Archive for the ‘News & Opinions’ Category


Ricoh’s firmware will block ALL FUNCTIONS if non-Ricoh toner is detected!!!

April 27, 2020

Ricoh’s firmware will block ALL FUNCTIONS if non-Ricoh toner is detected! And to make sure you get this Ham-Fisted Firmware it will automatically download and update WITHOUT YOUR AUTHORIZATION. Ricoh Issued this firmware update for Ricoh IM C series and some MP C series of color laser printer/MFPs.

Why would I buy this printer or MFD? A Printer / MFD that is programed to stop me from using any of it’s functions if I chose a lesser priced non-oem toner? I wouldn’t! I find that Customers want to be able to chose. They hate it when companies take their choices away.

It’s one thing if you buy a Printer or MFD that you know upfront it will ONLY run on OEM toner. But can you imagine, if you purchased a Ricoh MFP (Multi FUNCTIONAL Printer) and you were happily using non-oem toner all along, and it was working fine. Then without your consent or knowledge YOUR MFP downloads firmware that disables your MFD. Firmware that You didn’t authorize. This new firmware prevents all functions and turns YOUR functional MFP into a BRICK, a Paperweight. Because some corporate bureaucrat in Japan couldn’t figure out how to get you to use oem-toner. instead of working harder to make you want to use their oem-toner they decided to force you to use their toner or they will hold your MFD hostage until you do!

Many of us are stuck at at home due to the COVID-19 stay at home orders. What if you need to scan and RFP response to email. The Dead line is tomorrow. You have your finished RFP response and when you go to bed that night your Ricoh MFP is working fine with the non-oem toner (that you decided to use). That night your Ricoh MFP without your knowledge or consent downloads and installs this heavy handed firmware. You wake up in the morning planing to review your RFP response one more time and then Scan to Email from your Ricoh MFD (that was working fine yesterday). But when you look at the Operations Panel you see a message that YOUR RICOH is now disabled because this egregious firmware has shut down all functions, including Scan to email and Faxing which don’t even use the toner. Now you have to either violate the Stay at home order, or miss the RFP deadline and possibly loose a lucrative deal.

I may not have a crystal ball, but I predict this will be a disastrous move on Ricoh’s part. They will either reverse this decision or they will find themselves in Court getting sued.

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh



Selling software that never gets installed!

March 9, 2020

I hate to see a customer buy software that never gets installed. Or gets installed so poorly that the IT Dept refuses to work with that vendor any more. One of our larger UniFLOW installs was made at a customer that had previously thrown the Branch out and had banned UniFLOW from their network. When we took over we mentioned UniFLOW and got a less than positive response. I was floored. UniFLOW is good solid software. But the fault was in the support or lack there of. We eventually got them to allow us to put UniFLOW in their “Colo” (Server farm). Then they asked us to move it to their AWS Test environment. That went so well, we were asked to install it in their AWS Production environment. And from there UniFLOW went world wide in about 8 different countries. The point is it wasn’t UniFLOWs fault that it didn’t get installed well, or supported well.

I bring it up because I have an RFP that references UniFLOW and that they currently have a fleet of Canon MFDs (from the Branch). But We find out today UniFLOW has never been installed. Or they could not get it working. But the Customer wants Secure Print, and Follow me style of printing, and in general tighter security on their Canon MFDs. In a word they want all the things that UniFLOW is great at. But UniFLOW can’t do any of those things if it doesn’t get installed, or installed correctly. I bet that the branch was cheaper than us last time we competed. Well now you’ve seen what cheap looks like, how is that working for you? I don’t mean to be sarcastic but I don’t know anyone who goes out shopping for the cheapest car, or the cheapest suit, or the cheapest TV they can find. In all these things we want Value! Why then do we think the “cheapest” response to our RFP will be the best? It won’t. So do a little research and don’t be afraid NOT to award the bid to the Cheapest Vendor. Go with Value, and your life will be a little easier.

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh


Advancing the sales process

October 11, 2019

Selling is a process that includes many variables. Among them the transfer of knowledge.

