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  Category: Articles » Technology » Computers » Article

Managing a Worldwide Print Infrastructure from a Single Workstation in a Central Location

By Rick Ferguson

Company – This US based company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of automotive parts and sub-assemblies in the world. Their customers include: BMW, Daimler-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Rover, Toyota and Volkswagen. They are also a major supplier to the North American original equipment and replacement automotive battery markets. (Customers include: AutoZone, Carport, Caterpillar, Daimler-Chrysler, Diamond-Star, Ford, Honda, Interstate Battery System of America, John Deere, Mazda, Nissan, Price/Costco, Toyota and Wal-Mart.)

Business Problem – Due to various application restrictions and growth by acquisition, many different UNIX types are installed and running in the organization. The customer has applications running on Data General, HP-UX, SCO UNIX, IBM AIX, and Sun Solaris. Each one of these different operating systems had its own print spooler and handles printer device setup and print queue management with it's own flavor of print spooler administration tools (based on the lp print utility that was developed over 35 years ago). These tools lack intuitiveness and are not robust. This resulted in confusion and complexity.

The customer wanted to be more responsive to remote users and IT staff. Due to workloads, higher priority issues, and the amount of requests received by central IT help desk staff, unnecessary customer delays were experienced with print queue and device setup and management around the world. These print-related service requests accounted for approximately 40% of all calls into the help desk area.
In addition to the challenges the customer faced with their print infrastructure management, regional IT managers requested the ability to setup and manage their own print queues and devices around the world. Thus, worldwide print management needed to be enhanced and standardized and a consistent, common print management system, across all platforms, was essential so IT managers could set up their own print queues without having to be trained on multiple UNIX systems' tools. The common print management system would also permit the centralization of these print related help desk functions.

Technical Solution – The first step was to install OM Plus so it could be tested against other competitive printing and print spool management solutions. After rigorous testing, the customer determined that the Plus Technologies print spooler solution had proven to be the best.

The next step in the implementation of this solution required pilot testing on their Oracle Financials systems. Upon the successful completion of the pilot on a single server platform, OM Plus was rolled out to over 60 servers. This enterprise-wide rollout allows seamless print queue setup, and printing operation and troubleshooting for disparate UNIX systems, applications, and users. Now users (i.e. regional IT staff) and central IT staff were empowered and more productive when it came to managing their worldwide print infrastructure.

The last step in the implementation process was to centralize the print infrastructure help desk support function down to a single workstation in the corporate data center. What used to take up to 40% of the help desk's resources (print queue setup and management around the world) has been reduced to a single staff person supporting over 2,000 printers on three continents around the world

Implementation – On site services including installation, system configuration, testing and user training were delivered by service engineers from Plus Technologies. In this case, the implementation was completed and in production within two to three weeks of the order. As is the case with many implementations of our print spooler products, the customer requirements for handling of the print jobs and the processes associated with managing the print jobs evolved during the implementation. Due to the extremely flexible nature of OM Plus' configurability, our service engineers were able to address additional print job management challenges quickly.

Plus Technologies Case Studies- The Plus Technologies case study series includes real examples of how companies use Advanced Document Delivery and Print Spooling Solutions to streamline operations, reduce cost and/or add functionality to existing business processes. For more information on these case studies, contact Plus Technologies.
About the Author
Plus Technologies has been streamlining document driven business processes with print spooler output management software solutions since 1995. They have thousands of customers in over 35 countries around the world.

Phone – 877-899-7587-Toll Free 937-384-0444-Outside the USA


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