Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra simplifies and diversifies using Sharp MFPs
Sharp MFP solution coupled with Castelle FaxPress brought 'music to their ears'
While a troupe of more than 80 musicians makes magic happen onstage at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO), there is a behind-the-scenes team that keeps everything moving along smoothly, allowing this musical magic to reach community schools throughout the state of Indiana.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1930 by German conductor Ferdinand Schaefer. Through the years, the group of volunteer musicians who split the original ticket sales grew into a professional orchestra that performs more than 200 concerts each year at the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre and at Conner Prairie Living History Museum in Indianapolis, as well as sites around the state of Indiana.
Time for an upgrade
A few years back, management at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra realized it needed to replace a number of disparate copiers and printers that were used on a daily basis. The ongoing cost of the ink cartridges and the labor to manage the consumables was very expensive. There was also a concern about the cost of various fax machines and phone lines in use. While the office had a digital phone system, employees were still using a number of analog lines that cost approximately $25 per line.
ISO also wanted to eliminate as many fax lines as possible and move to digital faxing without losing faxing capabilities on each floor. Finally, the ISO wanted to keep the same fax and phone numbers they currently had and find a solution that enabled them to use those numbers for both fax and phone.
Network Solution with Sharp MFP
After careful research and several planning meetings, ISO turned to Sharp, a leading document systems manufacturer, and Sharp Business Systems of Indianapolis, Sharp’s direct and sales service branch.
Tim Ringlespaugh, Director of Information Technology, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, commented "After Sharp Business Systems (SBS) of Indianapolis visited with us, it was apparent that they had considered how to provide a total solution for several inefficiencies. They provided a very sound cost analysis, and were able to show us directly how a Sharp solution could improve those numbers. The choice to go with Sharp was obvious."
SBS of Indianapolis placed a multifunctional peripheral (MFP) on each floor that could be fully networked and still provide the ability to carry out all of the most-used features (copying, scanning, faxing).
The ISO has 10 Sharp MFPs, with varying models throughout the building depending on usage. These include the AR-M355N, AR-M550N, MX-3501N, and AR-M257. Not only did these 10 MFPs replace more than 30 individual printers, they helped to streamline the number of vendors and invoices the ISO had to work with.
Faxing Made Easy with Sharp and Castelle
In addition to selecting an MFP for every floor, the ISO decided to outfit each MFP with a Castelle Fax Press module and the Sharp OSA development platform. Sharp OSA® technology is a development platform designed for seamless integration with network-based applications. Designed to deliver the power of customization to the customer, the Sharp OSA development platform allows users to leverage their back-end systems right from the MFP control panel. This allowed ISO to eliminate 10 fax machines and the recurring cost of 10 analog phone lines used for those fax machines.
"For us, faxing was always a big challenge," said Ringlespaugh. "In particular, our education department has to send out a large number of faxes daily. We send faxes to schools throughout Indiana for our Discovery concert series—a special music program designed specifically for students. We have to fax agendas, waivers and other materials because it is very tough to reach school administrators or teachers via e-mail."
Sharp OSA software provides ISO employees access to all of the Castelle fax server functions right at the Sharp MFP. This eliminated the need for a fax board or standalone fax machines and provided PC faxing, inbound routing, and all tracking and auditing features needed. It also gave some employee's a phone number that was both their PBX direct dial and their fax number. In all, the ISO was able to eliminate nearly $400 in monthly phone bills.
"We have to fax more than 80 schools, but also receive multiple faxes from each of these schools in return. It got to be very time-consuming. So we purchased a Castelle fax server to help with fax blasting. Then we were able to fully integrate it with our new Sharp solution so that digital faxes can be quickly and easily received and either printed right at the MFP or routed to a particular recipient via e-mail. It has been a huge time saver," said Ringlespaugh.
"When it comes down to it, we are a not-for-profit agency, so we have to be very smart about how we use our budget," said Ringlespaugh. "In fact, once we shared the cost analysis with our CFO, she immediately saw the benefits and was the first person to give up her personal printer."
A consolidated Sharp solution has allowed the ISO to save on consumables and the amount of energy expended. They’ve also cut down on manpower, eliminating the need for a technician to spend close to 20 hours a week fixing smaller printers around the office.
Ringlespaugh continued, saying, "Sharp Business Systems of Indianapolis was very helpful during the integration process. The SBS team actually suggested the Castelle fax server solution. Whereas most times you find some competition between vendors, both Sharp and Castelle were willing to work together. There was no blame game, just a desire to help us install a solution that fit all of our needs."
ISO officially went online with the Sharp solution in May of 2007, but has plans to expand the system in the future. "The system has performed very well, and the support we receive from Sharp is fantastic," says Ringlespaugh. "We continue to make other changes to our network as well, and expect to continue to expand the functionality of our MFPs, which Sharp OSA software allows us to do quite easily. It's a gateway for features we didn’t originally consider, but as we roll out new applications, such as Sharepoint and other Microsoft products, Sharp OSA technology is going to help us tap into the full range of capabilities of these products and help us continue to improve workflow."