sspc-best-practice by fanzhongqing


									Self Service Print and Copy
Best Practice
Experience Gathering
February to March 2010
In order to gain a greater appreciation of the implementation of a managed print
system the group determined that in addition to supplier presentations, visits would
be made to named Universities cited by the suppliers.

The purpose was to discover first hand the issues and difficulties as well as the
positive aspects which other Universities had encountered when changing from
devolved printing into a streamlined system.

The group looked to visit one university named by each supplier, however
practicalities did not always allow for this. Should further information be required,
further visits can be made during the procurement period when the suppliers have
been narrowed down to 3/4 preferred suppliers.

Individual reports follow at the end of this document.

   1.   Birmingham City College
   2.   Birmingham City University
   3.   Brighton University
   4.   Oaklands College, Welwyn Garden City
   5.   Worcester College of Technology

Best Practice Summary
Through an examination of the findings from the visits several issues are highlighted:

       It is paramount that the procurement procedure is thorough and that the
        supplier chosen can meet the needs of the University of Exeter both in terms
        of hardware and software provision. Thorough testing of operating systems
        prior to roll out/implementation is essential to ensure they are suitable for
        varying needs of the University.
       Staff resistance to change was encountered by some institutions and the
        project group need to ensure that our communication plan is robust and
        minimises any negativity. The operational structure for the new MPS will also
        be important in this respect – i.e. staff/students should know who to contact in
        the event of a problem and what service level to expect.
       The educational establishments visited operated a number of different
        operational structures for their MPS. The group should suggest a range of
        solutions for the board to determine – e.g. should key operators in each area
        be responsible for liaising with the supplier of behalf of client or should the
        client contact the university department through a designated phone number
        or email.
       Another important aspect which the project group and board must consider is
        the degree of control that they wish the University to retain. Networking with
        colleagues who have experience of a change to MPS in other institutions, has
        shown that individuals within the University must have a level of expertise
        regarding the system, software etc, in order to work in partnership with the
        supplier to deliver a seamless service to the client.
       It is also important to ensure that an excellent working relationship is
        developed between key University operatives and the nominated supplier so
        that any problems in the set up phase and thereafter can be managed
        promptly and efficiently.
       Some institutions, for example Worchester encountered problems due to the
        cost of equipment or applications. As a result they did not achieve the
        equipment or the service level they required. Each of the suppliers who
    presented to the University have agreed to deliver this as a nil cost project
    with all costs being calculated through a click per copy charge. It is important
    that the supplier bears this in mind at all times and that the University of
    Exeter is not constrained from implementing a fit to purpose MPS through
    monetary shortfall.
   It is essential to ensure a robust contingency plan is in place should there be
    a loss of database/server access.
   The group need to consider which “rules” they believe the University should
    operate – e.g. default to black/white, duplex, etc. Also consider whether the
    pricing structure should encourage users to use the device best suited to the
    job, e.g. a large print job to be directed to Print Services, to ensure
    environmental and monetary savings for the University.
   The system of replacement of devices should also be considered – should the
    University operate a “natural wastage” system of replacement whereby a
    machine is replaced when it has exceeded its lifespan? – audit information
    will assist in these decisions although initial policy should be determined and
   Consider aspect of students printing from their own laptops - this would
    benefit the student experience and also could provide an additional revue
    source for the university.
Birmingham City College

Site visit 2nd March 2010 (PB, RP, NP, JB, P R-J )
Contact: Simon Tonks, ICT Director, Fordrough Campus, 0121 20401000

Institution   City College Birmingham has approximately 20,000 students and 700
              staff members. The age range is predominantly 16-19 year olds.

Contract      City College previously used Konica Minolta devices, moved over to
              Oce last autumn, after tender process.

Kit           Secure release –

              34 x Oce monochrome MFDs, mainly monochrome.

              Plus a large number of non-secure release laser printers. Non-secure
              release printers handy for classes where tutor doesn’t want students
              leaving room to visit local mfd. Jobs above a certain size and copy
              number can only be printed on the MFDs.

              ICS have supplied the card swipes, and they are having a few teething
              troubles. Simon did say how quick ICS were to respond to the issue,
              and were currently working on fixing the problem (card swipes were
              causing system to hang, and balances were not being correctly

              Machine filling carried out by identified key people in local area of the

              P-Counter occupies three virtual servers, each of which has mono
              queue option on it, to provide resilience.

Accounting    P-Counter (print queues) with AD holding print account balances (?)
              From having nothing to having a print and charging management
              application was a big jump, and Simon said how good it was to have
              something in place.

