Tech guide: MIS and web-to-print



Ideal Solutions is the exclusive Australian and New Zealand distributor for Accura, a leading UK print management system. Accura offers a comprehensive, fully integrated MIS for small and medium sized print companies of all types – digital, litho, wide-format, label, print brokers and web offset.

In the past 27 years Accura has been installed in more than 600 printing companies in the UK, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australasia, the Middle East and South Africa.

Accura uses an intuitive user interface, and the company claims it has a short implementation time, with seven to ten days’ training. Accura can be expanded with a range of modules and user licences to grow as business needs change.

The Accura core tables can be set up for multiple print methods – litho, digital, wide format, sheetfed or reel fed, from one system, without add-on modules. The printer is in control of all parameters — no consultancy, programming or IT services are needed.

Ideal Solutions says Accura is a competitive, cost-effective solution with low ongoing support and maintenance costs — it claims they are typically 40 per cent lower than comparable systems.

It combine features such as built-in fax, email, SMS, VOIP, spell checking, shipping integration, and a multi-tasking interface for access to quotes, orders and invoices at the same time.

Its modules include a Cost Rate Calculator to establish break-even hourly rates, CRM, estimating, production, proofing, invoicing, purchasing, stock control, job costing, remote data capture (RDC) and production scheduling. There is also the AccuraOnline e-commerce and web-to-print portal with bi-directional integration with the MIS.

Accura is backed by full on-site training and comprehensive local support services including all upgrades (major and minor). A full range of payment plan options is available, starting from $350 per month for a fully installed core system.



Hublink is a portal that connects resellers to CMYKhub, a national trade printer with manufacturing throughout Australia.

Designed for every size printing business, Hublink is a flexible MIS that offers estimating, quote and workflow management within a single, easy-to-use cloud based application.

Hublink has been designed for resellers to use as a stand-alone, or to complement resellers’ existing business management and in-house workflow processes.

CMYKhub has developed Hublink for where it sees the industry evolving —specialising in what printers do well and improving profits by outsourcing other work to suppliers like CMYKhub.

Resellers can register an account to access Hublink, then have the ability quote very complex print jobs and have the option to receive their job, or ship directly to their customer.

Hublink is comprehensive and resellers will see a new version update expected in the second half of 2015, which will have significant new feature upgrades. CMYKhub offers Hublink to resellers at no cost.

Its features include:

  • standard and complex ‘non-standard’ quotes
  • option to order then track jobs online
  • competitive pricing
  • choice of plain or resellers logo on packaging
  • choice of high volume offset and short run digital printing
  • national manufacturing and delivery

Hublink is free to resellers.



Dolphin 4 is a fully customisable MIS with several different modules. The software is flexible, so Dolphin Worxs supports a range of clients from small to mid-sized print shops, print brokers and larger mailing and label printers.

Dolphin 4 is fully customisable. Users can drag and drop and rearrange their own screens, or consult with in-house developers to get the exact look and feel for their business. Almost every aspect of the software can be configured around the user’s business, from quoting formulas to the built-in CRM features.

There is a growing community of online users in the Dolphin4 Users LinkedIn group, as well as the user help blog which is accessible from the Help button inside the software.

The latest update to the software, in January 2015, included a new feature release, with several new enhancements.

In February the company also released an Account Sync stand-alone program that can be used to sync seamlessly between Dolphin and accounting packages. The app currently syncs to MYOB Account Right v19, with a Xero integration next on the development list.

Types of supported printing include litho, wide format, labelling, direct mail, digital, flexo and screen printing.

The modules are sold as a flexible mix of individually licensed seats and site licences, allowing businesses to tailor their package to suit their set-up and needs.

Dolphin 4 is compatible with Windows 8, 8.1, 7 and Vista, or Windows Server 2012, 2010.

Finance options are available upon request. Modules range from $500 once off with $15 monthly licensing fees, to $1,950 once off with $26.50 monthly licensing fees.



EFI Pace is a proven, browser-based management information system specifically designed to optimise and streamline printing operations. This MIS offers complete visibility into business performance, providing the information printers need to win more business and deliver quality customer service.

Pace comprises a complete suite of modules that provide total control and flexibility to choose the entire suite or just the modules that best meet a printer’s current needs. EFI’s Pace solution includes tools for managing estimating, scheduling, purchasing, inventory planning, shopfloor data collection, job costing and accounting.

