In the past, each printer in an office operated independently and was configured and maintained in isolation from the other printers. That isn’t the case anymore, though; printing can no longer be considered an analog technology. As IDC’s Robert Palmer says, “Increasingly, enterprise organisations are looking to their MPDS [managed print and document solutions] provider for help with issues related to digital transformation and the automation of paper-based workflows.”
In light of this evolution, managed print services (MPS) has changed the way businesses operate their printer fleets. Network connectivity has enabled IT to deploy MPS solutions that make it possible for a partner to connect every device and then monitor and maintain them in a coordinated effort.
Although we use more digital devices than ever before, businesses still depend on paper-based processes. With today’s increased pace of business interactions and transactions, quick and reliable printers are increasingly important. MPS providers can help your business optimise your print environment to the exact specifications you need.
Assess what’s working in your print environment
If you suspect your printer fleet is inefficient, the first step is to complete a full print environment assessment. This assessment isn’t just a physical inventory of what printers you have and where they are located. It needs to be a thorough examination of actual usage, operating costs, support effort, and how well the devices support the business processes that depend on them.
That assessment can be done internally, but it can require a lot of time and effort to find opportunities for improvement. An MPS partner, by contrast, would have the resources and the background to do an in-depth assessment for you and create a detailed plan of action based off of it. While you can complete a print assessment on your own, partnering with an MPS provider is a good way to ensure your assessment delivers returns on the investment you put into it.
Fix what’s not and optimise across the board
A complete assessment of your printer infrastructure could reveal a number of different issues. For example, you may learn some of your printers are either under- or over-utilised. That could prompt you to move assets around to get the best value from them.
As power prices increase and your enterprise works to become more aware of the environmental impact of its actions, you may find your printer fleet is using too much power and contributing to your carbon footprint at higher levels than you realised. If this is the case, you may want to adjust the power usage on your devices or perhaps even replace them with more efficient options.
Printers are often forgotten when companies consider their security posture, but many security issues can be alleviated by hardening printer settings—something else that would become clear after a full print assessment.
Fortunately, these are yet more areas where MPS can help. MPS providers can guide companies to use their printers more efficiently and reduce the environmental impact of their printers. They can also offer print security solutions that reduce your cybersecurity risk. Not only do MPS partners assess your environment for you, but they also help you act on those assessments.
Leverage all the benefits of managed print services
The best way to assess the benefits of managed print services is to see what differences they have made to a business. A major company in Silicon Valley, for example, partnered with an MPS provider to assess its environment of over 2,000 printers and, with the help of its partner, was able to make major changes.
The company followed their partner’s advice to deploy “right-sized” printers to ensure its workforce had access to the right resources where and when they needed them. That included specialised features, such as wide-formatting and imaging functions, so documents could be easily scanned and securely stored. This allowed anyone in the organisation to quickly find and retrieve digital copies, speeding up printer-enabled digital processes.
Security was also tightened when the MPS partner helped implement a pull printing solution that allowed documents to be delivered to the output tray only when users presented a form of authentication at the printer. By centralising the management of all printer settings, it became possible to ensure unauthorised parties didn’t access the printer firmware to steal data. All these benefits were accompanied by significant cost savings, measuring in the millions of dollars.
Managed print services can deliver notable operational and financial benefits to a business. Not only can the right MPS solutions provide you with a thorough review of your existing environment—both the physical devices and the processes they support—but it can also present solutions that take into account the needs of the business. It’s not a one-and-done deal, either. Managed print services partners are in a long-term relationship with you, so they can continue to deliver these benefits and refine them as your business evolves.