that also serves as a multi-function printer here in our own offices — though I think it significantly more expensive than the new model HPs discussed here but I digress).
“You see all the traditional MFP features and all the different traditional network abilities including manageability but these new models also offer very sophisticated scanning capabilities on them as well,” said Mr. Weir.
These include page sensing that helps automatically prevent skewing of images when scanning a document without the need for manual intervention.
There are also new workflow capabilities.
“Once we have that document scanned, the device is able to access that information, store, archive and print it,” he said.
What may ultimately appeal most to mid-size and larger advisory firms about these new lines of hardware are the more sophisticated routing and document storage capabilities that are either native to the devices or can be programmed into them thanks to HP's acquisition of Autonomy.
The HP flow MFPs can be integrated with content management solutions based on software from Autonomy, either on-site or via the cloud.
In particular I can see these new laser printers and the Autonomy features being of great interest to independent broker-dealers with lots of branch offices or multi-office RIA firms.
“File sharing and publishing capabilities, anywhere anytime accessibility where security is critical, with bank-class security,” said Aaron Weiss, director of marketing for LaserJet Enterprise Solutions at HP.
The new hardware is supportive of and can be easily integrated with applications that use the open extensibility platform or OXP, which is used to create extensions to third-party applications including Sharepoint and Salesforce.com
The HP LaserJet Enterprise flow MFP M525c (available sometime this month for around $2,599) and HP LaserJet Enterprise color flow MFP M575c (ditto and for around $3,199) are a couple of models mentioned among the lineup.
My former colleague Tony Hoffman over at PCMag.com has yet to complete a review of either of these latest models but here is his recent review of the HP LaserJet Enterprise 500 Color MFP M575dn from September.
(As for those letters at the end of the model name, I'm told that the "d" stands for duplexing and the "n" stands for networked; while the "c" stands for capture, and points to additional new features available in that area with these latest models).
I'm told that the primary difference between the HP LaserJet Enterprise color flow MFP M575 and the existing 575dn is the inclusion of enhanced scanning capabilities and proprietary HP solutions that allow businesses to enhance the capture, storage, sharing and search of their data, specifically the inclusion of integrations with Autonomy mentioned above.
I will find out more on how HP's Autonomy offerings can be adapted to or customized for the advisory business and how it compares to other offerings already available that are specific to the advisory document management realm.
The folks that briefed me also promised to put me in touch with some value added resellers (VARs) that work in the financial services realm, which should help with parsing out some of these comparisons.
For additional information visit HP's site online.