MIS Considerations for Higher-Ed In-plants
At one session during the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP+) conference, three managers discussed their MIS and Web-to-print (W2P) systems. All three repeated the same vital message: Get IT involved early.
“If it doesn’t pass their requirements, it won’t work,” warned Laura Lockett (California State University, Sacramento). Her in-plant uses Print Shop Pro from edu Business Solutions. She brought an IT person to interviews she did with nine software companies to ensure compatibility. She liked the system’s modularity. Cloud hosted, it took a year to implement, she said, due mostly to IT coordination issues.
Donna Horbelt (University of California - Davis) replaced a 13-year-old Avanti Classic MIS, which lacked inventory and reporting modules, with Avanti Slingshot. Now price estimates are more uniform, and staff can quickly see each job’s status when customers ask. Slingshot integrates with the in-plant’s WebCRD W2P system from Rochester Software Associates. Once setup is complete in the coming months, she will get just one report for both. Horbelt said her university’s IT department would not allow the system to be hosted on the cloud.
Dylan Turner (Northern Arizona University), whose shop uses EFI PrintSmith Vision along with MarketDirect StoreFront, listed key considerations when looking at MIS: shop needs; turnkey versus customized; hosting location; vendor support; implementation timeline; add-on modules; support for existing systems (e.g., single sign-on); capabilities like templating, job tracking, remote access and reporting; and the system’s approach to pricing versus your pricing methods. He praised his systems for their easy access to reports.
“The reporting function is fantastic in any of these systems,” he said.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.