Eliminate the Cost, Hassle and Time Associated With Printing and Distributing Enterprise Reports

Like most large businesses, the magazine relies on large reports to distribute information to manage their business. They produce over 1,000 unique financial reports in their central data center for use by their staff around the world. These reports are currently printed on large production printers then physically distributed to their offices around the country.

This process proved to be very inefficient and costly. The cost of producing these reports strains the company’s IT budget, both in terms of paper, direct printer costs (including acquisition and maintenance) printer supplies and in terms of personnel costs associated with the delivering of reports around the company. In addition, the cost of physical distribution (courier) also added to the inefficiencies.

Secondly, the availability of the report information to the end user was too slow for today’s business climate. Business processes were being delayed while the knowledge worker waited for the report they needed to complete their assigned task. The reports were distributed in a very traditional way; they were centrally printed and manually distributed around the company, both locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. This “print and distribute” approach was a hindrance in terms of getting their reports out to knowledge workers in an efficient and timely fashion. The problem was exacerbated during month end closings because trial balances would be run, put in the queue to be printed, delivered to financial management personnel and reviewed.
After the appropriate corrections were made, the reports were re-run, sent through to be printed and delivered to management for review again.

The Challenge (continued)

This process was repeated until no more changes needed to be made and the final version of the report is printed for general distribution to the appropriate personnel. Keeping track of interim report versions, and ensuring proper security of those interim versions proved to be very challenging, and time consuming for management. Reports that were printed and then distributed to outlying offices (both in North America and around the World) could take hours and even days to end up on the knowledge worker’s desk, delaying business processes and reducing productivity around the organization.

The Solution

Plus Technologies worked very closely with the customer to integrate RM Plus, our electronic report management and distribution system and OM Plus our advanced print spooler software into the customer’s report distribution environment. This solution performs multiple functions after report creation through to the availability of a report for a knowledge worker and paid for itself in about 9 months.

A pilot was implemented for testing in a controlled deployment. Twenty reports were chosen along with twenty knowledge workers to be part of the pilot. Upon successful completion of this pilot, the solution was rolled out to over 200 knowledge workers for more than 1000 reports.

RM Plus performs the following functions:

RMPlus provides quick, easy access to computer reports!

The Mainframe creates the report and “prints” it to a virtual destination within OM Plus. This required no changes to the mainframe application.

OM Plus re-labels the report with a descriptive name. This makes the report name more intuitive to the knowledge worker.

OM Plus delivers the report to the RM Plus Document Repository. No operator intervention is required.

Reports are indexed, assigned security, and stored in the file system. At this point, the system notes report versioning. This permits managers to review and re-run (if necessary) financial reports prior to general distribution.

Users can access reports from their desk-tops or from their browser and view just the reports or pages they need to perform their function. All printing is done locally on network lasers when/if needed.

Report Manager Plus-Easy and affordable report distribution and management

RM Plus is an electronic report management and distribution system that connects every report generating application to every end user throughout your organization. It is an easy-to-use, flexible yet cost effective solution that captures reports from any enterprise application and stores them in a centralized repository accessible to your users 24/7!

RM Plus automatically captures report output from multiple enterprise system platforms, organizes and indexes the reports, applies security rules and distributes individual pages or bundles of report pages across your network or the Internet. End users can view, print and download reports – or selected portions of a report – on demand. Data contained in reports is easily found and extracted electronically and can be imported into spreadsheets or databases for further analysis. No more re-keying report data for further analysis!

The Benefits of RM Plus

o Eliminates the cost of printing, report distribution and storing enterprise reports–No more report distribution costs, printer maintenance, toner costs, binders, file cabinets consuming floor space or courier expenses. Don’t let the cost of printing your reports get out of line!

o Instant Access is provided to your report-hungry users. Users have rapid document delivery that is secure and instant access to their reports and documents from anywhere on the web.

o Increases Security and Compliance by controlling access to cabinets, folder, files and pages. Eliminates unauthorized viewing of customer data and provides a detailed, time stamped audit trail of all document delivery and end user activity.

o Improves Customer Service by accessing documents in seconds eliminating the manual retrieval of reports. Automating report delivery to your knowledge workers increases their productivity and the company’s bottom line.

o Streamlines Report Access from Multiple Systems as RM Plus provides a single access point to all report types, no matter where they came from. Whether they are mainframe reports, UNIX applications or Windows Server application reports RM Plus will capture them and make them easily and almost instantly available.

o Data contained in reports is easily found, viewed and securely stored to prevent unauthorized viewing and it is easy for document sharing to take place amongst multiple people.

o Mine and export data in reports to other applications like Excel for further data analysis.

o Creates One Centralized Report Management Repository that is very cost effective. Your users learn one system to access all their archived reports.

o Why RM Plus Report Management?

