In late 2014, DoIT began a formal review of the state of individual printing on campus. Experience and observation combined to suggest that NIU had a degree of individual printing on campus that could lead to large scale cost savings. Over the course of the following year, DoIT worked with our managed print provider, the Gordon Flesch Company, Inc. (GF), to do several rounds of increasingly thorough investigations of printer inventories and volumes throughout campus.
A business case was developed, then reviewed by the IT Planning Council (ITPC) in early 2015 and approved by the IT Steering Committee (ITSC) in May 2015 and was eventually released for action in June 2015. At the time, the intent of the project was to visit each office and department on campus, map out the locations of printers, explain the shared printer costs and benefits, and offer the chance for opt-in cost savings for offices that chose to remove individual printers in favor of shared printing.
Early adopters began to come on board in 2016 including all of DoIT, the President’s Office, the Provost’s Office, Vice President Weldy's offices, the Office of General Counsel, Procurement, and a few other areas. Allowing for some early adopter bugs, users report that the system works as expected and that they do not miss their individual printers. This is consistent with the broad industry experience at other organizations.
Based on this first sample of offices and extrapolating to the remainder of campus, this project was estimated to take two years to complete under the opt-in conditions
Moving faculty and staff from consumer-class inkjet and laser printers to multi-function print/copy/scan/fax devices (MFD’s) improves both the quality and reliability of printing on campus. MFD’s print, copy and scan documents at higher speeds and resolutions in a more secure environment and with advanced options for collating, stapling and duplex (double-sided) printing.
Access to an entire fleet of more than 400 MFD’s also provides a degree of geographic redundancy, flexibility
The business case initially estimated a potential 41% savings or ~ $700,000 annually across campus that would be achieved by
After several months of research that included a campus-wide survey, the project team began to roll out the Pharos software that underpins NIU's AnywherePrints program as well as new MFD's to departments who chose to participate in the program. But the financial crisis that still faces the university prompted the recent 5%
But the print project wasn’t scheduled to finish for two years and that meant the cost savings wouldn’t be realized soon enough to keep from cutting in other areas. The primary reason the project timeline was so
If the optional nature was largely removed, the project could be accelerated dramatically and finish in this fiscal year – in time to realize the cost savings benefits as soon as possible. The option to make the project mandatory was discussed with the IT Steering Committee, the IT Planning Council, the Executive Budget Committee, the Senior Cabinet, and the Operations Cabinet.
Choosing shared printers that provide higher quality, faster, cheaper printing has widespread benefits for many on campus but there are numerous situations where a shared printer may not be the best choice. Evaluating such situations is best done locally instead of by any central entity. Therefore, the deans of the colleges, libraries and graduate school and the vice presidents of each administrative unit can grant an exception to the removal of printers at their sole discretion.
IT directors and senior IT staff in the IT Planning Council were given a spreadsheet of our last-known inventory of printers at NIU on November 14, 2016. Local IT support in the department assisted DoIT staff in bringing the inventory up to date, including the listing of
Without this information, the project team would not know which printers are to be removed and which will stay in the department. DoIT also required the exception reasons in order to see whether common themes can inspire better features and functionality for the majority who will be using shared devices.
Examples of common requests for exception may be a documented disability, printers purchased with grant funds, retaining an emergency backup printer for an area or floor, special purpose printers such as those that print extra large documents, or cases where a unit can document a lower total cost of printing than the rates charged by DoIT.
For questions about how this project affects you and your department, please contact your local IT support person. If you have questions about specific makes and models of multi-function devices (MFDs) and the options available to your department, email ServiceDesk@niu.edu.
No such procurement restriction is in place. It would not, however, be unreasonable for Procurement Services or individual departments to attempt to restrict the purchase of new individual printers, replacement ink or toner, paper, or other similar supplies in the same way we discourage buying several telephones for a single person.
Moreover, DoIT has no interest in policing this and the implementation difficulties would be extraordinary. Instead, this should be a local business issue for each department that is well and truly solved by good management.
