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DTP Group deploys MPS Monitor to improve business efficiency

DTP Group, a HP Platinum Partner, has recently onboarded MPS Monitor. Michelle Ryder spoke to Technical Consultant Tobias Dartsch to find out more about how the full-featured MPS solution will drive productivity, profitability and efficiency

DTP Group has been in the managed print business for over 30 years and has over time expanded its offering to include a range of complementary managed IT services. Headquartered in Leeds, the company services customers nationwide and also counts a number of European organisations among its customer base.

In terms of print, DTP Group is a single line HP dealer and has achieved the highest – Platinum – status in the OEM’s partner programme. The company has a lot of experience within the higher education sector, a number of major universities are long-standing customers and it has also widened its reach into the corporate market, providing solutions to both large enterprise and SMB organisations.

DTP Group is leveraging MPS Monitor to streamline its billing and consumables replenishment processes. Consumables management is integrated in a single, fully automated end-to-end process, while the engine for contracts management covers the whole invoicing process, up to the issuing of invoices in PDF, XML or CSV, ready to be sent to the customer and/or imported into the dealer’s accounting systems.

The consumables management functionality is one feature which Dartsch believes is going to have a positive impact on the business. “We have got a number of different charging models for customers and we want to know if a customer replaces a consumable early. That can massively impact the profit that we can make on some accounts. With MPS Monitor we can access reports on this and raise any issues with the customer using the data to highlight what percentages consumables have been replaced when they should have probably stayed in the devices for longer.”

He continued: “What we will also find useful is the different types of connectors that you can use for the solution, where you can install an embedded connector on a device. The majority of our customers are quite large, but we also do have smaller customers with maybe only a handful of devices that have very little infrastructure or even standalone devices. We’ve tested the embedded connector and it works really well in terms of getting meter readings etc. with no manual intervention.”

Seamless process
DTP Group has gone through a successful trial phase and has now onboarded the majority of its customers. “From the customers’ perspective other than letting them know what we were installing, it’s been an entirely seamless process, with no impact on their ability to print or disruption in continuity of service,” Dartsch explained.

According to Dartsch, one of the most exciting elements of the platform is its full integration with the HP Smart Device Services (SDS) platform. The MPS Monitor SDS platform provides printer fleet managers with advanced tools for remote hardware management, diagnosis and problem solving, thus reducing effort and costs for maintenance operations, improving service levels and maximising customer satisfaction.

“Over and above remote monitoring and managing our installed devices, our print solutions team delivers a full range of HP-driven security solutions. We are heavily involved in the implementation on the customer side, and we are really excited to look at the HP SDS capabilities, this is going to benefit many different areas of the business,” he said.

The platform is feature-rich and provides a number of functions which save time and money, for example, device configuration and remote remediation allow dealers and maintenance teams to manage, configure and update all the printers installed at their customers’ premises without having to go onsite.

Remote embedded web server access provides service staff with permanent and secure remote access to the printer’s embedded web server, without any need to activate a VPN or other remote access to the customers’ network.

“The ability to securely access devices through the cloud portal is going to be a huge game changer for the entire service desk, engineering and our company,” Dartsch added.

Remote diagnosis
“We have a large network of engineers, some of whom are permanently based on a customer’s site,” Dartsch explained. “Features such as diagnose before dispatch which enables most hardware problems in devices to be diagnosed remotely, will ensure we only send an engineer onsite when they are really needed.

“Another great feature is the error message functionality, the platform provides very detailed information around fault messages including videos and photos and how to resolve these including which parts to replace. That gives us a very good head start in terms of diagnosing faults with devices, and getting parts ordered before we attend the customer’s site, thus improving our first-time fix rates. Our engineers really really like that feature,” he added.

Nicola De Blasi, CEO MPS Monitor expanded on this: “The SDS integration includes a feature that allows the dealer to access the embedded web server of any HP printer from inside MPS Monitor. It’s really easy to do, simply click on a button and you can access any printer remotely, as if you were on the customers’ network, but what is most important is the feature is fully secure because this is HP technology. It’s a very compelling advantage for service desks and it removes the requirement to ask a customer to open a remote connection to the network which can cause inconvenience and takes time.”

He continued: “Knowing that a printer is faulty, having insight into what exactly the problem is and how to fix it either remotely or by going onsite is a huge benefit. Another key advantage is that the dealer is aware of any issues and not relying on a customer to report them. For example, in a university there may be a number of students using a device and just getting frustrated with it not working. But how many of them would actually log it as a fault?

“The SDS integration provides very powerful remote maintenance features. For a HP dealer, this means money saved and a much improved customer experience.”

Tobias Dartsch
Tobias Dartsch

Automated reporting
“The automated reporting on error calls is one big feature that we are looking to implement across the board,” Dartsch said. “It’s possible to install an app on the devices that allows the user to log a service call without having to go through their service desk – that’s clever. We haven’t implemented that on the customer side yet but we’ve tested it thoroughly in-house. That’s definitely on the project map, we’ve got quite a few customers that have asked for a feature like this, and HP technology enables us to develop our own apps and make this happen.”

Dartsch also mentioned that MPS Monitor has got some strong security features in-built which he said is a huge value-add.

MPS Monitor enables security policies to be defined on the fleet, the dealer can easily check for the latest firmware and whether network protocols are enabled or disabled etc. Once the policies are created, the dealer can on a daily basis run checks to check compliance and ensure enforcement by simply modifying the configuration of the device for those parameters, so that it becomes compliant to the policy.

“It’s very similar to HP Jet Advantage Security Manager (JASM),” De Blasi said. “But there are two differences – it’s cloud not on-premise so it’s much less complex to manage, and secondly, unlike JASM it is free of charge, because it’s included in MPS Monitor.”

Security mark
Importantly, the MPS Monitor 2.0 platform is among the first to pass the Keypoint Intelligence-Buyers Lab (BLI) Printer & MFP Security Validation Testing for Policy Compliance. The neutral third-party security testing benchmark program standardises the requirements for output device and office IoT (Internet of Things) security.

Buyers Lab analysts confirmed the claimed features and effectiveness of the MPS Monitor 2.0 platform in satisfying the test methodology criteria, when used to manage HP Inc. printers and MFPs fully supported by the HP SDS platform:

*Discover and highlight at-risk firmware (that is, out-of-date firmware with known and/or likely vulnerabilities) that are still in use on devices;
*Provide fleet-scalable, secure firmware update capability;
*Ensure a customer’s devices are secured to a vendor’s and/or customer’s recommended settings (via templates, policies, or similar mechanism);
*Provide a method to discover out-of-compliance devices;
*Generate a report (or dashboard view) showing at-risk devices;
*Provide a way to automatically apply the desired settings to bring devices back into compliance;
*Provide ongoing checks to ensure the devices are still in compliance with the recommended settings;
*Automatically detect newly connected but unconfigured device(s) attached to the network and automatically apply the policy designated by the administrator for new devices.

“We’re delighted to have DTP Group on board. MPS Monitor SDS drastically reduces incoming customer calls, speeds up the response time and simplifies maintenance processes. Proactive device monitoring enables remote diagnosis, often before the customer even knows there is an issue to report, reducing machine downtime and repeated interventions for the same problem. In addition, if an intervention requires parts replacement, the SDS system will identify the parts required and, thanks to an integration with supplier systems, check availability and location in real-time, all of which delivers a real value-add to the dealer’s business.” De Blasi concluded.