Changing the MPS software game: The Cartos Suite Origin Story

Person using the Cartos Suite on a printer

Superhero origin stories are mainstream, with tales of how Wonder Woman and Captain America got their start delighting audiences nationwide. Origin stories help us connect to what motivates people and led us to be where we are today. The origin story of Cartos Suite, a collection of cloud-based managed print services (MPS) applications from In Time Tec, gives insight into how the project started. A little inspiration from Halo, some experience, and a willingness to innovate combined to make a suite of software products we are proud of.

Cartos Suite was born out of a need to make a difference in MPS. In 2014, a former Chief Technology Officer of an OEM’s MPS program joined In Time Tec. From their point of view, the current ways of delivering MPS fleet assessments were inefficient. MPS providers face many challenges, including relying on paper-based mapping, efficiently creating optimized future fleet designs, locating detailed device specifications, reliably generating accurate pricing, cumbersome employee training, and employee turnover.

Paper mapping of printing devices can be awkward and often means passing around a sheet of physical paper to make updates. Employees can be forced to Google device specifications to make needed recommendations, leading to different people having different specifications for the same printer. Employee training was difficult, as the need for mapping skills created challenges in training new hires. Relying on paper maps and locally saved files backfires, when documents are accidentally taken or destroyed by employees leaving the company.

Cartos Suite was born out of a need to find a better way. The former CTO had already started working on the software, but progress was slow. They wanted to speed up the development, so they proposed it to In Time Tec. It was a perfect match, as In Time Tec had been looking for a project like Cartos Suite for a while.

Our initial foray into software product development started in legal. The legal field was where we had connections, so it became the focus of our first projects. However, the true passion of In Time Tec’s leadership was printing, with our leadership offering more than 100 years of combined printing and imaging experience. We were intrigued by the possibility of developing a revolutionary MPS product.

In Time Tec agreed to help bring the CTO’s dream to life and develop the software. Within a week, a team started working on what would eventually become the Cartos Suite.

All ideas need a name, of course. Surprisingly, the inspiration for Cartos Suite came from the video game Halo. The Cartographer is a room providing access to records and schematics of facilities, in the game. Since we were looking to improve MPS device mapping and data collection, the shortened name Cartos seemed like a natural fit.

With Cartos Suite, In Time Tec wanted to make tools enabling MPS providers to save time, reduce costs, and win more deals. To start with, In Time Tec examined how to best present MPS data to clients.

We wanted to find the best way to quickly map a current fleet and design an optimized future fleet. This idea became our Fleet Design tool. Fleet Design allows users to digitally map the printer fleet and build an engaging presentation based on the design. Initially, the fleet reports were only available as PDFs. Over time, Fleet Design evolved and gained the ability to generate custom PowerPoints for better visual storytelling.

Developing the Fleet Design tool made us realize the need for reliable data. Without reliable data, MPS assessments are useless. When building Cartos Suite, we created our own Device Data Service (DDS). DDS is our database of over 13,000 popular MPS devices. Each device can have 140+ data points, including consumables, pricing, print speeds, power consumption, footprint, images, supported paper trays, and much more. Developing this database required researching data from HP, Konica Minolta, Canon, and many other OEMs. The DDS solves the issue of different technicians having different data and provides a strong foundation for the Cartos Suite.

After developing DDS, we created our Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) tool. TCO uses DDS to enable MPS providers to estimate the current cost of existing print fleets and compare it to their proposed future fleet cost. With easy to create visuals, you can make a strong case as to why your suggestions are best for the client by comparing pricing and benefits.

Finally came the Asset Advisor tool. Asset Advisor works with DDS to quickly allow salespeople, fleet designers, and analysts to find device specifications. Eliminate the stress of finding an unfamiliar device by rapidly looking up the information you need wherever you are. Our Asset Advisor recommendation engine allows users to take unknown devices and compare them to devices they already sell. When everyone is operating with the same data, recommendations are consistent, easier to compare, and more accurate.

Reflecting on how Cartos Suite began helps us appreciate where we are today. Contact us to find out how Cartos Suite can help you on your MPS journey.

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