If your local business manager or department chair notice that
then you would pick that up in your procurement process approvals, your regular department oversight or in a monthly review of your own financial statements.
Actually, DoIT doesn't care if you print every document. If your current practice is to print and store paper copies of important documents, that’s fine. People develop habits that work for them and DoIT will not force you to change. What this project will deliver is a cheaper, higher quality way to do that printing.
Much is known about printing because it’s a very large industry. Going into a managed print environment drastically reduces the amount of printing that gets done. Any marginal cost or effort at all, over and above having a printer that is either free or within arm’s reach, results in less printing for almost everyone. A 30% reduction is an accepted industry figure and this has played out several times in several universities. Of course, some people will be exceptions and that’s okay.
Industry research and whitepapers suggest that up to 17% of jobs that do get printed are considered waste. If you haven’t seen 500 pages of the flyer for a pancake breakfast abandoned on a printer over the weekend, you haven’t lived yet! Moreover, the industry knows that approximately 8% of all print jobs that go into a queue are never printed. That would be 2 million wasted pages at NIU this year. Under the new AnywherePrints system, which NIU students have been using for years, print jobs that aren’t picked up within 24 hours will be deleted.
If printing is required for your job, then the university should not force you to supply your own ink or paper. DoIT thinks that having this ink centrally purchased (and placed in a shared printer that you use) would be more welcome than not.
No. There are already 159 shared printing devices on campus that are funded through some form of service level agreement and/or chargeback mechanism. The final plan calls for approximately 400 shared devices on campus so this would be an expansion of a current chargeback. A more interesting question is whether we should centralize this form of chargeback like DoIT has done for voice and wireless charges. Ultimately, DoIT doesn't care much about what type of funding mechanism is used provided that a few things are true:
DoIT will not steal your personal property.
But if NIU is making a valid form of print available to you, then NIU should not buy you ink or toner for your personal printer even if you intend to use it to print work materials. That could be considered an unethical blurring of the lines between the use of personal and state resources. Having said that, DoIT will not oversee your ink purchases because that is not a suitable role for a central IT function. Either Procurement Services or your local business office should handle this with you.
Printers today occupy public, private, and locked spaces according to the needs of each department. We expect to see a mix of public, private, and locked spaces in the new printer deployment as well.
Concerns about the physical integrity of the machines are a bit of a surprise. DoIT staff have seen over a dozen universities in person with large printers in halls or other types of public spaces and the issue of notable amounts of vandalism or theft hasn’t come up. If anyone has data on how widespread the theft of paper or damage to printers is, please share this with ServiceDesk@niu.edu.
Yes. After you've been moved to the new AnywherePrints environment, you can print from home or anywhere off campus in several ways:
Today there are over 3,000 printers on campus: nearly one for every full-time employee. This project will include 80 buildings and deploy approximately 250 shared printers. Shared printers are also called multi-function devices (MFDs) because of their ability to copy, scan, and sometimes fax. Along with 159 existing MFDs, this makes a total of approximately 400 installed MFD’s or 5 per building. But that average doesn’t necessarily pan out because of the size of buildings and their resident populations.
DoIT doesn’t expect that people would have to leave their buildings to pick up a print job. Indeed, if your building is too small to justify a shared MFD, this seems an excellent use of an exception. On the other hand, even a small building may do a lot of printing and make good use of an MFD.
We have a wide spread of current practices here. Some departments charge students a lab fee to cover incidental cost. DoIT-run student labs include paper in the printing charge and then DoIT monitors and loads the paper. Some departments pay for and load their own paper today. Some don’t. Apparently, some departments make their faculty pay for paper, which again is hard to understand and support.
On December 8, the IT Steering Committee approved DoIT's recommendation to include paper purchase and delivery in the print rates. DoIT will deliver the paper and the departments will store and load paper. Removing the locks on paper trays is an obvious implication of this decision, though there may be some exceptions discovered during rollout.
The DoIT project team has created a cost model that fully incorporates all the costs of printing, including:
It is difficult for most organizations to figure out what true cost of printing is because “costs for supplies, service, hardware and support are buried across multiple budget lines.”
