4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 18, 2014 3:08 PM by Chris Axtell

    Pharos rollout questions

    David Alexander Scout



      We've been working on a process to roll in our student and departmental printing into Pharos.  We have about 4,000 employees and 24,000 students.


      For students, we have been working on moving from our current "pay after you print" process to a "pay to print approach" using Pharos.  We are planning to use Blackboard eAccounts.  I wanted to know if there are any other schools our size who have been running Pharos with Blackboard Transact/eAccounts who would be willing to talk to us to help us validate our proposed approach.


      For departmental printing, we have been running into an issue where it doesn't seem cost effective to roll out Pharos campus-wide, especially adding secure printing to MFDs.  We'd like to talk to a school with a mature Pharos rollout to departments to get a better understanding of best practices.  We are interested in hearing how other schools are handling the following departmental printing use cases:


      1. Back-end accounting and charge back to departments
      2. Secure printing needs (card swipe print release)
      3. Printers shared between departments
      4. Departmental printers that have users with a high turnover rate (eg. student employees)


      For cases 2-4, it's been our experience that using Xerox accounting is a better solution.





        • Re: Pharos rollout questions
          Rachel Deaton Navigator

          Thank you David! I am wondering if Brian Kendrick from Kennesaw State University would be willing to lend an ear here... I look forward to hearing more.

          • Re: Pharos rollout questions
            Bill Kasper Guide



            Here at UCSC our enrollment into Pharos is just about the same size (28K users with about 4K staff).  We took two years to convert our fleet from Danyl's RECAP to Pharos (due to capital equipment management and departmental needs), finishing June 2013.  We have 100 machines on iMFPs or PS200s, mostly Ricohs.  We allow both direct and secure connections for printing.


            For students, they have three options to copy and/or print.  They can use cash (we have two kiosks to add personal funds), they can charge to a grant we created called "Student Billing System Charges", or they can use one of our campus recharge accounts (if they have the right, as often do graduate students who are allowed to charge to grants or to departmental funds).  The latter two methods involve back-end accounting, which we have developed (in part with Pharos, in part locally - see below).  Students are a loss-leader for us, as most students print at free (or payable by other methods to other departments) locations all across campus.  We're investigating Beacon as a way to get a sense what is the overall print volume on campus, what's being paid for, and what's not (so we can slowly bring it in to our system).


            For departmental printing, we have more than 1400 cost centers (all grants) applied to those 28K users.  Each user can have one or many cost centers constrained, and each cost center can have one or many users constrained.  We use groups to discern costs between affiliated non-recharge, recharge, and non-affiliated users.  Nearly every department on campus is part of our program, and we have many copiers at the division level for academic and staff use.  We're growing in the print realm (we just passed $10K in printing recharges for the first time in the month of October), and users are particularly happy using secure print (55% of print volume in October).  Users are also able to print directly, if they like.  We use popups, but will have the Print Center option after we install 9 towards Christmastime.


            To your cases:


            1.  We bill monthly.  We export all our monthly data from Pharos into a FileMaker database I developed, compress all the charges by cost center/user/deviceID/output color, and export from FileMaker to a text file which is then processed and uploaded to our Banner FIS program.  The charges are automatically journalled and posted to the user accounts by cost center.  I then go to FileMaker and generate the reports, which are parsed by business office (i.e., who controls the cost center) and emailed to the appropriate business officer.  It's more complex than as described; I touched on the high points, but it takes me about three days to get through the process because we have another 95 machines that are NOT on Pharos, and those have to be accounted for and their cost center data/charges made part of the same text file from FileMaker.


            1a.  Our student bills (charges to the "Student Billing System Charges" cost center) are also done monthly, on a separate cycle, and involve the same basic processes.  The difference is where the Filemaker text output file is sent, and what data it contains.  As it's all out of Pharos, it only takes a couple of hours to do each month.


            2.  Departments are beginning to queue up for secure printing, as they see it as a cost cutting measure on top of one that allows for proper output security.  We have card swipes primarily for copying; these are set up as functional accounts within Pharos (associated with a functional user, rather than a particular human user).  In about 1/3 of the cases the users know the account's userid, and they could use it to print, but we don't discuss that unless asked.  I think we have about 400 functional users at the moment, 2/3 of which are associated with cards.  We much prefer to keep humans on cost centers, and have that relationship be the primary way people print/use cost centers.


            3.  We have a number of printers shared between departments.  Our Humanities Division, for example, has 7 Ricoh's in 3 locations, used by faculty and staff from about 11 departments.  Our secure print process is enabling the Division to get rid of their own Xerox Color Qubes as they fail; I think we're going to have all the printers in the place, except for a single black and white for Linux output, by the end of this FY.  Our School of Engineering has a number of departments that share our MFDs in the same manner.  The were less keen on it at the start, but they're coming around.  They had their own printing setup that was paid for directly by the School, without having to log in or do anything but print, and their professors are having to be dragged into our system by their business office.


