You don’t get to a position like Marta Garcia’s by saying no. Or do you…?
That position is the University of Miami’s Director of IT and Computer Operations as well as the school’s successful, revenue-generating print shop.
So perhaps Garcia and her team didn’t exactly get where they are by saying “no,” but it was a big fac- tor in starting them on a path toward a better solu- tion…one that includes a partnership with RSA.
Getting past “no”
“In the past, we were getting requests for printing that we couldn’t provide because we were very limited by our equipment,” explains Garcia. And she had to say “no” as a result…
“’Can you print manuals,’ they would ask,” explains Garcia. “No, was our response.”
“’Can you give me a PDF?’ No.”
“’Can you give me better quality?’ No.” “’Can you give me ID cards?’ No.”
“’Can you give me another format? Other paper?’ No and no.”
What could the department say “yes” to? Only a limited selection of jobs because of severely limited equipment. The previous solution included a series of different vendors, a Continuous Feed and a num- ber of impact printers, and a very restrictive job for- mat that forced mainframe data into a single for- mat.
This, in turn, restricted customers to the internal administrative side of the house—such as the Bursar’s, Payroll, Financial Aid, and Controller’s offices and jobs to perform such tasks as end of the month reports, payroll, and financial aid reports. The department was busy at various times during the period of May through September as the University closed its books and began preparing for registration. But throughout, the printers sat idle during the morning, running only from 7:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. the following day.
The implementation was a total success. From where we were to where we are now is like night and day.
That all began to change when a letter arrived stating that their printer vendor would no longer support the University’s Continuous Feed printer.
For Garcia and her department, it presented an opportunity to search for another solution—one that would let them say “yes” to many of the jobs that previously been outsourced out of necessity.
“I began a six-month search and analyzed every printer and solution on the market,” recalls Garcia. The extensive evaluation led Garcia to purchase two production printers to replace both the Continuous Feed printer and impact printers.
With the hardware end of the equation solved, Garcia turned toward software…and she consulted some experts. “Considering the complexity of the data that drove many of our jobs, they highly recommended RSA,” says Garcia.
Passed with flying colors
It didn’t take long for RSA and every other vendor being considered to realize that in a University set- ting, the next test is never very far away.
Garcia provided RSA with a tape containing the type of jobs that accounted for the bulk of the work for the department. The rules…do a conversion and print the output without any programming changes to the job or to the original data.
The result? “RSA was able to do it immediately and without hesitation,” according to Garcia. And M.I.S. Print and QDirect took their place in the print shop. M.I.S. Print converts mainframe LCDS data streams to PostScript and PDF, to print legacy jobs on network production printers, allowing for reprints and archival. QDirect is a comprehensive print job manager used to control workflow, route jobs, and manage print destinations across the entire enterprise.
QDirect consolidates print from data centers, departments, and desktops to a single point and distributes the output to production, workgroup, desktop printers, as well as other destinations. Essentially, QDirect can manage a job’s workflow—no matter where it originates or where it must ultimately end up.
Garcia’s search was over…and the days of turning away the University’s internal customers and their job requests were soon to follow. But first came the implementation process. Not an easy proposition given that the process had to account for jobs that were previously printed on both the continuous feed and impact printers. And it was handled with ease according to Garcia.
“Chris Plate from RSA laid out the phases of implementation up front and every day he emailed with what had been accomplished. Craig Duncan from RSA worked on migrating, enhancing, and automating the form printing process. Several programs were written to automate continuous numbering on the forms, transfer purchase orders and transcripts to other printers, and provide bulk mailing discounts, bar code mailing addresses, and variable data printing. The implementation was a total success,” recalls Garcia. “From where we were to where we are now is like night and day.” And day brought light at the end of the financial tunnel… and even brighter possibilities.
Turning potential into major accomplishments
The most immediate impact was relief from the costs of maintaining the old impact printers. But that was only the beginning. The greater impact came by adding the capabilities to fulfill a wider variety of jobs and bring much more of the outsourced work back in-house.
Business and Finance forms were the first of the outsourced jobs that migrated to the University’s new printing solution, saving the Univer- sity of Miami approximately $75,000. Users realized an immediate savings through the Information Technology Computer Operations de- partment’s new found ability to change forms on demand without the use of pre-printed forms. Waste was drastically reduced and soon, other departments joined to save money as well. “Print on Demand has shifted the mentally to print in-house rather than to outsource.” says Garcia. Alumni donation letters, pledge cards, and ID cards were all redesigned and enhanced thanks to the RSA solution. The per- sonalized letters were much more professional in appearance and resulted in higher response rates and more donations.
The RSA solution also allowed other job requests that used to be met with a reluctant “no” to instead earn an enthusiastic “sure, we can do that.” Manuals, pamphlets and class schedules that used to be outsourced are now being printed in house. Transcripts with form overlays and digitized signatures are now transferred within seconds to the Registrar’s office printer. An average of 500 transcripts are sent to the Registrar’s office printer daily with peak periods calling for over 1, 500 transcripts. As a result, the Registrar’s office eliminated the commu- nications controller that supported the older technology printer and is now providing the students with a faster turn around service and press-like print quality.
The payroll check printing process was much improved when the checks were migrated from the impact printers to the University’s new printing solution. In doing so, the checks became easier to produce and were enhanced in a number of ways. Previously, payroll checks were printed on an impact printer, trimmed, decollated, bursted, and couriered to the Bursar’s office where they were signed by a machine— which often jammed.
The new solution brought new levels of security and efficiency to this process. Checks are now printed on the production printer, which adds a watermark and an encrypted digital signature that can only be printed with a special key code, adding security while removing time and extraneous equipment such as the decollater, burster, and signing machine from the process.
Faculty contracts used to be printed on the impact printer on a four-part form. The fourth copy was not legible and it took the programmer numerous hours to format the data. Today, faculty contracts are entered online and users have the option to print the contracts on NCR forms at their desktop printer or send them to the new printers. These contracts are printed with the digitized University of Miami seal and signature. Changes can be made on demand and the file is saved at their workstation as well as backed up by the enterprise backup solution for easy reprints.
RSA makes the grade
With the help of M.I.S. Print, QDirect, and a team of dedicated personnel, Garcia and her team have gone from saying “no” to singing the praises of RSA. “I found that they are very professional and have an outstanding team. I’ve never seen such a knowledgeable group. I am so satisfied.” And her praise extends beyond RSA’s people to the solution they helped put in place. “The new solution has brought us new revenue. And our customers are extremely satisfied…all while they are paying less for printing.” Who could say “no” to that?