The primary contact during the “Sales Process” is of course the Sales Person, or Account Executive. S/He is the Quarterback of the team. But if all you have is a QB on your team you may be in trouble. That’s why I believe in Team Selling, where each member of that team excels at their job and each brings something unique to the table. A vital part of the team is the Solution Sales Analyst. What S/He brings to the table is a wealth of Knowledge and with that knowledge comes confidence. Instead of a Sales guy saying “I think we can do that” Or “The Brochure says its supported” He turns to the Pre-Sales Solutions Support person who tells the Customer about a time when they did JUST that. And well done is better than well said. I remember getting brought into a school district at the 11th hour. They were just about to make a vendor selection when a neighboring school district said “You really need to talk to NECS before you make a decision. These guys really know their stuff”! Nothing I or my sales guy could have said that would have made as much of an impact as his peer in another school district did. They will trust their Peer over anything we say. Thankfully we had taken care of our customer and they gave us a glowing review (Mouth to Mouth Selling). When we came in we talked about AirPrint, and Chromebooks, and how to reduce the cost of printing through Follow Me printing. The head of IT looked at me and said those were the questions I was going to ask you about. This knowledge transfer gave them the confidence in NECS. Because not only did we say we could we gave them examples of other places we had already done it.

This is maybe the most dramatic way we advance the sales process. But a good Pre Sales Solutions Engineer answers dozens of calls and emails a day. I think I get an average of 45 – 50 emails a day, not counting junk emails. About a third of them require a thoughtful response. These are question from a Customer or from a Sales Person who is asking about a deal or for a customer to keep the Sales Process moving forward. It may be about a feature, or function or protocol, of a device or Software. It maybe a Security question that needs to be researched to be able to give a correct answer that moves the sale forward. It’s hard to quantify the impact these responses whether verbal, phone call, or email have on the sales process other than to say it moves it forward. What does this process look like without a knowledgeable Pre Sales Solution Engineer to answer these questions and to keep the sales process moving forward. Well maybe the Sales Guy makes something up and hopes he doesn’t get caught. Or maybe he reads the brochure and says “The Brochure says it works”. How confident would you feel hearing that answer? In short a Good Pre Sales Solution Engineer is like Yeast in your bread. You most notice it when it is not there and your bread or your sales numbers go flat!

It doesn’t matter so much what you call them; Pre-sales Solutions Engineers, Solutions Analysts, or just Systems Engineer. You may not be able to see what they do every day on a Calendar, or in SalesForce. After all how do you document that you gave a technical answer to a sales guy who sits next to you that kept the sales process moving forward? So if you judge them just by their Calendar activity you may think you don’t need them. And then you wonder why did our sales numbers drop? Ricoh Business systems (RBS) dismantled their Solutions team, and predictably their Sales Numbers dropped. To their credit this branch recognized what they’ve done and hired me to reconstitute their Solutions Team. At the end of the second year the Branch hit its Triple Crown Numbers. The branch had never done that in the history of the branch and no other branch in the country did it that year. They rewarded us by again dismantling the Solutions team. I left RBS shortly there after. I get a call about 6 months later from a buddy of mine who was a Sales Manager at RBS, and he said my name came up in a conversation. I said oh really, about what? He said to the best we can calculate YOU have cost us about a Million dollars in deals since you left. I asked if I could get that in writing on Ricoh letter head, and he laughed. One Million dollars in 6 Months. Hmm? I guess you notice a good Solutions Engineer the most, when he’s not there!

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh

PS: Special thanks to Greg Dalton of EFI. This blog started with a conversation about what a good SE does to “move the sales process along”.


Who would want to hack into my printer?

July 1, 2019

I often hear from customers “Who would want to hack into my printer”?

We’ve done such a good job securing our Servers, PCs, and routers that hackers who are trying to get into your network every day and they are looking for easy ways to get a foothold. HP did a great short Video on Youtube with Christian Slater called “The Wolf”:

HP has really pushed the “copier industry” on Security. HP says that they have “the most secure MFD”. They even put out a $10,000.00 bounty if someone could hack into their MFD. That’s Ballsy! I love that! But we still haven’t fully answered the question Why would anyone want top hack into my printer? Here comes the answer, are you ready?
Hacking your printer isn’t about the printer! There are two things a hacker gets when they successfully take control of your Printer.

1. They get access to your documents!

2. They get a foothold in your network, behind your firewall.

I know of a town here in New England that got their MFDs hacked. And from that the Hackers were able to take down four of their Servers. Remember it’s not about the printer.

