January 24, 2001, 1:32 PM — SAN MATEO -- Hewlett-Packard Co. rolled forward with its e-services strategy this week with the introduction of the HP document router, a server appliance combining hardware and software for managing outbound printing, faxing, Web publishing, and e-mail.
Best known for computers and printers, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP is moving further up toward the application in an effort to make the printing process more reliable, according to company officials.
The document router, which leverages technology from HP subsidiary Dazel, is designed to reduce business process delays by eliminating document delivery failures, which can translate into lost transactions, according to HP.
"Documents are the currency of business processes, but document delivery failure is a common problem," said William McKinney, product manager at HP, in Austin, Texas. "We are addressing the need of document output from desktop and application systems [by making] sure the document gets where it needs to be."
In addition to improving the reliability of document output, the appliance can help IT departments better manage document flow and control costs, according to McKinney.
"IT is under pressure to add more and more applications, but keep costs down by using the same equipment," McKinney said.
The document router provides a single network resource to use with all output devices, eliminating the need for IT workers to configure individual printers and fax software on each client, HP officials said.
By giving end-users the ability to monitor the status of document delivery, and allowing users to address problems with printers and fax, the document router may mean less output-related help desk calls, according to McKinney.
In addition, the document router appliance may eventually obsolete printer device drivers because the document router takes care of talking to the printer, McKinney said.
According to an early user of the appliance, advertising agency Sicola Martin, because the HP document router combined multiple functions into a single device, it lessened output management headaches of the company's IT staff.
"We like the concept that it is a one-stop shop for printing, faxing, and e-mail functionality. It is easier to manage a single source for all those components. At the end of the day you are just managing one machine instead of three different machines," said James Tarver, systems administrator at Sicola Martin, in Austin, Texas.