Big Data Trend Continues with New Pharos Solution

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Jun 4, 2014

Bea·con (noun)

: a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.

: someone or something (such as a country) that guides or gives hope to others.

This term is fitting for Pharos’s next generation of Mindful Print Solutions (its new definition of MPS). InfoTrends recently spoke with Pharos President Keith Nickoloff, CEO Kevin Pickhardt, and CTO Fred Schempp to discuss the release of this new offering. Pharos sees this product as “the next evolution” of its user-driven strategy. Mr. Nickoloff continued to emphasize that “devices don’t print, people do.” Looking at printing from that perspective, it starts to make sense how an analytics-based solution like Beacon can help organizations make smarter and more cost-effective printing decisions. Like a beacon, the solution can help guide users on a new path.

What is Pharos Beacon?

Pharos Beacon is a multi-vendor technology platform for corporate, government and higher education institutions that provides the user with on-demand, real-time data to manage output and devices. The goal of Beacon’s Doculytics is to provide decision support through useful analytics to ease the pain of change management.

Beacon was first launched under an OEM relationship with Konica-Minolta and is the basis for KM’s Optimized Print Services (OPS) tool. It has since transformed into a user-centric, modular, and cloud-enabled platform with APIs and protocols that allow for third-party integration. It is also designed to integrate with Pharos’s traditional on-premises products, Uniprint and Blueprint. It will be available as an addition to Uniprint 9.0 also announced by Pharos on June 3rd.

The Beacon platform is cloud-enabled, but Pharos understands that many customers may not be quite ready to move into the cloud it also allows for on-premises or hybrid configuration. The majority of the solution is on the Pharos cloud, giving it a small footprint inside the customer’s individual firewalls. Not only does this require fewer company resources, but it makes for easy installation.  As part of this solution, feature enhancements will be accessible to customers (as a simple and at user discretion automated upgrade) about once every quarter.

What is it like?

The customizable dashboards provide a comprehensive view of data across the organization. The device management dashboard shows data in a flexible, configurable display that is similar to an Excel worksheet; while data cannot be shown visually, this functionality may appear in future versions of the software.

The document tracking dashboard provides visualizations of real-time usage data that can be broken down by geography, department, individual employee, printer, or document type. Not only is the dashboard intuitive, but it allows the end user to view and analyze data across various data sub-segments.

How is it different?

According to Pharos, data quality is one of the primary differentiators of this solution. A data quality meter helps ensure that device meters and document-level analysis are concurrent.

Also, Pharos has traditionally sold to the enterprise market, but this scalable solution allows Pharos to play its hand in the SMB market. Additionally, Pharos plans to move down-market and sell through more indirect channels as the solution allows for integration with third-party apps and does not require installation by a Pharos representative.

Lastly, the platform is multi-vendor and multi-tenant meaning any dealer or OEM can view all its customers together or individually through a tiered layout, providing a spectrum of aggregated and discrete data.

What does InfoTrends think about it?

We at InfoTrends mention in our 2014 Road Map the growing importance of analytics and big data within MPS and the increased amount of data collected in print environments. Other companies are also beginning to jump on the bandwagon with these big data solutions. Pharos’s closest competitor is Xerox’s Newfield IT technology with the recent release of its Document Analytics Service that is especially appealing to a pure data analyst.

Collected data must be transformed to provide insights into the goings-on of a printing environment. We believe that the Pharos Beacon’s Doculytics display of these insights will appeal to the business manager trying to assess printing practices to facilitate change.

The shift towards big data analytics allows for a company to realize workflow automation opportunities and for an individual to adopt a continuous environmentally-friendly mindset. A mindful solution provides a win for all involved parties.

*Find out more about InfoTrends’s Solutions and Services approach to analytics in our recent report Making Sense of Data: Analytics Opportunities for Document Imaging Vendors.

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