              However, with P-Counter he is now beginning to feel that it has
              limitations, and is not completely confident that it will be able to do all
              that they need in the long-term.

              P-Counter can administer printers individually.
              Card swipes via ICS
interface     Students charged 2p per print monochrome, 10p colour on MFDs,
              10p monochrome on the lasers.

              Being a tertiary college the student demographic is different, and
              students are given a credit of £30 each on their print accounts.

              Jobs deleted after 10 hours if not printed.
      A certain amount of resistance encountered with staff over move to

      Training courses widely advertised, by both ICT dept and Oce but
      poorly attended.

      Roll-out ongoing (just over halfway when we visited). Quotas have
      been set by Simon for individual departments, but no charging yet.

Oce   “Responsive and co-operative”
   1. Birmingham City University


Site visit 2nd March 2010 (PB, RP, NP, JB, P R-J )
Contact - Dean England, Head of Server Services

System employed
Canon Uniflow
How long has system been in place?
Three years
General impression
Not good.
How many student pc clusters?
Not more than a dozen. The system serves staff printing as well as student printing
What devices?
Printers, copiers, MFD’s, all generally Canon, plus cash-loaders (problems with – too
high for disabled students)
How is money added?
Cash loaders and online, with higher proportion via cash as minimum charge via
online. Dean comments that the five minute delay between adding money to account
and it appearing in account is not ideal.
Who administers them/support on them (printers and cash machines)
Partly university staff, partly canon, who have onsite engineer.
Files that it can’t cope with?
As per all print systems -PDF’s, Powerpoint7plus can’t do duplex charging correctly –
resulting in fiddly method of reclaiming money from Canon.
Support –
Dean commented that Canon’s on-site engineer is very conscientious
How much control is retained?
Dean’s opinion – Generally not enough.
What about finances – does it generate money?
Canon receive around 20% of click money
If you were doing it all over again what would you do?
Not use Canon Uniflow. Birmingham City have experienced two major outages of
print system. In each instance for majority of a week - one of these being end of term
course hand-in times, with obvious stress felt by all.
Canon Uniflow, when required, did not have facility to bypass print charging in event
of loss of database/ server access.
Dean commented tha the felt Canon were making up Uniflow as they went along,
partly as a result of not actually writing the software themselves – they are part by
part buying it from another firm, NT-ware.
3. Brighton University


Contact: Graham Davies

How long has system been in place?
7 - 8 years
General impression
How many student pc clusters?
Graham not sure, but feeling gained was that it was considerable, in various satellite
Students can also access print service via own laptops if on campus/connected to
university network. Drivers and administration software downloadable, packages put
together by Brighton.
What devices?
HP printers, some copiers, plus cash machines. Effectively use PCs as print release
How is money added?
Online or via cash machine (the latter can take coins or notes)
Who administers them/support on them (printers and cash machines)
Brighton University
Files that it can’t cope with?
Occasional PDF’s. They use PCL6 for printing, though some suggestion that pcl5
more reliable.
Support –
From ITS (ICS?), who are good but sometimes ‘want things on a plate’ when it
comes to problems experienced by Brighton University i.e. dependant on a certain
level of expertise on site.
How much control is retained?
High level of control retained
What about finances – does it generate money?
Yes, Pharos Uniprint is something acquired by licence, with proceeds retained by
University and used to replace equipment and to pay for consumables.
If you were doing it all over again what would you do?
Brighton are content with Uniprint, and are actively developing their implementation
of it.
Uniprint features ‘offline’ facility – students can print up to £5 worth of printing even if
system down – when system returns it synchs accounts taking ‘loaned’ amount into
        4. Oaklands College, Welwyn Garden City


Site visit 22nd February 2010 (PB and NP)
Contact: Patrick Lowe - Head of Reprographic Services

Institution   Oaklands College, in Welwyn Garden City, has approx. 15,000
              full-time and part-time students, and around 700 staff.
Contract      Alto Digital have had an involvement with Oaklands for over 20 years,
              with some form of managed print system being in place for around 12
Kit           There are around 15 student clusters, each generally having one laser
              printer in room and one MFD nearby. Only the MFD’s are secure

              Secure release –
              x monochrome Kyocera 1650 (16 ppm)
              x colour Kyocera C4035-e (40ppm, A3 option)

              The swipe machines attached to MFD’s to enable secure release
              printing, are expensive – around £900 per unit.

              Patrick commented that whilst Kyocera’s might not be as robust as e.g.
              Ricoh devices, they are very cheap to run, are generally reliable, and
              Kyocera have excellent environmental credentials.

              In designated print room there are heavy duty Ricoh devices, capable
              of up to 130ppm.