Here’s why report distribution and management makes sense, especially with the cost effective solution from Plus Technologies:

Eliminates printing distributing and storing of enterprise reports – Significant cost reductions associated with electronic vs physical distribution of reports

No more printer costs, binders, file cabinets consuming floor space, or courier expenses – Improve the bottom line and increase velocity of delivery of business critical report data

Quickly view Reports online, virtually immediately after report is created – Multiple people have access to the same report immediately and simultaneously improving access to business critical data

Data contained in reports is easily found and extracted – Extract data from reports electronically and import into spreadsheets or databases for further analysis. No more re-keying report data

Securely manage who viewed a report and when – No unauthorized viewing of reports for compliance or business reasons

Other Solutions

OM Plus – is advanced, intelligent spooling software designed to seamlessly complement application software programs used by corporations and institutions. Without impacting the application software program, OM Plus will ingest outgoing enterprise print jobs and provide advanced job delivery functions. OM Plus will provide ‘confirmed delivery’ of documents and provide an enterprise level monitor of all print jobs and destinations. In addition, OM Plus provides users and/or administrators a host of tools to automate the printing function. OM Plus users receive benefit from increased help desk productivity, centralized control of print environment, intelligent routing, reduced print related errors, printing assurance, increased security and more.

Brief Introduction to the Plan-9 Operating System

Plan 9 is a distributed operating system made by Bell Labs. The OS is free and open source. Plan 9 is similar to Unix in some ways, but Plan 9 is meant to be an improvement to Unix and POSIX.

FUN FACT: The mascot for Plan 9 is a rabbit named “Glenda”.

Plan 9 has some features familiar to Unix users. For instance, Plan 9 uses ProcFS and applies the “everything is a file” concept. However, applications from Unix, Linux, and other systems do not work on Plan 9. Some Linux software works on the Linux emulator (linuxemu). Although, the emulator is not yet complete.

The default shell is “rc”. Many of the usual Unix commands (like ls, cp, rm, etc.) can be used. However, despite the same names, the code used to make these commands are entirely different. Plan 9 does not use any GNU software, neither will any work with help from linuxemu. rc is similar to Bash. However, there are some differences. While Bash’s syntax is ALGOL-like, rc uses C-like syntax.

A GUI is also available to Plan 9 named “rio”. rio is a windowing system. rio does not rely on display servers (such as X11). In fact, rio functions as a display server and window manager. rio supports the alpha bit (transparency).

Plan 9 uses a hybrid kernel which has attributes of both monolithic kernels and microkernels. The kernel supports a variety of platforms such as x86, x86-64, MIPS, SPARC, etc.. Plan 9 has also been ported to ARM platforms such as the Raspberry Pi motherboard.

A hybrid kernel has characteristics of both microkernels and monolithic kernels. Inter-Process Communication (IPC), thread management, filesystems, and drivers reside in the kernel space.

Plan 9 is best known for its 9P network protocol. 9P (also called Styx or “Plan 9 Filesystem Protocol”) also serves as a communications protocol between the internal components of the system. The fourth edition of Plan 9 introduced a modified 9P protocol called 9P2000.

FUN FACT: The Styx protocol used in the Inferno operating system is a variant of 9P.

To avoid confusion, it may help to know a little about the Inferno operating system, which is sometimes mistaken as some form of Plan 9. Inferno is a distributed operating system originally made by Bell Labs (like Plan 9), but is now maintained by Vita Nuova. Inferno is neither Unix or POSIX and its primary use is to be a programming environment for the Limbo programming language. Inferno is not a typical operating system. Rather, its kernel is a virtual machine called “dis” that runs on a pre-existing OS (such as Linux, Windows, Plan 9, FreeBSD, etc.).

Linux Training Online – Using the Linux CD Command to Change Directory – Linux System Administration

As a new user looking for Linux training, you need to learn how to use commands. And one of the most commonly used file system commands is the CD (change directory) command.

Using the Linux CD Command

The CD (change directory) command is used to change from your current directory (folder) into a different directory.

You need to change into a directory to do Linux administration tasks like:

  • create a new file or remove an existing file
  • copy or move a file to a different directory
  • edit and modify a file, such as a text configuration file for a Linux server
  • create a new directory or remove an existing directory
  • copy or move a directory to a different directory

Linux Commands Training Tips: The System Administration commands, examples and concepts covered here apply to ALL Linux distributions, including: Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Slackware, Debian, SUSE and openSUSE.

Linux CD Command Example – Changing into a Directory Below the Current Directory

To change directory into a directory “below” the current one, you type in CD and a space and the name of the directory you want to change into.

For example, to change into a directory named “letters”, you run the following:

$ CD letters

To change into a different directory, just replace “letters” with a different name.

Linux Training Tips: A directory inside the current one is considered “below” the current directory, and is called a sub directory.

Linux CD Command Example – Changing Up One Directory (Level)

To change directory up one directory (level), you type in CD and a space and then two dots (periods).

For example, if you have moved into the directory named “letters” and want to go back (up) to your previous directory, you run the following:

$ CD ..

Linux Training Tips: The directory above the current one is also called the “parent”.

Beyond This “Linux Training Online” ArticleThe Linux CD command is used in many other ways to navigate around the file system.

To continue your Linux training, you also need to learn how to use the CD command to: change to the root directory, change using an absolute path, and also easily change into a directory parallel to the current directory.

You can clearly and easily see all of the concepts and commands shown above (and lots more!) by watching a Linux training video.

With this method of Linux training, you can see how to use a command step-by-step and also hear how to run the command. This is a very easy way to learn how to use Linux.