Additionally, Pace offers advanced integration to EFI’s solutions including Digital Storefront, e-commerce tools, Metrix imposition and layout tools, and Fiery digital front-end.

Pace is JDF certified and offers a powerful API to extend the ability to centralise, collect, organise and leverage business information. Just as importantly, Pace is information technology without the need for additional IT personnel — it is delivered on a pre-configured server, which is ready to plug and play into an existing network. The company claims the browser-based interface is easy to learn.

EFI Pace provides global visibility, and lets an organisation collect, organise and share information quickly, accurately and securely using tools like PaceStation. PaceStation sorts, manages, edits and views large sets of data in real time. Printers can quickly build custom views to track jobs, view cost centre production plans or monitor collection efforts based on user-defined criteria, providing a real-time view of the business for timely, informed decision making.



Optimus argues that within the last five years the ongoing challenge for MIS software is for it to remain relevant and versatile when print manufacturing methods and processes continue to expand and vary at breakneck speed. Optimus believes that Optimus dash MIS is a complete solution for the graphic arts industry.

Any substrate, along with any process, can be managed efficiently regardless of the sector – wide format, screen, digital sheet and reel, packaging, offset, labels, specialist print and non-print products and services can all be catered for. The Optimus dash user community continues to grow and is used by a wide variety of companies, from very small to very large.

Optimus is a process driven MIS system (as opposed to 100 per cent pre-determined fixed logic), enabling business rules that may be company specific to be incorporated.

Optimus dash solutions are developed with lean manufacturing in mind — this deliberately translates into fewer keystrokes for a focused and relevant user experience.

The dash Sales Enquiry System (estimating) ensures that all work can be estimated, so that when change happens during production, multiple production routes can be incorporated while retaining cost integrity.

A key extension to Optimus dash is Optimus Cloud Mobile running on a tablet device. This module gives sales reps the tools to be able to capture instant buying decisions while in front of their customer — fast quotes, fast orders, stock orders and customer views. All activity completed in Cloud Mobile automatically appears in Optimus dash MIS back at the office for real-time transparency and to eliminate duplication.

Optimus dash was launched in 2010 and continues to receive regular updates throughout the year to ensure dash continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the industry.

Finance options are available upon request and subject to project scope.



PrintIQ is the new breed of print management system that looks to stand out from the traditional MIS products on the market. It is web-based product, which by definition means that everyone accesses the application from an Internet browser. Production-staff manage the factory while customers quote, order and track, all from anywhere in same application. With no software to install, no separate web portal or online ordering system to add on, printIQ says it represents a quantum shift from what most printers are doing now.

The main differentiator between using the printIQ MIS as your W2P solution is that printIQ is more than just a shopping cart. It combines the power of the Quote Intelligence pricing engine with an integrated online ordering process to give your customers an online experience specifically designed for the complexities of print.

The combination also removes the need to integrate the online order with your MIS. With printIQ, the online order hits production as soon as the order is confirmed by the customer. This is a smart move given that integration is rated as one of the biggest frustrations with IT systems.

PrintIQ is one of the few print management systems produced locally. It was created by IQ which has development and support staff in both Australia and New Zealand. Being local and working alongside customers has produced a competitive advantage for IQ, and their openness and ability to customise for their customers has helped them convert a veritable who’s who of local printers to their MIS.

PrintIQ supports many segments of the industry from digital and offset printers, through to wide format and signage companies, with each segment having an option tailor-made for their industry. The new additions of mail and design are now creating quite a stir in the industry.

PrintIQ also enhances its offering with a range of additional modules. The IQconnect enfocus Switch module allows printIQ users to utilise the perfect automated workflow, encompassing Enfocus Switch, Pitstop, and Impostrip from Ultimate. printIQ Customers can now have a lights-out process to take an order from the web and push it through to the press without operator intervention.



Established in 1981, Quote & Print Software says it is the oldest and largest Australian print ERP company, with approximately 600 customers in nine countries. The company has spent 16 years upgrading and re-writing software, using the latest Microsoft technology and the Cloud. Q&P plans to release the beta test version of the Cloud Software at PrintEx 2015 to get feedback from customers before releasing it later this year.

A company using Cloud software saves approximately 30 per cent of its IT costs as they do not need expensive in-house IT infrastructure such as a server, server software, a LAN, software. It also gives them information anytime, anywhere, such as quoting at customer sites or working from home or overseas or using a notebook or Apple mobile device.