Think about the documents that pass through your printer. Are they encrypted? Probably Not. A Man in the middle attack would copy all of your print jobs to the hacker before sending them on through to your printer and you would not even notice. Maybe you’d notice that it is taking a little longer to get your prints. But not long enough for you to suspect a hacker. Hackers don’t announce themselves. They often go undetected for months.

Did you know that there is a wiki site dedicated to show hackers how to hack your printers? Or how about this web site that shows the “Default Password” of your printers or MFDs? Does your printer or MFD still use the default password? If it does you are making it too easy for a hacker to take control of your Printers and MFDs.

NECS has a Professional Services offering to Harden your Printers & MFDs. HP makes it easy with Sure Start, Inspection Detection, white listing, and runtime intrusion. These are the big four! But there is more that you can do to harden your HPs!

I know an Security Manager at a regional hospital that walks around with his phone looking for Printers that are broadcasting Wi-Fi. When he finds one, and he often finds one, he shuts off Wi-Fi! Why? Using the Funtenna software this hacker turned a Printer into a broadcast radio and listen in on a network connected phone. The Printer hacked the phone??? How did they hack the printer? By embedding the malware into a Resume that maybe an IT manager or HR person printed. Holy Cow???? As one law firm that I presented this information to, said “You have me sufficiently freeked out, now what do I do about it”?

The answer is you take Printer / MFD security as serious as you do your PCs. And why not a Modern MFD has more in common with a PC that it does with your Father’s Copier. It has a hard drive, an OS, Ram Memory, even a Keyboard and a touch screen instead of a mouse. It also has Apps, lots of Apps that can be loaded on this Smart MFD to extend and enhance its capabilities.

This is an end point, a node on your network. And as such it deserves, no demands your attention on its security. The Security Manager from that same hospital said to me. We know our printers are not secure. They fail the security audit every time we have it, BUT we have other more pressing matters that always take precedence over securing the Printers and MFDs. That’s when we can help! Farm the work out to a professional who has been trained by both HP and Canon on Security, Printer security.

Do you know that Most security Scans avoid the Printers and MFDs. Do you know why? They consider them fragile devices. Nessus or even Nmap if not set correctly can knock a printer right off the network. I have seen Nmap cause a check printer to start printing garbage on random checks until it ran out of paper. There are ways of scanning a printer \ MFD without causing a disruption (generally speaking). But even if you choose not to scan to see what ports are open \ listening you can still decide to harden your printers and MFDs.

You could set up one Canon (For Instance) and make that the Master image and clone the other Canons from it. But you better change the default password or someone else could easily turn on what you have turned off for security reasons. NECS can also set your Canon MFD to update firmware automatically. We can install HP’s Smart Device Services (SDS) and schedule the update of all your HP Printers & MFDs at off hours (1 – 4 AM).

HP also offers Jet Advantage Security Manager or JASM that can apply and enforce YOUR Secure Policy on every HP. There is even a way to set it up so new printers will reach out to HP’s JASM to get YOUR security policy as soon as they come online. Like I said HP is leading the pack in enhanced Security for Printers & MFDs, or as they like to call them A3s and A4s.

Is your copier dealer talking to you about security? Or do they just want to know what speed you want your new “copier” to be? A modern MFD needs a modern Dealer who can support you in all your endeavors, and that includes Security!

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh

PS: You are never going to make your devices completely secure, security is a moving target. But that doesn’t mean you should do nothing to harden them. It’s like the two guys who see a bear and the one guy puts on his running shoes. The other guy says you can’t outrun a bear. He says I know, all I have to do is out run you. 😊 Security is like that. Make your devices less attractive to hackers so the go somewhere else.


25+ Years at NECS (Labor Day Thoughts)

September 4, 2017

It seems rare today for someone to spend a quarter of a century at the same company. But it is the norm for people who work for NECS. NECS has been in business for over 50 years. I am by far not the most tenured person at the company. There are those who have been there for 30+ years. In the spirit of full disclosure I will say that I took a 2+ years break to work for Ricoh Business Solutions (RBS). I came back to my current position nine years ago.

