Collection Software Deployment
Deploying MPS collection software should be easy, yet many dealerships beginning new MPS programs struggle with this process. With so many options available, why don’t more businesses get involved?
Earlier posts explored who should be included on the deployment staff, and identified the most likely prospects for software installation. Now, let’s tackle the activity itself – Deploying the collection software.
Software Providers’ Deployment Options
Every print management software purveyor offers choices for deploying or installing the software to gather device information. At Print Tracker, we too offer many ways and the most commonly used are listed below:
- Download from the internet or cloud
- Download from a dealer accessed / controlled web application
- Download from a ‘Custom Deployment Link’
- Download from a USB key
- Download from an email sent to the customer
- Install from a “One–Click” Deployment email
- ‘Run’ from a USB thumb-drive (for “no install” assessments)
- ‘Run’ from a “One–Click, Run–Once” application (for “no install” assessments)
- Advanced deployment – Vender deployment assistance
NOTE – Check with your software provider to learn all deployment options available and costs associated with each of their offerings.
Deploying collection software is easy. In most cases, installing the software on a workstation rather than a server can be completed in about 3-5 minutes. Workstations that remain “on” most of the day, or during business hour are ideal. Avoid putting the software on a machine that is in a back room that may only get turned on “every-third-Thursday-of-the-month”. When the machine where the software is installed remains operational, the application will work just fine.
A collection software note – MPS software runs as a service in the background and should not affect the operation of computing or printing tasks. When the software gathers information, network traffic is quite minimal, usually in the 80K – 120K range. Check your provider’s specifications for your traffic conversations.
Involving the customer or prospect’s IT staff for deployment is generally not needed. Remember, we are talking a 3-5 minute process here. IT assistance should be reserved for specific situations such as when security challenges are to be overcome, the discovery of a wider fleet array is involved, installation must be done on a server (usually at the customer’s request), or when rules based or follow me printing is required.
Downloading from the cloud / Run from a dealer accessed or controlled web application
Software providers offer easily accessible download points from internet websites. These may include download links from the provider’s own site or from sites with controlled access. Print Tracker and others can work with dealers for “branded” or ‘Custom Deployment’ solutions. Software download links as well as “How To” instruction can be embedded on the dealer’s website.
To deploy the data collection software, simply click the installation link provided and follow the prompts.
Download from a USB key / ‘Run’ from a USB thumb-drive (for assessment – no install is completed)
USB key or thumb drive deployment is one of the easiest ways to get the collection software to the customer. Most software can be loaded on keys for both download and assessment capability.
USB keys can be used when site assessments are conducted to gather quick “snapshots” of current meter values. The assessor will come back at a later date to get another reading, returning to the office to compare results.
Often the same key can be used for both purposes, including all required credentials for successful engagements. To deploy using a USB key, insert the loaded and prepared key into a USB port, and follow the prompts.
Recently, providers have enhanced deployment capabilities to incorporate the emailing of links and instructions. Emails can easily be directed to the customer or prospect for self download. Emails can include:
- A basic link with download instructions.
- A link for custom deployment requiring little more than entry of a business name and contact information.
- A link that when activated, offers “One–Click” Deployment. This option registers the software, searches for and finds devices and then sending reports automatically, requiring nothing from the customer.
Emailing also can include the ability for customers to click a link for a “One–Click, Run–Once” application to do limited prospect assessment. This is a great way to gather a snapshot of meters without software installation.
To deploy using the email method, send a prepared email to the customer, direct them to click the link and include instructions if desired.
Advanced deployment … Provider deployment assistance
Many providers offer deployment assistance for difficult or challenging installations. Complex set ups may include deployments in the educational, financial or healthcare fields. Installations in these venues may require on-site IT involvement for:
- Multiple IP range searches
- Security concerns to overcome
- Devices that may be scattered, inaccessible or locally connected
- Server deployment at the request of the customer
In the above cases, it may be desirable to complete site surveys to account for all machines that will be monitored. Your provider will have details on how to facilitate deployment assistance.
… In Summary
Most people can be taught to install the data collection agent or software by watching short 15 minute training videos or participating in deployment webinars. With the wide array of deployment options available today, there should be no reason to keep dealers from installing the collection software.
Most installations are simple and should only take 3-5 minutes to complete.
Providers should also be available to assist when given notice that a customer needs guidance. Print Tracker support staff routinely conference with our dealers’ customers to address concerns and guide them through their deployment engagements. Check with your provider to see how they can assist in your deployment and installation efforts.
Software providers will have details on what options are available and will define associated costs for their specific offering. Each process will vary by provider and not all alternatives may be available from your provider. Be sure to check which are included with the particular software package in which the dealership has invested.
The right provider can make the difference in a dealership’s deployment endeavors. Be sure to consult with your software supplier to ensure they can fulfill the needs of your dealership or business.