“UniPrint is much more than simple printing, it is industrial document rendering.”
– David Shelby, Senior Data Systems Analyst, Southern Company
UniPrint maps out a powerful printing strategy for Southern Company
With 4.3 million customers and more than 41 000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the southeastern United States.
Backed by approximately 26 000 employees and with earnings of $1.59 billion in 2005, it ranks #165 on the Fortune 500 list.
When your territory covers most of Georgia, Alabama, southeastern Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle – 120 000 square miles and 4.3 million customers – you need detailed maps to monitor and maintain your infrastructure, and provide reliable service.
You rely on your system not only to produce those maps in large sizes and vast numbers, but also to accurately reproduce unique symbols that provide crucial information in the field.
Southern Company’s Citrix server-based environment provided excellent central management capabilities, but was a major headache for printing.
With many different printers operating on the company network in local and outlying locations, network administrators were constantly battling to integrate new printer drivers and synch various print jobs.
It was time-consuming, expensive, and frustrating for both the users and administrators.
Data transfer was also a problem. Huge map files mean huge download time, especially for remote offices with low bandwidth connections.
The existing system strained Southern Company’s network, resulting in inefficiency and lost productivity
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The Solution Above and Beyond All Others
Southern Company required a solution that could provide extreme printing functionality, would be simple to install and integrate, easy to maintain and use, and would be cost effective.
Enter UniPrint’s software-based printing solution.
In the Citrix environment, IT administrators were facing conflicts between hundreds of unique printers and drivers.
UniPrint eliminates those printer driver incompatibility issues with a universal Portable Document Format (PDF)-based printer driver.
The software simply converts files to PDF before they are re-directed to a network or desktop printer.
With only one driver to deal with, printer driver conflicts became a non-issue for Southern Company.
And since UniPrint integrates seamlessly with a Citrix and/or Microsoft Terminal Server environment, no extra hardware or software was required.
UniPrint even solved the company’s bandwidth issues because the compressed PDF files were so much smaller and easier to transfer.
The Ultimate Test
UniPrint was put to the test in August of 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated huge sections of Southern Company’s territory.
The company had to act fast to check, repair, and restore service to its customers, which meant generating a lot of maps in a hurry.
David Shelby, Southern Company’s Senior Data Systems Analyst, commended UniPrint because it came through when it counted.
“We conduct regular tests, so we knew we could rely on UniPrint to print 1,000 maps at a time without issue,” Shelby explains.
“When Katrina hit, the system cranked out maps day and night. It was a tremendous help to us in a very difficult situation.”
The Benefits for Southern Company
UniPrint delivered exactly what Southern Company needed based on its unique requirements:
- Easy installation and integration in Citrix Environment
- Virtually no printing-related management required for IT administrators
- Much more reliable and efficient printing with UniPrint universal driver
- Dramatically improved file compression for faster download
- Accurate reproduction of essential engineering symbols
- Support from UniPrint’s dedicated, knowledgeable team
- Increased productivity
- Cost effective
“UniPrint was simple to install, and because it’s just a client/server application, it proved to be easy for the end user,” Shelby says.
“Now we don’t have to waste time dealing with 400 different printer drivers, and administrators don’t have to map printers onto print jobs. Because we’re now working with PDFs, file transfer is faster and printing is much more efficient.”
“We are extremely satisfied with UniPrint’s products, services, and price. UniPrint is much more than simple printing. It’s industrial document rendering.”