              Plus various laser devices, mainly HP, not on secure release. No click
              charge due on lasers.

              Secure release printing to MFD’s is 5p mono, 10p colour.
              Printing to laser devices is 10p mono, 60p colour
              This pricing is a deliberate policy to push people towards MFD’s.

              Patrick is employing a ‘natural wastage’ policy regarding old printers –
              the devices are removed from the maintenance contract and not
              generally replaced once they reach the end of their lives.

              Both the above strategies have helped counter hostility towards
              managed print system. Altodigital’s attitude has also helped with this –
              they allow the institution to decide how best to manage things, without
              pushing anything in any given direction.
Accounting    P-Counter (Altman technologies)
              P-Counter had been something that Oaklands had employed on a
              limited scale before more general managed printing.

              Given that Oaklands has around four separate sites, dotted around
              Welwyn and St Albans, with students generally exclusive to one site,
              there have always been separate print servers, each of which has to
              have it’s own P-Counter server licence

              (Patrick – “As far as I know, P-Counter issue a license to use their
              software on the actual windows print server at the local point of use.
              We have 4 servers, one on each main campus, therefore we had to
              buy 4 licenses.
              You would need to check with Alto/Altman-IT on exactly how this would
              work in your situation. I can only say on what happened with us. Also,
              we only went with P-Counter as we already had it installed in a smaller
              usage, therefore it seemed logical to develop it rather than starting
              again. If you haven't got anything set-up it might not be the best
              software for you.”)

              P-Counter can be configured to do many things (e.g. can restrict print
              queue submissions to files below certain size), and Patrick said he’d
              not explored fully it’s capabilities, but would be attending course put on
              by Altman to gain more knowledge of its potential.

              Note: P-Counter employs ‘flat database’ rather than relational
              database and is probably not the best option for larger scale

User          The secure-release interface on the MFD’s is very streamlined, linking
interface     in with the AD directory and the P-Counter server.

              Users queue print jobs, swipe card, and any jobs in print queue under
              their name are printed. This means that if the user queues a file and
              then realises they do not require printing of that file, they have to delete
              file from print queue via PC rather than on MFD/print interface. This
              may be due to limitations placed by basic display properties of swipe
              machines. Students did not seem to have a problem with the operation
              of the secure release.

              Students designate colour or monochrome printing at point of queuing.
              Any print job queued for colour but having less than 5% colour will
              default to mono charging.

              For adding money to their print accounts, students pay cash at
              reception desk; to be replaced with cash machines in time.

              Users can also scan to email (no charge), being able to send
              document to any email address in AD directory (and presumably could
              input via MFD panel any outside email addresses).

              Students are each credited with £10 per term, from tuition fee income.

Altodigital   Alto-Digital are a supplier and not a specified machine company.
              Consequently, there is the benefit of supplying different makes of
              machine to suit differing needs, as well, as budgets. Oaklands College
              have been a customer of Alto-Digital for the past 13 years and Patrick
              Lowe speaks extremely highly of them.

              Patrick has had many years experience of various print system
              suppliers, and his view was that ‘Alto’ were ‘very good’ – reliable,
              flexible, efficient and very easy to work with.

              An example is installation of new devices – ‘usually done in a couple of
              days’, contrasting with Xerox, when same would take ‘around a month’
              (Ed Haworth, Worcester College).

              Altodigital visit once a fortnight, and are ‘always available’

Additional notes – Nigel Philips

      The Reprographic Services have responsibility for all laser printers and MFD

      Patrick was extremely complimentary of the Alto-Digital Audit, expressing that
       he still uses the information it contains.

      Each machine has an assigned Key Operator, who also acts as liaison
       between the user and Alto-Digital.

      Regarding staff and student printing and copying; the only difference seemed
       to be the allowance differential, i.e. student printing counts downwards,
       whereas staff printing counts upwards.

Alto-Digital gave an excellent presentation, when they came to speak with us at the
University of Exeter. After visiting Oaklands College I found nothing to dissuade the
original view. However, I would have some hesitation regarding Kyrocia equipment,
although cheaper than Ricoh, I don’t know if they would be robust enough for an
institution of our size? Also, P-Counter appears fine when running in a small set-up
but I would have reservations over a larger area.
6. Worcester College of Technology

Site visit 16th February 2010 (PB, RP and NP)
Contact: Ed Haworth, WCT Network Services.

Institution   Worcester College of Technology has approx. 10,000 full-time
              students, plus some part-time, and around 700 staff.

Contract      Worcester College renewed contract in Autumn last year, following a
              previous contract of 5 years.