This kind of longevity at a single company seems to be the exception and not the rule. My daughter had worked for a company for 4 years. When she began applying for new jobs she was twice asked “Why she had been so long at one company?” She was told that it is common for people to change companies every 2 to 3 years. I can understand that only if each change is a change upwards and not just a horizontal move. When I look at a resume and I see someone changes jobs every year or so it is a red flag. I wonder why they could not keep a job for more than a year. When you look at my daughter’s resume it shows her taking on more an more responsibility at the one company she worked for those 4 years, when I see that on a resume it tells me that this is someone I can invest in with an expectation of a return on that investment. This may explain why so many people have stayed at NECS for so long. There has always been opportunity to grow and move up to greater responsibility within NECS. We often have Service people become Sales People, or Dispatchers become Operations Managers. I started in NECS as a Trainee (in 1989), learning to work on Copiers. Then I became a certified Technician, a Troubleshooter, a Field Manager, then I moved into Systems Support, became the Manager of the Team, and then became the Color Sales Specialist. After a short stint at RBS I returned to become the Vice President of Network Solutions. I am not that unique at NECS. Our VP of Service has been in Sales, and has also run Operations and the Shop. Our Service Manager ran the Parts Department for a time.

So the lesson that comes from this is IF you want people to stay at your company for decades you need to make sure that you promote from within, not just within each department but across departments. Sometimes it will not work out, and you may want to allow that person to go back to what they were good at. But even if that happens they will be grateful for the chance, and they will have learned a little about how that other part of the company runs. A real WINN WIN!!! NECS’ example of longevity should be more the norm than the exception. How is it at your company?

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh



CUI – Confidential Unclassified Information

August 22, 2017

I had one of my Sales people bring me in to see a customer who wanted to solve their Confidential Unclassified Information issue. They are a Federal Government Contractor and need to be able to demonstrate that they are in compliance with 32 CFR Part 2002, Controlled Unclassified Information. The IT Manager correctly identified that they only need to add a cover sheet to alert users to CUI documents in the printer or MFD tray. The Cover Sheet needs to have specific information on it to identify CUI and show how it is to be handled.

I told him that I could definitely modify a Banner \ Separator Page that could have all the CUI identification and instructions to print out on top of each document that prints to a particular printer or print Queue. A nice low tech solution!

But I have a passion for solving my Customer’s Business problems by combining software, hardware, and know how! So I asked him if he had any concern that someone might simply lift the cover sheet either accidentally or on purpose and see the CUI Document. He asked what else we could do and I told him if the documents get marked “CUI” anywhere in the name of the electronic file, we could use that to trigger a workflow that would re route that CUI Print Job from the Printer Queue the End User selected on the Print Server to a Secure Input Queue and then send the User an email that would tell them that their print job had been re routed and where to pick it up. It doesn’t matter what application they are printing from. If it has CUI anywhere in the name it triggers the CUI Secure Printing workflow. Using this Rules Based Routing workflow with Secure Follow Me type printing they can pick up their CUI print job at any MFD in their company by logging in and releasing the CUI job from the Secure Print Queue, A real nice high tech solution that requires no change in the printing behavior on the end users part!

Let’s take this a step futher and combine the low tech with the high tech solutions and get the best of both. By adding the CUI Separator page to the secure output printer that receives the re routed CUI print job you have the CUI print job inaccessible to anyone except the person who printed it. And even when THEY release the CUI print job it prints with an appropriate CUI Banner \ Separator Page over it. So even after the Authorized User picks it up no one else can casually look at the information in passing. I am now comfortable that we have done everything we can to help our Customer meet their Federal requirements for Controlled Unclassified Information.

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh





Nuance & Canon

July 31, 2017

Apparently Nuance and Canon are fighting. How do I know? I can’t get eCopy Sharescan embedded on some of the newest Canon MFDs. Each of these large companies will undoubtedly blame the other, but My customers are the ones that are getting hosed.

I will say that Sharescan isn’t as popular as it once was, because now there are many other scanning solutions that have very similar features. Even the built in scan features that come standard on most MFDs have some of the features that eCopy ShareScan was known for. So many people don’t require, or don’t want a scanning solution that requires a back room server to support it. But eCopy Sharescan still has a terrific Connector Catalog and for customers that have standardized on a solution it is a pain in the butt to ask them to change one or all of their MFDs.

To Nuance I will say “If you force me to change scanning solutions you will never get that customer back”.

To Canon I will say “If you force me to sell a different brand of MFD to a customer that refuses to leave Sharescan we will eventually swap out the rest of their fleet to the new brand of MFDs.

