Although less well known than some other software houses, independent software vendor Business I.T. Systems (BITS) has a strong portfolio of print management and MPS solutions
Established in 1990, the company initially had a firm foothold within the education sector, providing hardware and software solutions to schools, including printers, projectors and complementary solutions designed to integrate with the widely used SIMS school management system.
With a heritage in developing bespoke business solutions, BITS soon shifted its focus towards printing and printer management, developing a range of products that organisations across the world now use to audit, monitor and manage their print devices.
BITS sells these solutions through the distribution and reseller channels. As Director Bryan Stone points out, it also works closely with the major OEMs.
“We have a relationship with all the major manufacturers, developing bespoke embedded solutions for them to bring to market. Our extensive experience of embedded platforms and print technologies means that we can ensure our solutions are optimised to get the maximum from each vendor’s device,” he said.
As an example, Stone cites a recent bespoke application for DSales, the distributor of Develop MFPs, which was launched at the firm’s open day in June.
“About 12 months ago we developed a new product called Document Management Server Assistant (DMSA) for SIMS, and launched this to work with both Sharp and Brother devices. DSales approached us about developing it for the Develop platform, which we did, and it was officially launched to DSales channel partners at the recent open day,” he said.
DMSA for SIMS software enables documents to be batch scanned in a few simple steps and was originally designed to help administrative staff quickly and easily scan piles of paperwork and file the resulting electronic documents within the SIMS school management system.
“Although SIMS provides the ability to upload scanned documents to a student profile, each document has to be added individually, which can be time-consuming and tedious. With DMS Assistant, we’ve streamlined the process; multiple documents, including student records and staff information, can be scanned and stored directly against a record in SIMS without having to waste time scanning individual documents,” explained Stone.
“This solution has been hugely successful for us. And it is particularly relevant with the advent of GDPR. It is helping schools meet the security, auditing and portability requirements of the new legislation.”
In addition to custom solutions, BITS has a comprehensive suite of standard products, including its flagship MPS solution, the OneStop MPS Portal.
Launched ten years ago, this tool automatically collects meter readings from any networked printer or MFP and orders consumables for pro-active supplies replenishment. It can also be set up to monitor status and consumable levels for all network devices to aid a pro-active response to any problems that might occur.
OneStop MPS Portal uses standard network protocols, such as SNMP for device readings and HTTPS for the secure uploading of results, and can export all data in CSV or XML formats for importing seamlessly into most back-office systems.
“We developed this solution as we recognised that one of the biggest challenges for dealers delivering MPS was to collect and record all of the information available from the devices, such as meter readings, how much toner is left, faults or problems, in order to keep customers’ fleets up and running,” explained Stone.
While OEMs have their own proprietary MPS solutions, Stone points out that these are often designed to work only with their own machines. “Different manufacturers all have very different tools to perform this task, each requiring their own configurations and producing reports in different formats. OneStop MPSPortal has been designed to work across a wide range of devices, covering all manufacturers, providing everything an MPS provider needs in one easy to use tool,” he said.
Ease of use extends to the licensing agreement, which is based on the number of machines monitored. This, says Stone, makes the solution accessible to everyone from SMEs to large enterprises. “It can also be adapted easily to suit changing requirements, so dealers can be confident that it will always be suitable regardless of customer size or location,” he explained.
Other standard solutions offered by BITS include the OneStop MPSKey, a USB device that provides a snapshot of all devices on a network; PrintRelease, an embedded secure print solution; and Metis, a software tool for Sharp machines designed to report meter click information collected automatically from the email server or entered manually.
For Stone, it is not just the company’s product range that sets BITS apart from the competition, but also its ability to meet customers’ individual and evolving needs.
“For us, customer satisfaction is the key driver,” he said. “As a relatively small UK company, we are able to flex, to listen to customer needs and to respond by creating and adapting solutions to suit where required. We are forward-looking and geared to continually evolve our offer to meet changing market and customer requirements.”