Kit           Secure release –
              16 x monochrome mfps (Xerox 56 series)
              5 x colour mfps (Xerox 73 series)
              10 x small-format monochrome mfps (Xerox 4118’s)

              Plus 81 non-secure release laser printers.

              All the MFDs are duplex as default.

              The 4118’s are in the student clusters, though students can print to any
              accessible machine. 4118s noted as being very slow.

Accounting    Equitrac Express
              Ed expressed dissatisfaction at how difficult it was to work with
              Equitrac Express ( . . . “it’s very ‘obscure’” . . .) as an IT support person
              when it came to customising things for better working (whilst Equitrac
              Express performs ‘ok’ it seems to have idiosyncrasies and limitations).
              Not only does it seem to be written in a way to deter user development,
              but in addition Equitrac regard any intervention in the workings as
              warranting any support agreements invalid.

              Equitrac Express does not allow print jobs to be manipulated to any
              great degree. In the event of a hardware failure to device there is no
              reporting, and no ability to confirm whether or not a job was printed. Ed
              contrasted this with Pharos Uniprint, where print jobs can easily be
              manoeuvred (as we saw at Plymouth University).

              Equitrac/Xerox MFD’s handle print jobs fairly well, though sometimes
              gets page counts wrong, in particular there are problems with
              colour/monochrome job differentiation, resulting in highly wayward
              page counts.

              Ed Haworth re: Equitrac .....“We have developed a sharepoint webpart
              for our study centre staff to administer lockouts/password resets and
              print credit for the users.
              The Equitrac supported method of updating data is via their EQCMD
              utility; I would strongly recommend you fully test this application to
              understand it’s limitations before putting serious consideration into an
              Equitrac powered solution. From what I’ve read of the documentation
              it is designed around CSV import/export of data and produces a
              separate log file for each CSV it processes; where as we have spent
              the past 5 years or so making our systems react instantly to account

User          The secure-release interface on the MFD’s is inefficient, and with slow
interface     logout time – not ideal in high usage student PC clusters.

              The machines also have set up that enables any swiped card to be
              linked to your account – designed so that students don’t have to wait
              for a card to be ‘activated’ before it can be used. Downside is that
              swipes are unreliable, fail to read magstripe properly, then it is all too
              easy to link your account with spurious magstripe number. Users can
              also login via username and password.

              For adding money to their print accounts, students pay cash at
              reception desk; Worcester College could not afford the web-based
              solution, nor the cash machines.

Xerox         Ed Haworth expressed the opinion that if it had been up to him, he
              wouldn’t have opted to renew the Xerox contract – as he expressed in
              email afterwards “Hopefully I haven’t scared you off Xerox too much
              with our frustrations; but I see no advantage in sugar coating some of
              the challenges and frustrations we have been presented with!”

              That said, he said that Xerox were ‘okay to deal with’, and that some of
              the problems he experienced, Equitrac notwithstanding, were due to
              the budgetary limitations imposed – with more resources they would
              have gotten a system that behaved better, was more adaptable, and
              Xerox would have the contractual obligations to develop proper
              solutions rather than Worcester having to live with work-rounds.

              He did say that when it came to installing a new MFD it took Xerox
              around a month to process the paperwork and set up the device.

Additional notes

“While the solution we have deployed for MFDs (Equitrac Express) is not as flexible
as the previous software solution (Pharos’ Uniprint), it is working for us for the most
The solution that has been implemented here has been done for converged staff and
student access, one of the requirements we had was implementation of cost
codes/cross charging; it turns out that this functionality is mutually exclusive with
stopping a user’s copy job when they exceed their credit (a user could exceed their
credit, then copy as much as they like going into debt, however subsequent logins
would be denied).” Ed Haworth

The previous software installed had been Pharos-Uniprint and according to Ed
Haworth, was more ‘specific’ and easier to use than the present Equitrac. When
asked if he prefered Pharos to Equitrac he replied: ‘definitely’.

Nigel Philips –
It was interesting to view a site which hosted Xerox. However, I was concerned that
although, Oaklands College had been given as a reference site, they didn’t fully
come across, as recommending Xerox to us.
Having since spoken to a Xerox representative, it appears that there was apportioned
a certain sum of money, which Xerox had to work to.

A definite comparison had been drawn between Equitrac and Pharos-Uniprint.
Coming from a person with a strong IT background, it would appear that Pharos was
definitely the better system.

Regarding the Print Room equipment: This was the same equipment we had been
looking at to replace in our own Print Services. We were able to examine the output,
which lived up to expectation. However, the Print Room manager expressed that she
would have preferred the Konica-Minolta digital press, if she had been given the

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