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Scenario: The small business

Northwoods Inc. is a small twelve-person Engineering and Architect Drafting office serving the local area. Their network consists of a mix of Windows 7 and 8 workstations connected on a Workgroup based network. Wireless network access is also provided to employees with laptops. Most staff work on a project basis and you need to track use by project code and sub-project. Some staff work on a freelance basis and management want to track and charge for color printer use on a monthly basis.

Requirements

  1. The system must be easy to set up and maintain as there is no full-time IT staff.

  2. The system must work in a Windows workgroup environment.

  3. Staff are to have unlimited access (i.e. no budgets).

  4. Staff need to allocate their printing to projects and cost centers so printing and drafting costs can be passed back onto the clients (chargeback).

  5. Managers need access to view real-time reports.

  6. Data should be able to be exported to Excel on a monthly basis for billing.

Implementation

  • Initial installation

    One system on the network needs to be allocated the task of hosting the printer and the PaperCut NG application. Users will print via this system so it needs to be left on most for most of the time. An existing file server is ideal, however, someone's desktop system will also suffice (must be left on at all times).

  • Requirement 1

    PaperCut NG is well known for its ease-of-use. It is a self-maintaining system with a simple to use web-based interface. Apart from the initial set up, and the recommendation to incorporate the application's data into a backup procedure, no further technical administration and support is required.

  • Requirement 2

    Workgroup environments are common on small networks. They differ from a domain environment in that they are not centrally authenticated via a server. Users can use a system that automatically logs in as "a user" or maybe they just log in locally on their workstations. For more information on the ways in which PaperCut NG can be installed in a workgroup environment, see Running in a Workgroup environment.

  • Requirement 3

    You can set up all users as "unrestricted". In this mode, users can start of with a zero balance and count down as they print. Their balance indicates their printing value to date.

  • Requirement 4

    You can create shared accounts to represent the current projects with sub-accounts used to represent areas under these projects (sub-projects). You can enable the client popup software on user accounts forcing users to allocate printing to the project/client. In addition, the advanced client popup allows premiums to be charged for special printing such as reproduction of expensive mylar film.

    Selected staff can run monthly or quarterly invoice reports at any time to quickly determine printing associated with a given client/project. For more information on shared accounts and reporting, see Shared accounts.

  • Requirement 5

    PaperCut NG records data in real-time. Full print logs and reports are available at any time and can be accessed using a standard web browser. The manager can log in to the Admin web interface and access the reports at any time.

  • Requirement 6

    You can export all reports and activity lists to Microsoft Excel. To access the Excel data, click the small Excel icon located next to the report name, or the icon at the bottom of the print log.


Comments

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