Now Nuance will read what I said to Canon and Canon will read what I said to Nuance. To which I will say READ YOUR OWN MAIL!!! You two need to figure out how to work together so that our shared customers don’t suffer. This has gone on long enough. Stop embarrassing yourselves. You are starting to look like Congress! And you know how low their approval ratings are.

  • That’s My $0.02
  • Vince McHugh



Ode to TechNet!

June 14, 2016

Technet 2

How many of you ever attended a “TechNet”? Maybe I should be a little more specific. How many of you (SEs) ever attended a Canon TechNet? I hear some other group called there gathering “TechNet” as well, but I am talking about the ones that Canon used to run down at Disney World (Florida) and Disney Land (CA) in August! It’s where many SEs learned their trade. I can still remember going to my first one and they had “remedial seminars” (for lack of a better word) for new SEs Like Managing Color. That’s where Mike Betsco (Now with Samsung, but back then with Canon) taught me the “Red Car By GM” trick to remember the relationship between RGB and CMYK color. In the early days EFI and eCopy were very involved in presenting their own solutions but towards the end Canon did ALL the presentations with maybe a vendor in the room for support.

The beat up picture above was a luggage tag that they gave out years ago. It finally fell off my bag this weekend and made me think about writing this blog. These were a great 3 days, not only because I got to take my young family on the cheap trip (a couple extra bucks for the room, and their own airfare, meals, and Disney Passes) but it was where I learned my trade as a Systems Engineer (SE). But then Arnold got caught, and TechNets stopped. Today the Canon executives shudder when you bring up the name Technet! But what has replaced it? Nothing really. So instead of taking a couple of years to get an SE up and running it now takes 5 years (IMHO) to get an SE who knows enough to be valuable. I once brought on a Network Engineer that was once our main contact at a large customer. He managed the fleet of Canons and when there was a problem he placed the call. When that customer closed the location he was working at it seemed like a good idea to bring him on as an SE. But even though he was a real good Network Engineer, and was responsible for the MFDs as a Customer (Main Contact) he really didn’t know the MFDs that well and that hurt him (I now think it’s better to promote from within or hire an SE who has done the job already). I had no Technet to send him to, where he could be exposed to 20 – 30 different technology solutions that Canon sold and we supported. As it turned out the economy turned bad and we had to let someone go, last in first out, but I am not sure he would have made it anyway. Not REALLY his fault. Where do you go today to learn to be a real SE, not a copier repair tech who knows a little about computers? You can get a CompTIA NET+ certification and that is a real good start, maybe you can get your company to send you to Fiery, Nuance, Papercut, or UniFLOW training, but God help you if you fail. You probably won’t be going to another school. I miss Technet, I have even proposed that it be done regionally at the Canon Regional Training centers so MOST SEs could drive there, and all it would cost is a hotel and a couple of days of meals. But Canon doesn’t seem interested at all. Maybe now that Mike Betsco is over at Samsung they can run a Technet to train SEs on their solutions.

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh

PS: Maybe when I retire I will start a consulting buisness to train Systems Engineers. 🙂


The Nine Month Trial

February 14, 2016

I am not a big fan of on site trials. Usually when a Sales guy tells me that their Customer wants to do an onsite demo I ask why? What can they see on site that that can’t see in our demo room. Maybe they have some custom application or a Host system that they want to see print correctly. In those cases I ask the Sales person to write up a conditional sale. They negotiate an acceptable price and we set some very well defined conditions. These do not include “if we like the machine” or “If our users are happy with it”. These are two vague and capricious. A conditional like “it must print form our AS400 system and format the pages like our current printer does”. Or maybe “It must be able to scan to email from our Office 365 email server”. These are well defined and achievable conditions that once met we will get the deal. If a customer refuses to sign a conditional sale, be ware, their commitment level is probably not where it needs to be to risk doing that much work.

There are of course exceptions, but it is generally based on the risk reward ratio. If we spend the time to set up an MFD, that’s not that time consuming. But if I have to set up am  UniFLOW, Papercut, or Biscom Server for a trial that takes just as much time to do it for a trial as it would for a real installation. And that’s fine “IF” there is a big enough return on investment. I am very confident in our ability to make our MFDs work with most systems. I like to tell people if your running Windows, Mac, Unix, Linux. AS400, we can and have integrated our devices with these systems. Pretty much anything except Banyan Vines :-). And if you know what that is you’ve been doing networking for a very long time.

