We also are moving toward use of Third Party Charging and there is a bit confusion about how to organize by Charging Models, categories, and cost centers. In setting up some testing, I found with multiple categories, the user is given the option of selecting a cost center from each category. This is not what is desired. What is desired is for the user to select a cost center from a single category with multiple cost centers. Does this have to be controlled strictly by constraints?
Is there documentation, an example even, of how Pharos intended this structure to be used?
Thanks for any help.
This is how it was explained to me - some parts paraphrased, most parts verbatim (thanks to Jim Gilliver). A charging model is just a 'container' for the cost centers to be used - you assign the model as a whole when using cost centers - so you usually only need one. The categories are about hierarchies... pay attention to this part, because most people get this wrong... ***** For each category, the user MUST pick a cost center from it. ***** Grants are not designed for the hierarchy/multiple categories which is why the grant will give a message indicating that the CM can only have a single category. You might be thinking categories would be departments (math, science, arts, etc...), but that's where most people tend to get tripped up. While it is for that, in a sense, the category is not a 'folder'. You could make a category called 'department' and include cost centers in it for 'arts', 'science', 'math', and that might influence which cost centers you could select in a second category (e.g. if you have a second category with cost centers for 'lecture handouts', 'administrative documents', and 'test papers'). It can function as a two step categorization, but they can also be related ('next and previous category constraints'). In most cases, people just have a flat list of available cost centers - in that situation, just use a single category.
Steven, that's what I went with. We're moving from 1000+ copy codes manually programed into satellite devices to about 170 cost centers. We've had Secure Release for out students for a while; now it's the faculty's turn.
Timothy, we have about 1300 grants in our system, in a single charging model/category. It's really simple to constrain users to the specific grants they're allowed to charge on, either on importing or manually. The user authenticates, then selects between grants at the iMFP/PS200. Most of our users have one or two grants, but some have up to 15 depending on how they want to charge. The advantage of grants over cost centers is that you can put dollar limits on the entire grant, or on individual users within the grant (or both). Many of our departments favor this, especially for grad student copying/printing on department funds, or on research funds. We use groups (staff, faculty, student, studentemployee) to control pricing in an attribute-based cost structure.
We've got nearly 100 iMFP-enabled devices, at most of which we've enabled secure release. Our primary users are faculty and staff, though I've created a "grant" called "Student Billing Services charges" so students can charge to their bursar's bill. There are so many options for students to print (we don't control the labs, either the computer labs or the library labs) that few use our system, though it's increasing.
The bulk of our grants we imported a chunk at a time, as we converted specific areas from our old Danyl card system to Uniprint; the users were imported in a couple of uploads and are maintained by us in the database. Every quarter we get a number of spreadsheets containing the changes, and we either upload those or hand-constrain them.
The hardest part of using third-party charging is to make sure you choose well what you want things named, and what you want them to see on screen. We use what's called a FOAPAL (we use BANNER FIS, and that's the acronym for its account string) to charge for output, and have had to put the actual number (i.e., 18082-403011-002580-40-ANFAC) into the grant's "Cost Center Name". Its "Description" is what we call the grant, the account name (i.e., Anthro/Fac); both the Cost Center Name and Description show on the iMFP screen. A big caveat here, and probably the biggest kludge we have to use: due to our export/reporting process, which is separate and for which I use FileMaker Pro, we have to append a "*Anthro" to the account name. This latter gets parsed out and labels the grant as belonging to a specific business office; there's nowhere in our current setup (we are on 8.2) to put any kind of hierarchical organizing term, which is necessary due to the single category using grants requires.
Hope this is helpful...
University of California, Santa Cruz
Thanks for the info Bill. We're going with cost centers for the most part since there never was a limit on the original copy code system. We don't have staff on site at all times and don't want to risk someone running out of funds on a weekend. I'm already training our Office Services staff and Pharos Admin (with a reduced rights set) and Pharos Reports for doing cost recovery.
Tim, you're welcome. I'll be curious to see what you do with the output from Pharos Reports. So far I use them very little, more for rectification. If I could have used them to make reports that were flexible and distributed the data the way we want, I'd've used them. And no, I haven't tried to edit them in Crystal Reports editor; I have been programming FMP for 16 years, and already had the database and output generally set up to receive the Pharos import data.