Approximately twelve years ago printing on campus peaked at an annual volume of between 40-45 million (M) pages per year. In 2015, NIU printed 24M pages on campus. Estimating that this volume will continue to decrease, DoIT's cost model is based on an estimate of only 14M black/white pages and 2M color pages each year.
Before this project, DoIT’s rates for shared printing had a mixed cost model for all sorts of ugly historical reasons. Black/white printing ran anywhere from 5.5¢ - 8¢ per page and color copies weare either 25¢ (students) or 35¢ (faculty/staff) per page. Double-sided printing is, of course, charged at twice the per page rate.
Our current cost model for FY17 estimates that including the volume discounted price of 15M sheets of 8.5x11 paper at $3.34/ream and 1M sheets of 11x17 paper at $6.68/ream yields an increase to 5¢/page for black and white copies and 12¢/page for color copies (and twice the per page rate for double-sided printing). This model represents a dramatic cost savings for students and current users of DoIT-supported MFD’s.
DoIT's rate structrures are based on actual incurred cost and collected revenues. Both cost and revenue could be higher or lower than anticipated, leading to potentially sizable losses or profits at the end of any fiscal year. DoIT will continue to adjust its rates up and down, as required to break even. Over time, DoIT should not operate at a profit or at a loss. DoIT advocates that all NIU rates and recharge structures should be subject to annual review by the Division of Administration and Finance. The CIO is actively promoting this principle within the Executive Budget Committee.
Only by comparing apples to apples for the full set of printing costs can we determine whether any particular departmental printing contract is cost competitive with the DoIT costs.
There are multiple layers to this question and the answer.
The balance of all these factors was weighed in many of the discussions of whether to accelerate the print project. They should also be evaluated when considering exceptions. That balance might argue for or against granting an exception in different circumstances and I trust the wisdom of our deans to sort that out.
An exception may be considered for printers that are specifically authorized under a grant award and when the printer is necessary to complete the project. Contact Sponsored Program Administration (SPA) to discuss.
Printers and associated costs are considered institutional overhead with reimbursement occurring through the indirect cost recovery process. Printers purchased from grants typically become university property after the grant ends. As such, SPA must approve any exceptions for direct charging of printers to a grant award. As university property, disposition will follow normal institutional procedures.
Some on campus are under the impression that individual faculty cannot send large print jobs to Integrated Media Technologies (formerly Document Services). This is not correct. Anybody can request a job from Integrated Media Tech as long as they provide a cost center we can charge for the work. Persons need not have signing authority in order to submit the job. Both Accounting and Internal Audit have signed off on this process and we have customers doing this today.
A secondary question is why someone would want to send a print job to Integrated Media Tech. There are several reasons: sometimes they want to do this because the job is so large they don’t want to run it from an individual printer, sometimes because they want extra help with design, perhaps they want to print on special materials, they might want advanced personalization or mass mailing, or because the big presses are cheaper than even shared printers at some point.
As approved, the business case described this situation and the project team designed a solution to allow student employees to bill work-related print jobs to their employer-department. Concerns raised in the first two months of implementation suggest this core design feature may not work for all units. Accordingly, a more widespread review of options is underway.
As of January 25, 2017, students who have multiple ID’s (an A-ID and a Z-ID) can choose which account to charge their printing to after they swipe their OneCard. For other situations, perhaps where the student is not really a student employee but still needs to print, departmental courtesy cards can allow them to swipe to print. The same courtesy cards can be used for employees. Their primary appointment would be associated with their A-ID and their other appointment would arrange for a courtesy card.
Concern that student employees will choose to print their homework (or even entire textbooks) using the option to bill their department could be addressed by reviewing the monthly billing for print. This bill will be modified to include the name, and not just the PeopleSoft Employee ID (EMPLID) of the person and his/her monthly print billing. The bill also includes an HR code that describes whether a person is faculty, staff, student, affiliate, etc.
