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HP Targets Document Automation With Exstream Buy

HP announced it has acquired Exstream Software, a leading provider of enterprise software that helps companies personalize mass mailings and other business documents.

Financial details were not disclosed. Exstream, based in Lexington, Kentucky, has more than 300 employees.

Exstream's two main product lines, Dialogue and Dialogue Live, are designed for creating documents offline and online, respectively.

The company has customers in areas such as as financial services, insurance, health care, telecommunications and government.

David Murphy, a senior vice president for Web services in HP's imaging and printing group, said the Exstream buy will help HP expand into new areas and doesn't overlap with any of the computer giant's existing lines.

"This is a company that over the last 10 years has taken a leadership position in document automation," Murphy told InternetNews.com.

"It's already a high-growth business, and we're committed to scaling Exstream's operation and product capabilities," he added.

According to Murphy, Exstream lets HP talk more directly to business customers. He noted that Exstream's customer base serves about 40 percent of the Fortune 1000.

Forrester analyst Craig Le Clair said Exstream moves HP closer to the customer involved in authoring and creating print and online content. "It moves HP higher up the value chain, where now they are more about infrastructure," Le Clair told InternetNews.com.

"Instead of talking to IT folks, now they'll also be talking to, for example, the chief marketing officer and other lines of business managers who want to personalize their customer communications," he added.

Le Clair agreed that Exstream is a leader in the document automation field, what he calls document output management, but he said the addition of HP's resources promises to help it reach new heights.

"You now have HP's global sales force and a hefty R&D budget to draw on," he said.

"From HP's point of view, they get more intellectual property to add to their hardware, which is important when you're trying to fight off commoditization," Le Clair added.

Outside of certain administrative and clerical areas, Murphy said no layoffs were planned for the key personnel at 10-year-old Exstream, currently headed by CEO Richard Troksa.