Over time, business processes will become close to 100% digital.
The technology exists today with copiers, scanners, document management, capture, workflow, and recognition tools to completely digitize business processes.
In reality, the paperless office is not in sight for everyone. Paper documents are still widely used – and will continue to be for a variety of business reasons.
While your business goal over time could be to move to 100% digital workflows, you should get the most out of your current printing environment and document processes now.
After all, they aren't going away.
3 Benefits of An Intelligent Printing Environment
Print consumes, on average, 15% of a company's IT budget.
That doesn't include IT staff time – 40-60% of help desk calls are print-related.
Maximizing your print infrastructure will:
- Help users become more productive – printers will print, copiers will print and copy. They'll work without users having to make them work (or call IT).
- Shave costs. No more overspending on supplies and printers. Do you have a closet full of unused supplies?
- Best of all, an intelligent printing environment saves IT time, allowing IT to focus on what they do well rather than managing the print environment.
Let's focus on making IT's life easier for the rest of this post.
Do You Know Where Your Printers Are?
Xerox research shows that 70% of IT departments don't know how many printers, copiers, and/or multifunction peripherals are in their office.
The first step to ensuring an intelligent print environment is knowing how many devices you have and where they are! A few questions to think about:
- Number of printers in use?
- How many different brands?
- How many users per printer – are some over or under-used?
- Are there legitimate reasons (risk, security) for individuals or departments to have private printers?
- How much do your users NEED to print?
Once you know what you have, you can start optimizing – either yourself or with a partner via managed print services.
Here are a few tips for making life easier for yourself:
- Don't go only for the lowest-cost printers and copiers. While you could save in the short term, you could end up spending more on maintenance, downtime (and lost productivity), and needing to replace the laser printer sooner than a slightly higher cost (but more robust) device.
- Troubleshoot remotely. You don't have to physically visit a copier to find out what's wrong with it. Set up a virtual interface so you can troubleshoot from your desktop – or at least identify the issue so you know what you're dealing with when you do go to fix it.
- Manual configurations are a pain – user permissions, policy controls, and default settings. Clone configurations and apply them to new machines.
- Use pull printing (also known as Follow Me printing) for an additional element of security to your print fleet
- Be sure to include your copiers and printers in your security strategy. Read more in our free eBook, 12 Copier Security Issues You Might Not Know About.
- Consider outsourcing. Outsource the management of your entire print fleet with a managed print services partner. You can also outsource your help desk and automate the process of ordering toner by having your printers and copiers alert a third-party vendor when the toner is low.
Paper use will steadily decline as digital devices continue to improve and a new generation of workers “born digital” enter the workforce.
Until then, you'll print and copy documents.
You may as well do so intelligently.