We talk to companies every day who just want to get a new printer or copier, stick it in their office, and move on.
While we’re always happy to make a sale, we also encourage these companies to stop thinking of copiers as interchangeable and start thinking about how they contribute to office-wide productivity.
Some follow our lead. Others don’t.
I’ll leave it to you to guess which are generally more successful.
If you’re looking for ways to bring your budget into shape as the end of the year looms into sight, ask yourself these 21 questions about the state of your office’s printing environment -- and viewpoints on IT management.
You’ll enter 2019 with a healthier office and bottomline.
These questions are divided into two categories:
- The general office environment
- Specifics of document output and use
Technology isn’t an end by itself. You buy, lease, or outsource IT functionality to accomplish a business goal. Your business goals should dictate your IT use, not the other way around. Think about your office, these questions will provide context for your decision-making.
- Are you in a heavily regulated industry with stringent regulations? Do these regulations restrict you from using certain tools and are changes to the regulations coming in the future?
- Going green initiatives. Do you have any in place or in the pipeline? Are they taken seriously and acted on or is it just lip service for public consumption?
- Culture around information access and remote working. Do you allow employees to access information via the cloud or by other methods when not in the office?
- What’s your plan for IT management? Do you have one?
- In-house knowledge. Is there enough knowledge (and bandwidth) among current staff to manage technology in-house or do you want to eventually outsource many basic IT functions (such as network management, printer selection and maintenance (managed print services), business phones, etc.).
- Do you align your IT to support your business goals and strategy?
- List your challenges and roadblocks. Is your culture technology-phobic? Are political issues hampering technology selection and/or implementation?
Many offices don’t know how much they really need to print and copy each year so they either purchase more or less than they really need.
- Do you allow employees to print from mobile devices -- phones, tablets, and, who knows, maybe even watches in the future?
- Is printer and copier selection centralized or done on an ad hoc basis?
- The same question as above for supplies (read about the closet of toner shame for why decentralization is a bad idea).
- Do you have to outsource marketing materials and/or documents with other specific needs regularly? How much does that cost?
- Have you ever missed a marketing deadline because of outsourcing? Would you consider bringing marketing materials in-house?
- How many companies provide your IT services and products? List them all and what they are responsible for.
- If there are multiple providers on that list, how much time is spent managing the relationships?
- Do you charge back copies, prints, faxes, or scans to departments?
- Do you know how many printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, and multifunction printers you have throughout your office?
- Do you know where all of those devices are?
- How many reams of paper do you use each year? This can provide an estimate on output volume.
- Does your IT staff support your printers and copiers? Do they support all of them or only a portion? How much time do they spend troubleshooting and supporting staff printing and copying needs?
- How many people use the copiers and printers?
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of where your office stands on its printing and copying needs.