Q&P will have a utility to convert current data files for customers. The software will generally be sold as a rental product, and is designed for printers from one to over 50 users. Q&P will continue to support, market and enhance current software versions.



EstimatePro was four years in planning and development and has now been live for other two years across a growing customer-base in the UK and Australasia. The company considers it the next evolution from Tharstern’s Estimating Classic module.

It actively transitions the quoting process from a handful of specialists to anyone who can accurately describe a job. It also takes the core quoting function a fraction of the time it took previously with consistent and accurate pricing every time.

The latest major update was released in mid-April, combining a range of new functions including richer integration with Tharstern’s Sales Order Processing module.

EstimatePro is the new Tharstern MIS backbone. It suits any size business in the digital, offset and wide-format space where future permutations will include label work. Currently, labelling and packaging is still managed in Estimating Classic.

All sales invoices and purchase requisitions are generated out of Tharstern Primo and linked to the numerous reports that come standard with the system. Tharstern can link to any number of accounting solutions – Xero (Saas cloud and growing in popularity), Sage 50 and Sage 300 are the most used, but it also works with other accounting packages on request.

Tharstern currently has partnerships with Fuji Xerox and IBM Global Finance, who can provide flexible terms to printers wanting to effectively pay for the solutions whilst they are using and taking financial advantage of the benefits they bring.




AccuraOnline is a fully integrated, bi-directional, real-time B2B web-to-print and client portal for the Accura MIS. It provides one web portal in which printers’ clients can carry out all transactions and manage their account.

Its functions include quoting (with a live pricing engine from templates), order history/repeat orders, proofing (for online or offline jobs), stock management, shopping cart, artwork editing and submission, copy PDF documents (eg delivery notes, invoices) and more.

Most traditional web-to-print solutions are designed as stand-alone and focus mainly on the submission of artwork by the client, but this is only part of a complete online solution. While this can create a good user experience for clients, it normally falls short when it comes to automating production and providing a complete customer service portal.

Orders typically come in via email or XML attachment files and have to be imported or re-keyed into the MIS solution. Alternatively the printer has to pay for integration programing services at extra expense and time. This usually results in more manual admin touches, and the web portal not being fully utilised – money and time are wasted.

AccuraOnline overcomes this as a linked extension of the MIS. All data are set up and maintained in the MIS only and synchronised with the website in the background in real time. Quotes, orders, proofs, or stock movements are mirrored in AccuraOnline, as are address changes, contact details, products, pricing, or images. Maintenance of the site is managed from the Accura MIS.

Customers can access their account with the printer and view all online and offline content from one location, or print a copy of an invoice or delivery note.

AccuraOnline can be combined with eDocBuilder, a robust artwork editing engine which will allow users to edit artwork templates and submit them to print-ready PDF files. EDocBuilder uses rules-based PDF templates, full variable data upload, impositions and delivers a print-ready file for production.

Accura will automatically download all artwork files, attach them to the order, copy files to hot folders and generate XML for pre-flight/workflow software.

AccuraOnline is provided as a hosted solution, so it requires no IT infrastructure and can be incorporated into the Accura monthly payment plan from an additional $330-475 per month.



CMYKhub supports resellers with complimentary tools to manage their own web based direct-to-print store. W2P provides site visitors instant quotes on standard products like business cards and brochures, and they can simply upload their print ready artwork files and make payment through a cart feature.

W2P is for smaller resellers to increase customer base and revenue. Resellers can choose to have customers’ artwork directed to them for in-house printing or simply send the artwork directly through to CMYKhub to print and deliver.

The W2P site is fully branded to resellers and provides product set-up on a range of best-selling products. Resellers can choose from a range of site templates which come with a full set of images and feature graphics to choose from, or they can simply upload their own.

“When we sat down and looked at what our resellers needed in a W2P system, we found that selling print successfully via a website needed to tick all the boxes,” said company founder Clive Denholm. “They included the ability to deliver a high quality product at a competitive price anywhere in the country, a product range that includes short runs such as B2 short runs and other Indigo products, and a simple way to maintain the website. It is vital that resellers can easily keep the prices current.

“Online Design is being added in the second half of 2015. And last but not least, it needs to be affordable. So we thought free,” said Denholm.



Direct MMi has launched its award winning Integrated Direct Marketing Solution (IDMS) as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. IDMS is a tailored system built to a printer’s business needs and the needs of its clients without the cost of setting up and maintaining hardware and software systems.

