Labrador, The Pedigreed Solution11 Jun, 2009 By: Editorial Staff imageSource
Labrador, The Pedigreed Solution
Last year when Systel, one of the largest independent dealers in the country, began looking for print management software that would be cost-effective with various applications among their 12,000 customers, they found evaluating all the options on the market challenging,
thinking the ideal solution did not exist. That was until they discovered Labrador Solutions, and their suite of print management & meter retrieval software products.
“One of our criteria was that we wanted the information that we obtained in the meter readings from our customers to automatically integrate with our billing software,” remarked Keith Allison, Systel President & CEO. “We put a call in to Gary McGill, who’d worked with us over
the past 20 years each time we’d gone through a major upgrade of our OMD hardware/software. We were pleasantly surprised to find that he was now the Chief Development Officer for Labrador Solutions. Needless to say we did not even have to ask the question whether or not Labrador
was compatible with our OMD system. Gary said it was not only compatible with OMD, but also e-automate & other billing systems. “
“We had all of our personnel from our Chief Financial Officer to our Integration Technicians sit in on Labrador’s webinars, and found Labrador to be designed with the dealer in mind.”
According to Allison, “We knew that Gary and the development team at Labrador must have had substantial dealer input in the software design as we found some things, such as billing system integration, non-network device support, and automatic upgrades made the software more
dealer friendly, In addition, we found the various reports made available through Labrador, such as their toner yield analysis, territory management reports, and fleet audit reports did more than just provide us meter readings. Their service reports & auditing reports help both
our sales & service departments to not only retrieve info but to manage the accounts in a timely way.”
Systel discovered that Labrador had been working directly with a dealer in the development of the software, yet were actively looking for a larger dealer with a large base and large accounts with complex networks, in order to expand the abilities of Labrador’s next version
(which was released in January 2009).
According to McGill, “We had worked for several years with a smaller dealer & were looking to partner with a larger dealer for our next version of Labrador, which we felt would expand our product to address the needs of both our smaller dealer base and our larger customers
using our Enterprise version. We found Systel to be an ideal candidate and offered to partner with them for the development of our second release.” Since partnering in 2008, Systel and Labrador have continued to work together to provide what Allison calls, “Print management
software designed with a dealer in mind.” He continues, “At a price that allows us to capture all of our competitive units in our accounts without paying a premium or license fee for each unit we add.”
Once such challenge brought to Labrador’s attention by Systel’s staff was that some of their customers’ IT personnel were reluctant to have polling type software residing on their networks without thorough testing. As a result of this, Labrador’s newest product is scheduled
for release in the summer of 2009 - The Account Executive. This system allows the software to reside in one of the MFDs at the customer’s location, designated as the “master unit,” and will provide full reporting without having to load Labrador software onto the customer’s
desktop or server. In many cases, according to Allison, this allows the Labrador software to be approved by the purchaser of the MFDs, and expedites the installation process. It also allows the customer and their personnel to evaluate their volume during the course of a product
demonstration without having to intrude on the customer’s network.
Other users of the Labrador product also speak highly of its capabilities, its cost efficiency, and getting information not only from your managed devices but those that you hope to manage in the future as well. In 2008, Commonwealth Technology in Lexington, KY developed a
relationship with Labrador as part of their “go-to-market” plan for Managed Print Services. According to both Barbara Isert and Shannon Carpenter, “We needed a tool that allowed us to capture data and provide excellent reporting yet didn’t cost a fortune to use. After reviewing
many alternatives, all very strong tools, we decided to move forward with Labrador.” [www.labradorsolutions.com]
Another new option will soon be available for release: Labrador Pedigree. With this flagship version, dealers and end-users will be able to apply rules that automatically route print jobs away from expensive devices. This offers the customer substantial savings while
increasing dealer profits by driving more impressions to the dealer’s devices. Other features are scheduled to be released with the new “Pedigree.”
According to Robert Tomlinson, with Better Quality Business Systems of New Albany, IN, Labrador has developed a product that will be cost effective and affordable for the dealer regardless of their size or the amount of devices that is needed to monitor, and without the dealer
having to spend $50,000 to $100,000 just to get started.
McGill cites that Labrador is compatible with most sales software programs where the information is automatically downloadable, such as for Compass and DocuAudit. According to Allison, Labrador software notifies their sales department the instant that any foreign device is
attached. And McGill says they’ve benefited greatly from their partnership with Systel, an authorized dealer of Ricoh, Konica Minolta, HP and Panasonic products, with (9) offices in the Carolinas and Georgia. “They have a huge, diversified MIF with one account where they are
managing over 400 MFDs & 500 printers in one location with 150 subnets. This type of laboratory assures Labrador customers the product is going to provide accurate reporting in almost any environment.”
By partnering with dealers such as Systel, Labrador Solutions has continued to stay close to the pulse of what is needed for today’s successful dealership, as dealers continue to evolve in the arena of print management.