            4.  Student turnover is one reason we have functional accounts.  We can give the department a functional userid, they can give it to the students for use on the department printer (for printing or copying).  If it's used outside the department they know at the end of every month.  We have secondary security on all accounts (a PIN), and we can change that if they need to (say, by quarter) in order to disable usage by students who've passed through and might want to use it to make their own copies (they will be unable to do so because of the changed PIN).


            This is actually going to be the subject of a talk I give at the Pharos User's Conference in February...so it was helpful for me to have your questions to respond to and ponder.  Thanks.




            UCSC Copier Program

            • Re: Pharos rollout questions
              Brian Kendrick Wayfarer

              Hi David,


              • Back-end accounting and charge back to departments

                        - We are setup with Pharos 3rd party charging and have the department feed in to Pharos and link to the users account with a data base link. This allows us to have the department as a cost center on the users account automatically. We run reports on the speed chart code on the cost center to link it back to the leggier.

              • Secure printing needs (card swipe print release)

                        - We use the Blackboard PS4101 USB card taps attached directly to the IMFP running the Pharos Applet. We have script int he pack of Pharos that translates the Card number to the Net ID. ( Provided by Pharos). This along with a "universal drive" allows for us to have a secure fallow me print solution. Print to one queue and pick it up an t any printer (jobs are held for 2 hrs.)

              • Printers shared between departments

                        - With the cost centers in Pharos it no longer maters who prints it is attached to their cost center. We also have personal printing using the Blackboard Stored Value accounts.

              • Departmental printers that have users with a high turnover rate (eg. student employees)

                        - This is handled with our feed that hits the system 24 for new employes and 15 mins for current employees.


              If you have nay questions feel free to reach out.


              C. Brian Kendrick | Assistant Director

              Auxiliary Services and Programs | University Information Technology Services

              t 470-578-6620 |e ckendri1@kennesaw.edu  

              Kennesaw State University

              • Re: Pharos rollout questions
                Chris Axtell Navigator

                Hi David,


                For students, we have been working on moving from our current "pay after you print" process to a "pay to print approach" using Pharos.  We are planning to use Blackboard eAccounts.  I wanted to know if there are any other schools our size who have been running Pharos with Blackboard Transact/eAccounts who would be willing to talk to us to help us validate our proposed approach.

                We have had Pharos deployed for over ten years to our students (~28,000) in the pay-to-print model, supporting five geographically dispersed campuses.


                We have Blackboard Transact as our backend billing system. Each student's Bb Transact account is configured with two "purses" one is a print allocation and the other is campus dollars. The print allocation purse is used to provide a printing credit to students funded by a tech fee on campus. This is a non-accumliating credit that is reset each semester. The campus dollars purse is what allows students to put funds onto their account for use anywhere its accepted (e.g. vending machines, campus dining, printing, etc.). Funds can be placed onto the patron's account either via cash at a Blackboard Value Transfer Station (VTS), or at one of the card offices using cash or credit card. All transactions between Pharos and Bb Transact are reconciled immediately so patrons have a real-time view of funds remaining on their account(s).


                Our environment also supports the use of generic print cards. These are effectively Bb Transact cards that aren't tied to a specific user (the art work on the card itself identifies it as a "Copy/Print Card"). Anyone can purchase a print card from one of the VTS or several other locations on campus either via cash, or credit card, depending on the location.


                When departments/employees need to print at one of the locations serviced by the Pharos system they can either purchase a print card from one of the VTS, or purchase it through the IT office. When purchased through the IT office we take care of the accounting JV process associated with "credit" placed on the card and have the card office print out a card with the desired amount on the credit.


                Pharos is configured with a default "offline_amount" credit for all patrons if it is unable to successfully verify with Bb Transact how much funds the patron has available on their account. Any offline transactions are reconciled with Bb Transact once communication is restored.


                We use Pharos Print Station software on Dell workstations, as well as VDI systems, that are attached to a Unitech POS Keyboard (model # K2714U-B) to managed the magnetic card swipe of the patron's campus ID card. With the exception of a few locations that supports general public use, all release stations have the patron login with their AD username/password, and then swipe their payment card (e.g. their campus ID, or a generic "print/copy" card). We have one location where we're experimenting with the use of MFD using Pharos iMFP module. In this use case the card swipe acts as identification and payment source.


                At this time we haven't dug into the cost center approach.


                Let me know if there are any questions,