Our client company provided their customers with desktop
publishing, printing and duplication services. Their desktop publishing
service included the design of logos, business stationary and personal
resumes. The printing and duplication services included black and white
and color printing from business cards and letters to full-size construction
The typical customer may utilize the desktop publisher to create original
content or they may deliver their own artwork and content on diskette,
Zip or Jaz drives. To meet customer expectations and demand for the
latest imaging software and hardware, the client company determined
a need to upgrade their existing hardware and software platforms. In
addition to keeping current, the client company also wanted to provide
a foundation on which to offer more internet services.
Each client company store consisted of an Ethernet network: Novell Netware
or Windows NT server, Power Macintosh Computers, high-end Xerox printers
and high-performance Fiery print processors. The Mac OS7 based computers
utilized many of the Adobe imaging products such as Photoshop, Illustrator,
PageMaker as well as Microsoft Office Professional.
The legacy hardware platform was being outclassed by newer
models and was replaced with new Macintosh G3 and Pentium II/III powered
machines. The deployment of computers using the latest Pentium processor
outnumbers that of the new Macintosh in an effort to move to a PC-only
platform. Furthermore, the software products were outdated and required
upgrades to new versions for both Macintosh and Windows.
Thor was brought in as an on-source solution to the project from the
beginning. The scope of the project included the deployment of new hardware
and software to 1,000 stores across the continental United States including
Puerto Rico. Where necessary, legacy equipment could not be discarded
and was integrated into the new system. The integration with new and
existing high-end Fiery devices and Xerox printers was of key importance.
The existing network at each client companys store had to be maintained
yet configured for future expansion. The redesign included a structured
TCP/IP network and standardized Windows NT Server.
Using our in-depth consultative approach to identify business challenges
and recommend matching business solutions, Thor developed a team with
experience in developing and deploying computer hardware and software
on a large scale. Because the client companys computer environment
was so diverse, Thor provided a team experienced in multi-platform computer
technology including desktops, servers and networks. This included platforms
such as Windows 95, Windows NT, Novell Netware, and UNIX. Our team was
also skilled in network and could design and implement TCP/IP networks
and convert from iPX and NetBEUI. Lastly, the Thor consultants had experience
in integrating all of this technology into specialized printing environments.
Thor worked very closely with the client companys headquarters
to specify, install and configure the equipment and software for the
stores with new equipment and the stores with legacy equipment that
was required to be integrated or upgraded to the new environment. The
legacy equipment integrations was a particular challenge our client
had been facing due to the fact that it required knowledge of many older
systems and how to fix a problem with little or no assistance. Thor
professionals were able to take on this issue.
During the process, Thor was given the responsibility of documenting
the entire project, including the configuration of each piece of hardware
and software, as well as on-site installation instructions for field
Thor performed the installations and beta testing from a separate development
lab and later performed test installations in the field. Upon the success
of these, other staff was brought on board to perform nationwide field
installations and upgrades based on our documentation.
This project has provided the client company with an updated hardware
and software platform to satisfy current and future customer demand.
The new TCP/IP network design has allowed the rapid deployment of Internet
connections in many client companys stores. It also provided a
foundation on which to build future service offerings.