About nine months ago one of my top sales woman got me involved in a presale opportunity where the potential customer was currently using Equitrac with Konica Minoilta MFDs to print from a host system processing medical billing. The customer has the need to occasionally reprint jobs for the end users if they didn’t print correctly or at all. The KMBS Branch added some separate software called Phoenix Dispatcher to add this functionality that Equitrac could not accomplish. It did however require the Customer’s IT Dept to do the reprinting of the jobs based on a date and time range.

NECS believes in team selling. Having both a seasoned Sales Parson and a Pre Sales Systems Engineer to better define not only the customer’s needs but what would be the best solution to satisfy that need. You may have heard me say in the past that I believe a true solution is a combination of Hardware, Software, and Know How used to solve a Business Problem. The Pre Sales SE needs to not only understand what the customer is trying to do but why and then consider all the different options available to best meet this need. Sometimes a good SE can help a customer revamp or reinvent how they do a particular process or workflow saving them significant time and money. But that only happens when there is a certain level of trust and a good working relationship between the vendor and the customer.

When we first met with this customer they told us the basic functionality they had was working “OK” but they were unhappy with the reliability of the Konica Minolta MFDs and even more so with the lack of support from the KMBS Branch. They were interested in replacing the KMs with Canons but not all at once. And here is where it gets complicated. After understanding what they were doing now, what they liked and didn’t like, and what they were hoping to accomplish we gave them a couple of options:

  1. Keep using your current Equitrac System with your Phoenix Dispatcher System and we will simply add Canon MFDs with embedded Equitrac MEAP apps to replace the Konica Minoltas that are failing. We would need to order RFIDead Card Readers and do some testing to match the current HID OmniKey Card readers on the KM MFDs. But a number of our vendors (Nuance, Cranel, RFIDeas) said “no problem” we will be able to match the card numbers read by the OmniKey Reader.
  2. . We also proposed replacing the Equitrac System in three  possible ways:
    1. Add a UniFLOW System to run alongside their current Equitrac System and it would eventually be replaced as we replaced more and more KMs with Canons.
    2.   Completely replace the  Equitrac System with the UniFLOW system and use the UniFLOW Universal Release Stations (URS) to release the print jobs on the KMs and the Canons would use their built in UniFOW MEAP app.
    3. The third option we considered was Papercut but we dismissed it early because while it has a nice Archiving feature, there is no mechanism currently in place for mass reprinting or even reprinting a batch of print jobs.

When the KMBS Branch found out that the customer was talking to us and that they were considering replacing some of their Konica Minolta MFDs with Canons they said “You know that you wil need to have two separate input queues for secure printing. One for the KMs and one for  the Canons”. They asked us if this was true and we confirmed that Yes, this is how Equitrac does it. We did tell them that with the Canon UniFLOW System you could have a single secure input queue for BOTH the Canon & the KM if they used the UniFLOW Universal Print Driver.

The first option failed to be satisfactory when we could not get the new RFIDeas Card Readers to read their HID cards exactly the same. We worked with RFIDeas, Cranel, and Nuance and the only solution that they came up with was to dumb down the readers to read a 5 digit card number. This was unacceptable to the Customer. So we moved on to a UniFLOW System.

When we installed the UniFLOW system we loaded UniFLOW MEAP apps on the Canon MFDs and set up UniFLOW URS (Uninflow Release Stations) near each of the Konica Minolta MFDs. While we recommended that NECS take over the service on all of the KMs as well as the Canons the fact that we didn’t actually have to load any software on them or modify them in anyway to use the UniFLOW Release Stations they could if they want to still have the Branch continue to service them until we replaced them with Canons. Two of the things that the Customer REALLY liked about the UniFLOW System were that you could not only use a single Secure Input Queue for multiple MFD manufacturers BUT the End Users could reprint there own documents WITHOUT any third party software (like KM’s Phoenix Dispatcher) on either the Canons or the Konica Minoltas becasue they both show a new print job queue and a previously printed job queue (if activated). This was a big deal for the IT Department because it meant they no longer had to reprint users documents.