This solution requires no system upgrades or additional hardware purchases as DMMi will manage the system and store fronts. All day to day upkeep of client systems would be run by the DMMi team based in Docklands, Victoria. With the installation of DMMi’s patented Endpoint software, all job information is fed into the business and delivered to the appropriate areas.

A storefront has the ability to process static products, personalised products, the uploading of ad hoc print items, email and SMS campaigns. The ability to add on custom solutions, when required, is available to complement the front end system.

The back-end solutions offered include the IDMS accounting, job bag, stock control, digital asset library, reporting and dashboard modules, making a true end-to-end lights-out solution.

If payment is via EFT, the IDMS system will automatically produce an invoice and email to the client while suspending the job until payment is received. If payment is via credit card, the funds will be directly deposited into your account via the Payflow gateway. If payment is via account, an automated itemised billing report will be produced at end of month and sent onto your client for payment.

When production is to take place internally, IDMS utilises the Endpoint module to allow job bags and artwork to be delivered. The Endpoint will also automatically print job bags and delivery labels on a designated printer, pulling stock from the appropriate tray as the jobs arrive.

If a job is to be produced by an external third party supplier, IDMS will recognise this on a product by product basis, generate a purchase order and send an email automatically containing all required information to order the product with that particular supplier.

IDMS has a dashboard in which current jobs in production can be viewed and mark off completed steps, both internal and external.

IDMS has automated stock control built in, and any job that requires stock, and for which there is insufficient stock, will be automatically suspended.

IDMS generates end-of-month sales reports and purchase order reports for accounting and reconciliation. This report can be tailored to integrate into any existing accounting packages.

DMMi’s IDMS system is a fully automated end-to-end process (which is patented in 148 countries) and can be supplied in two formats — as a plug in or a fully managed solution.



EFI Digital StoreFront is the award-winning flexible web-to-print and e-commerce solution designed to win new business, acquire new customers and grow existing business.

EFI says that, with over 10 years in the market, Digital StoreFront has the online job submission workflow proven to grow business by taking in more work, producing it more effectively and increasing profitability. The product is available in 16 different languages with support for multiple currencies.

The new generation of customisable SmartStore designs feature a library of contemporary web design themes with over a dozen templates that can be customised. SmartStores use the latest responsive technologies (HTML5 and CSS3) to allow storefronts to scale smoothly from desktop to tablet and mobile devices.

Digital StoreFront has the product types available to grow product offerings for printed products, static items, non-printed promotional items and even digital downloads.

Digital StoreFront is a flexible Web-to-Print eCommerce solution than can be customised to suit a printer’s business model. The modular architecture can add specific components to grow as business, customers’ needs and the industry evolve.

“We are well past the stage in the industry when web-to-print was an optional offering, and for 10 years, Digital StoreFront has been the platform of choice for print professionals looking to elevate online job submission from a basic, ‘must-have’ service to a core competence that builds customer loyalty and drives new revenue,” said David Minnick, EFI’s worldwide web-to-print product management director.

“With this new version, companies have the expanded virtual platform to manage their clients’ creative concepts all the way through to successful marketing execution.”

This EFI Digital StoreFront 8.2 release delivers new features, including:

  • fast shopping and rapid checkouts;
  • enforced and recommended ticketing;
  • re-orders of products with changed content or ticketing options;
  • user authentication with SAML 2.0 support;
  • SEO enhancements;
  • select merchant accounts at the company and department levels.



Optimus Cloud Web2Print is a self-hosted web application to simplify and automate print purchasing, and provides a complete online solution.

Cloud offers Web2Print, as well as instant quotes, access to historical data and information about production job statuses, and ordering static products in one interface. Once an order is placed all tasks, materials required and invoicing are automated for the print production and job processing in Optimus dash MIS to start the work straight away with no re-keying.

Optimus Cloud is a logical extension of Optimus dash MIS. Optimus has developed the Optimus Web Services module so that many custom built or market available web2print systems can be integrated. These can be linked to the dash Sales Enquiry System (if web2print infrastructure permits) to ensure real time pricing held in dash eliminates the need to update two systems.

Optimus Cloud is modular and includes Fast Quotes, Fast Orders, Stock Orders and Customer View. This ensures the solution can grow with the printer’s customers’ demands.



Pent Net offers a Web2Print solution that provides a seamless, automated process from an online order, quote, payment, with smooth integration to MIS such as Quote and Print, Tharstern, Dolphin, MYOB, as well as integration with workflows such as Enfocus Switch, Pitstop, Prinergy and Prinect, which then connects directly to various printers such as HP Indigo, Fuji Xerox and many others.

