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FOM FAQ

General

      What sets the FOM system apart from other lab management products?

      I have my own scheduling software, why should I still consider FOM?

      Do I have to have my own server and software to implement the FOM system?

      What licensing options are available?

      Can I upgrade my license?

      What security measures are included for the web based system?

Installation

      What operating system platforms are supported as FOM client (user)?

      What operating system is required for installing the FOM system on my own server?

      What database engine is used by FOM system?

      How do we install/set up the FOM system? Do we have to install it by ourselves or you will install for us? What is the cost (do we pay for travel)?

Customization

      Is there a cost of customization and how is it calculated?

      Do you provide directions or assistance with setting up FOM to be compatible with our financial system?

      How long does it generally take to add a feature to FOM?

Support/upgrade

      What is your support and upgrade policy? Is there ongoing support cost?

      How well does the FOM system scale? Is there a limit to the number of calendars, instruments, users, or facilities?

Charge policy and billing

      What charge policies are available in the FOM system?

      How FOM treats no-shows? How the charges are calculated for no-shows?

Interlocks / access control mechanism

      How does the interlock (access control) system work? Do we need a computer for each instrument to control the access?

      How much does an access control box cost? Do we need one box per instrument?

 

General

         What sets the FOM system apart from other lab management products?

The Facility Online Manager (FOM) system is a high performance web application designed as a 100% browser-based solution, and it specially designed for scientific resource management. Most competing tools are either too generic to use in scientific labs or too sophisticated to be maintained by non-IT savvy facility managers. The FOM system provides a rich, powerful, yet easy to use cross-platform application regardless of your operating system.

         I have my own scheduling software, why should I still consider FOM?

FOM provides much more functions besides instrument scheduling. Almost everything you can think of in automating facility management are covered in FOM, such as:

- Charge based on instrument time, subscription, labor hours, consumables, services/collaborations.
- Consumable inventory management
- Service/collaboration request and processing
- Training requests and appointments
- Mailing list to various groups
- Customizable reports
- Invoice/payment tracking
- Instrument maintenance records
- More ideas? We will customize for you!

         Do I have to have my own server and software to implement the FOM system?

You may either set up your own server or host on our dedicated server at www.instrumentschedule.com.

         What licensing options are available?

We offer four levels of licenses from free hosted service to complete solution for a whole institution. Please visit the Compare all four FOM licenses for details.

         Can I upgrade my license?

Yes. You may upgrade your FOM license at any time by paying the price difference of the initial license.

         What security measures are included for the web based system?

All the user passwords are encrypted before transferring through the internet. Our hosted service at www.instrumentschedule.com is configured to use SSL protocol. We may also customize the FOM system to use your university's online passport system.

Installation

         What operating system platforms are supported as FOM client (user)?

Apple Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Unix - any operating system that has standard internet browser.

         What operating system is required for installing the FOM system on my own server?

Microsoft Server Operating system 2003 or up.

         What database engine is used by FOM system?

Microsoft SQL database, standard version or the free express version.

         How do we install/set up the FOM system? Do we have to install it by ourselves or you will install for us? What is the cost (do we pay for travel)?

You may choose to install the FOM system by yourself or ask us to install for you. If you install by yourself, we will provide detailed screenshot level instructions on FOM installation and administration. If we install the system for you, we charge an installation fee based on the time we spend - typically 6-8 hours. The charge rate is based on customization rates that are listed in the comparison sheet of license types.

Customization

         Is there a cost of customization and how is it calculated?

Yes, the customization cost is calculated based on the time that we spend on programming. Once we receive a customization proposal, we will send you an estimate of hour that it will take to fulfill the customization. The hourly rate for customization is listed in the comparison sheet of license types.. For basic/standard license it is $50/hr and for enterprise license it is $150/hr.

         Do you provide directions or assistance with setting up FOM to be compatible with our financial system?

We will customize FOM code and possibly write additional program to ensure the reports produced by FOM system be compatible with your financial system. This is one typical customization of the system.

         How long does it generally take to add a feature to FOM?

We will give estimate of hours that is needed for each additional feature you request and rough time when it will be finished. Depends on the complexity it may take a couple of weeks to add a new feature to FOM.

Support/upgrade

         What is your support and upgrade policy? Is there ongoing support cost?

All the Basic, Standard, and Enterprise licensees are required to purchase license annual renewals from the second year. The annual renewal fee includes free upgrade, bug fix, and 12 hours limited technical support.

         How well does the FOM system scale? Is there a limit to the number of calendars, instruments, users, or facilities?

The FOM system has a virtually unlimited ability to scale. All the four types of FOM licenses support unlimited number of calendars, instruments, and users. The enterprise license may be used to host multiple facilities within the same institution.

Charge policy and billing

         What charge policies are available in the FOM system?

There are three default charge policies in the FOM system, charge per use (flat fee), charge per actual used time, and the combined policy to charge either reserved or actual used time, whichever is longer. FOM also provides mechanisms to charge by consumable units or different accessories on an instrument. You may also propose your own charge policy as customization of the system.

         How FOM treats no-shows? How the charges are calculated for no-shows?

For each resource, the manager may define a certain no-show timeout. When the no-show timeout triggers, the reserved time is released so other users may to express logon to use the resource. Meanwhile the user who reserved the time can also resume the reservation without duplicated charges.

If a user never shows up over the whole reserved time period, the charge will depend on the charge policy defined for this resource. For the combined policy, user is charged the reserved time in full (users are encouraged to cancel their sessions if they don't plan to use!); for charge per actual used time policy, no-show user is not charged; for charge per use policy, no-show user is charged a flat fee of use.

Interlocks / access control mechanism

         How does the interlock (access control) system work? Do we need a computer for each instrument to control the access?

The interlock system use internet protocol to communicate with the central FOM server. Each access control box has its own IP address, and it does not need a computer in the instrument room, but only an internet socket. The access control box accepts on/off command from the central FOM server once a user logs on/off in the corresponding instrument calendar.

         How much does an access control box cost? Do we need one box per instrument?

We provide two versions of the access control boxes. One version may be used to control up to 2 instruments separately and costs $200 each. The other version may be used to control up to 8 instruments, and costs $450 each.

 

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