Currently if there are concerns about billing, employers may request a Pharos report that can further detail the filenames and locations of this person's print jobs. If a student who is not supposed to charge printing to the employer’s department has done so, this issue is addressable as either a student conduct or a progressive discipline matter.
At the end of January, DoIT staff will review the period detail reports from PeopleSoft FMS to determine the potential scope of the problem with student employees or even terminated employees fraudulently billing to their current or former departments. This information along with an estimate of the time and impact of reverting to a system where no student employee or employee student could charge to a department cost center will be discussed at a variety of governance and advisory committees across campus.
Some Colleges have tech fees that support subsidized printing for students. If your College wishes to retain that model in particular labs, then ensure the printer is restricted to the lab workstations and can function via IP printing.
The current printers would be replaced with Gordon Flesch multi-function devices (MFDs). Student usage would be billed to the department based on meter readings.
Generally, printers are not critical business services. In other words, a single printer failure at 2:00AM will not generally result in a technican working to resolve the problem at that hour. Having said that, the IT Service Desk will continue to take calls and create incident tickets during non-business times at night and on weekends and there are staff on call to troubleshoot system-wide incidents during these non-business hours.
Click coming soon for more detailed troubleshooting tips for AnywherePrints.
The multi-function devices (MFDs) can handle letter-size (8.5x11) and legal-size (8.5x14) paper. A ledger-size (11x17) paper handling tray is available upon request. The new rate will not charge a cost differential for these tray or paper sizes. Printing on your own letterhead is simply a matter of loading it in the letter-size tray.
All the MFDs can handle business envelopes (#9, #10, and 6 3/4) through the side feeder, but cannot handle "invitation" envelopes (size A2-A7). Specifically, the Canon 5500 series comes standard with envelope feed capabilities in drawers 1 through 4 or via the side feeder without any additional accessories or cost. The other Canon units require an envelope feed accessory which is added to one of the trays.
You will be required to swipe either a OneCard or a Courtesy Card. In conjunction with NIU's OneCard ID Services, OneCard replacements will be free from December 5, 2016 through February 17, 2017 to faculty and staff who have either lost or damaged their current OneCards.
If you have a OneCard, no matter where the photo may lie, you can use it for printing. You need not request a "Prox Card" for printing; Prox cards are used for door access.
You can print from any device connected to NIUWireless, but you cannot print when connecting via NIUGuest.
Unauthenticated guest wireless is a more open environment with extremely reduced security controls. All NIU students,faculty and staff who mistakenly use NIUGuest to connect to our wireless network are actually treated as external users. And we want to ensure that all our users are afforded all the security scans and protection provided by our authenticated and secure network.
Remember that when you print from off campus, NIU users should use VPN to securely connect to the AnywherePrints service. (See FAQ #11).
Your rates will be reduced to the new 5¢/12¢ rate when we install the new devices in your area and move existing devices to the new AnywherePrints environment. If you are anxious to take advantage of the lower rates and would like to request a higher priority in the schedule, please email the project manager.
Any new printer installation will not be charged for a monthly network charge. Any existing Gordon Flesch printers that are swapped for newer models will still bill the monthly network charge to the department until FY18.
The cost center that will be charged is the one attached to your "minimum employee record number." To view this record number for any status or student employee, go to the HRS website and login with your NIU credentials. You can view all NIU Department Codes there and then click on Employee Lookup to view all the jobs for a particular employee.
A position number and a minimum record number are two different things: a position number is unique to the position and is assigned an employee record number. When Person A is hired, they are assigned an employee record number of "0". As long as they only have one job, they will retain the same employee record number even if they change jobs with the university. If Person A is hired into a second concurrent position, their second job information will now be associated with employee record number "1". Typically the lowest employee record number is the primary job that will be charged for printing that is "billed to my department."
DoIT will be creating a query against the PeopleSoft HR system that will allow authorized users to view the record number that is being charged. The Period Detail report from the PeopleSoft FMS system already allows authorized users to view the names and Employee IDs (EMPLIDS) of status and student employees who are billing their print jobs to a particular cost center.
Printer models and options: