how many of you are charging if your customer does not sign up for automicatic meter reads? Like FM Audit or Print Audit to get meter reads? We are discussing charging $5 per month if we have to manual meter reads.
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That idea has merit certainly but then how would you handle circumstances when the client changes computers, replaces hard drives or any of the numerous other user-driven causes of reporting errors? It becomes an administrative nightmare trying to keep up with compliance and really impacts the original benefit.
The best system we have is the Canon ImageWare Remote which no matter where the device is placed on the network. This works as long as the necessary ports are open. Which we have seen them to be open in all but the most secure networks,
The other systems we use, UniFLOW, PrintFleet, ImageWARE EMC all work OK being the customer's firewall, but require us to setup a subnet or sometimes specific IP Addresses for these to get accurate meter reads. The problem is that networks are very rarely static. Companies are always changing them, moving devices, adding subnets, or reconfiguring schema. All of these can hinder the internal meter read collection devices from accurately getting meter reads. At least they require reconfiguring these devices so they can at least for the immediate future once again get accurate meter reads for the fleet.
Charging customers could be a way of getting their attention and having THEM either be willing to dedicate resources to keep these systems configured correctly, or at least being responsive to the dealership's request to allow us to reconfigure the devices.
But this is why we REALLY like the Canon ImageWARE remote which is embedded in each of the Canon MFDs and allows each of them to report their own meter reads no matter where they are on the network. Moving them, or reconfiguring them has no adverse effect on them reporting their own meter reads.
I Don't understand why anyone would use multiple sources to gather Metering Information.
Information between this service and that service can vary greatly. Why not Pick one, stick with it and standardize your systems.
If your customer is constantly changing their network causing all sorts of problems with remote metering, wouldn't that be an opportunity to try to manage and manage their IT instead of a patchwork of software to get one simple goal?
When you have a one size fits all, take it or leave it solution you will often get a "no thank you" response from your more secure customers (Finance, Health Care, Etc.).
Customers like options! Hell, I like options! Our first choice for automating meter reads is Canon's ImageWARE Remote (for the reasons described above), Our second choice is PrintFleet, the DCA software can be configured for subnets to be scanned, and it automatically reports the meter reads to a Server in the cloud. But for that same reason, automatically reporting information about THEIR network to a server outside of their network, the answer for our security conscious customers is "NO". If you only have one offering you are done.
For me, our next choice depends on whether or not the customer already has a UniFLOW server (running Secure Printing, Follow me printing, Secure Mobile Printing, Statistics, Allocation, charge back) then we use UniFLOW for meter reads. The Customer gets the report and after review forward it to us. If they don't have UniFLOW we offer ImageWARE EMC because it will do basically the same thing, but it is free software. Options are good, for both customers and vendors!
With enough force you can get a square peg to fit into a round hole, but no one will ever think that it is a good fit!
That's my $0.02