So we worked hard, and worked through the different challenges to deliver the perfect solution to this customer, right? Well, not so fast. All that I described above with the UniFLOW System worked as advertised BUT this particular user had two more requirements. The first requirement is  all documents had to be printed in the exact order that they were sent to the Secure Print Queue. And the Second requirement is they all had to print at the rated speed of the Engine (Canon or KM). These two requirements were BOTH do able but NOT with the Universal Print Driver. Technically that’s not true, The Universal Print Driver can print in order and at rated speed unless you print a very large number of single page jobs, which, you guessed it, that is what this customer does. We have never seen a slow down before because we had not dealt with a customer that would print 200 – 500 single page jobs and then release them all at once.

We worked with NTware & Canon for over a month to try to get this resolved and finally had to tell the customer that the only way we could get them to print at rated speed and in order for 200 – 500 single page jobs we would need to use the actual Manufacturer’s Print Driver, which would mean in this case UniFLOW, like Equitrac, would need to use a separate secure input queue for the KMs and the Canons respectfully. The customer was not happy and asked us to keep working on the Universal driver to accomplish all three functions:

1. Print at rated speed

2. Release all the Print Jobs in the same order that the user sent them

3. Use one secure input Print queue for both the Canon and the Konica Minolta MFDs.

We exhausted all of our technical resources and ultimately had them have to pick two. They chose the first two and after all the work we did decided to keep the KMs  on the Equitrac System until they got to the point that they wanted to replace them with Canons. At that point we would move them over to UniFLOW. And when the last KM MFD was replaced they would decommission their Equitrac Server. I know that we proposed this months and months ago but Customers want it all, and to tell you the truth I want to give them it all, whenever possible. But sometimes technology has limitations. I am not sure why this customer didn’t kick us out, except to say I think they were REALLY unhappy with their current Vendor. It took us finally saying “no” we can only do two of the three requirements to get them to say OK. We can live with that. So we did a nine month trial and we won the deal. This felt like a bare knuckle 15 round fight. When we hit the road blocks that we were not able to completely overcome my very Seasons Sales Person was beside herself, and not happy with me because it had never happened before. But when all was said and done and we won the deal she understood just how difficult the technical requirements were to meet. I think the Customer stayed with us because we demonstrated a commitment to keep working with them to give them the best possible solution that was available.  And that is what they got!

It was a tough, challenging nine month trial, but we won the deal. And somehow that makes it as I look back on all the effort it took, worth it!

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh






NECS Fax Anywhere brings Faxing into the 21st Century!

March 21, 2015

How would you like to turn every one of your Canon, Samsung, or Konica Minolta MFDs into a 21st Century Fax, WITHOUT adding a fax board, or a POTS (plain old telephone system) phone line or even an analog to digital convertor. You won’t need any of these with the NECS Fax Anywhere functionality.

The NECS Fax Anywhere enables all your MFDs to be able to fax! We can provide 800 numbers or local numbers, and there are no long distant charges. Sound pretty good, doesn’t it? It gets better. With this new NECS Fax Anywhere functionality you also get an Audit trail. You can prove that you sent or received a fax on a certain day, at a certain time.

The NECS Fax Anywhere functionality comes in three flavors:

1) Completely Cloud Based (no software or hardware required on your network).

2) Hybrid Cloud Solution (a Small Software Package is loaded on a Windows Server on your network).

3) On Site Fax server (can be enabled with redundant fax server support in the cloud).

We can also provide Smart Device (iphone, Android) Fax apps, and Fax via email and even fax enable your core applications with our NECS Fax Anywhere solution. Let’s face it faxing is still a part of business in our modern offices. Sometimes faxing is either the right medium or the only medium to deliver certain documents. NECS Fax Anywhere gives you all the convenience of faxing without the old fashion fax machine, or fax board, or expensive phone line.

Fax Servers are better than network (print to fax) faxes because you get better reporting and audit trails. But you also can get advanced routing, or direct inbound dialing. Do you want each of your sales people to have their own fax number that comes directly to their own email? NECS Fax Anywhere can provide this. But do you want that same sales person to be able to walk up to an MFD or Digital Copier that has no fax board or phone line and be able to send out a fax that will come from their personal fax account? NECS Fax Anywhere can provide all this functionality.

We at NECS are excited about offering Fax Anywhere Functionality to our customers!

That’s My $0.02

Vince McHugh