Based in Australia and established over 12 years ago, Pent Net’s focus is on web to print as the entry point to achieving fully automated production processes.

Pent Net’s Online StoreFront and integration modules have the potential to reduce touch points and automate from order all the way through to production and delivery.

Online StoreFront has useful features such as online ordering, catalogue management, shopping card, payment gateway, order history, repeat orders, unlimited portals, approvals, order tracking job history and much more.

Latest developments include the Variable Data Module, which has been developed with print service providers in mind, drawing from extensive customer research.

Peter Ludwig, Pent Net technical director, said, “Our Online StoreFront delivers a streamlined Web to Print solution for the printing industry. Whether you are looking to provide online job quotes, print on demand, reorders, dynamic templates, inventory management or variable data, Pent Net combines all these capabilities into an easy to use platform.

“On the client side it is a template based system that provides an easy way to place orders, as well as approve and monitor orders. It can also be a repository for digital assets, a major advantage in retaining and acquiring clients. On the printer side, Pent Net’s Online Store Front is a complete production and information system that allows printers to choose product offers, post content, manage pricing and monitor the volume and composition of orders.

“Add easy integration with MIS such as Quote and Print, workflow programs and printers, then you have the possibility for integration and automated workflows, a must for printers who want to future proof their business.”

Pent Net’s financing offers attractive rates and features.

Ludwig added, “Being based in Australia is a huge advantage for Pent Net customers, as it enables us to communicate closely with our printers for systems integration, automation and customisation.”

The XMPie and Tharstern ANZ partnership, started in February this year, is garnering joint deals between the vendors for sites with integrated systems. Tharstern and XMPie will be at PrintEx to demonstrate the integrated products on their respective stands.

The Primo/uStore Connector links a leading MIS to one of the markets best online and variable data storefronts.

Testing was completed on the latest version of Web2Print on March 31, with that version being deployed in new customer sites. Additional modifications will roll out prior to PrintEx, and will automatically be applied to all existing integrated sites.



w3p is an all-encompassing web-2-print software, which has already had success overseas. w3p also offers a fully featured MIS, allowing printers to manage their entire design to print workflow through one system.

w3p is cloud-based software for graphic designers, web designers, print brokers and printers themselves. w3p has modules to sell online with w3shop, create private web-to-print portals for end clients with w3client, and a simple back office for easy order management. In addition to being able to immediately tap into the online print market, w3p allows businesses to increase their product offering by taking advantage of Whirlwind Print’s manufacturing power and print catalogue which are already built into the system.

There are two key w3p packages: w3shop and w3client.

w3shop is an e-commerce platform, developed for the specific needs of the printing sector. It’s a full online web shop which enables printers to sell to small and medium businesses. w3shop is a fully featured shopping cart, designed to sell personalised products like flyers and business cards. Customers can upload their graphic files or edit pre-designed templates through the fully integrated TemplateCloud and Fotolia and pay online. A powerful back office processes orders efficiently.

W3client delivers brand management services to clients by creating brand specific templates for things like business cards, flyers, brochures and more. w3client takes the hard work out of web-to-print templates by automatically building them directly from Adobe InDesign. These can then be edited and ordered online directly by clients.

Client portals can be individually branded to match the client’s corporate look and feel. They can add their logo, customise the colour scheme and upload a striking image for their splash login screen.

Both available with mobile friendly, responsive client dashboard areas enabling clients to track orders, view prices, view order history, reorder and send messages from any device.

Clients can choose designs from TemplateCloud, the world’s largest collection of editable templates made by real designers. TemplateCloud has a growing library of over 80,000 design templates, complemented by inbuilt access to Fotolia, where users can browse 25 million photos. Designs are available for all popular industry sectors, are fully editable, and start at just $1.

TemplateCloud offers the additional benefit of allowing designers to sell their own templates through the platform. Templates are priced from $1-80, and designers are able to decide the price range they’d like to sell at. Every time a customer uses a template, the designer is paid a royalty. This feature has the potential to open a fantastic new revenue stream for designers by enabling them to sell their designs on a global scale.

W3p is continually updated to adapt to the evolving print marketplace. Whirlwind is continually improving w3p Flyerlink and software systems to make them easier to use, faster and more powerful. Amongst over a dozen recent upgrades, w3p has released a 3.0 Responsive edition, and nine further updates are currently being coded.

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