SBS 2003 Faxing defined [book excerpt]

Good day mates – I am harry brelsford posting up pages from my Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book (day purple book) for your consumption pleasure. Today we are into the faxing chapter – enjoy this read. Note I will post up until SBS 2008 ships!


Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!


SBS Faxing Defined!

One of the first hurdles to overcome when generating excitement for the faxing function is to educate both yourself and the SBS users as to what faxing really is. In this secular world of atoms, bricks, and mortar, people have long known faxing as the capability to feed a page into a desktop device and send the contents of the page to another fax machine at a distant location. The SBS faxing function, shown in detail in Figure 9-1, includes:

                      Sending and receiving faxes via the fax modem attached to the SBS server machine

                      SBS’s capability to save faxes to a folder titled Inbox (see the Inbox folder in Figure 9-1)

                      SBS’s capability to print faxes automatically to a network printer (see the Fax Printer in Figure 9-1)

                      SBS’s capability to e-mail the faxes to a designated recipient (see the SBS User Workstation in Figure 9-1)

                      SBS’s capability to save faxes in Windows SharePoint Services (WSS in Figure 9-1)



Figure 9-1

Basic SBS faxing function.

Outbound Faxes

One of the first questions SBS users ask regarding faxing is “How do you get the document into the computer?” This question, when unanswered, poses such a mental block that I’ve seen small businesses not embrace the powerful SBS fax capabilities. Here is the answer to this “fear of faxing” question. In reality, you will continue to use your existing fax machine for odd-sized outgoing documents, such as Dilbert comic strips that you’re faxing to friends and family. You will likely continue to use the existing fax machine to transmit documents, such as letters, that need your signature (although later I’ll show you how to scan your signature for your letters). And you’ll probably use your fax machine to transmit handwritten notes. So there, I’ve now said it and clarified a major point of contention surrounding SBS faxing: You’ll most likely continue to use your existing fax machine for very specific reasons.

But outbound faxing is in no way a total loser, either. Remember way back (in the first third of the book) when I discussed the landscaping company? The CEO saw his greatest potential with outbound faxing, targeted to his landscaping customers. His idea was to send out spring planting notices. Here, the outbound faxing capability would be integrated with his Outlook Contacts, something

that is easily done. More important, this fine gentleman saw the business purpose of using the faxing capabilities in an SBS scenario. Bless his business heart!

BEST PRACTICE: Some progressive SBS sites are using low-cost scanners to scan in odd-shaped documents for use in outbound faxing scenarios. More firms will most likely use this approach in the near future as scanners become cheaper and enjoy greater acceptance. (But heck, you can already buy a color scanner for $100, so what are you waiting for?) I’ll offer one word of caution with this approach: The scanned images that result when you scan odd-shaped documents are larger than you think. Even moderate scanning activity can result in over 100MB of scanned images. As you can see, you’ll quickly eat up hard disk space that you might need. (Even so, hard disks are much cheaper than just a few years ago).

A few key benefits to outbound faxing include:

                      Marketing announcements and flyers

                      Form letters with a scanned signature

                      Standard forms your customers might request

                      Other documents appropriate for broadcasting


BEST PRACTICE: Understand that the capability to fax the same document to multiple parties via SBS faxing isn’t true broadcasting. Fax broadcasting, in its pure form, is a service provided by a telco with lots and lots of extra fax lines (that is, burst capacity) with the ability to get your document out to tens or hundreds of parties within a few minutes. The telco uses a pool of lines to do this and charges you accordingly for such a wonderful service.

SBS’s outbound faxing capability is, shall I say, linear. Given a list of parties who are to receive the same document, the SBS server calls each party in succession and transmits the fax. Such a linear approach

can indeed take hours to complete, as each fax call is made one at a time. But fear not, the good news is that this activity is automatic, meaning you do not have to attend to the process (allowing you to go home and slow-cook a great meal, go out and play golf, go to your kid’s dance recital, and so on).


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