Despite much talk of the paperless office, printing continues to play an important role in most business operations. It is a costly one too, which is what makes managed print services (MPS) a logical solution.
MPS covers more than just printers. It includes everything related to these devices, from their output, to their supplies and support, and from the way your business uses documents, to the people and processes that intersect with each of these, says Chris Rube, general manager at Oxbow. “MPS is a way to gain visibility and control of your document processes and costs.”
“From the start, MPS enables you to manage printing outputs within the business. This means being able to effectively control what employees are printing. It allows you to, for example, limit wastage and eliminate multiple prints of the same document, thereby saving costs.”
Another critical area where output management is effective, continues Rube, is in controlling the printing of personal documents and files by employees. While MPS can be of benefit to all organisations, it is particularly useful for those industries where large volumes of documents are regularly printed, such as in the education, accounting, and legal sectors.
“When we talk of cost savings, we are not talking small numbers either,” Rube says. “A proper MPS implementation will immediately realise around a 30% reduction in costs. Implementing fine-tuning and adding business logics components can enable additional savings of some 35%, bringing the total savings to around 65%.”
Rube adds that although there is always a level of resistance to change, adopting an MPS should not require high levels of training or change management. “All that is required is that your employees truly understand the benefits this offers to both themselves and the organisation. If the cost, efficiency and ‘green’ benefits are communicated properly, clearly and timeously, there should be no problem.”
Heinrich Fourie, COO at Symbiosys IT, says that MPS relies on workflows to enforce core components such as security control, visibility, and proactive management.
Heinrich Fourie says: “When choosing an MPS, we believe the customer should choose a vendor-agnostic solution. After all, you seldom find a large organisation that has a homogeneous print environment, supplied, and supported by only one manufacturer.
“To this end, we recommend an agnostic solution called PaperCut, which is designed to work with whatever devices the client has installed.”
Fourie adds that PaperCut allows a manager to understand in detail who has printed what and can link specific actions to departments or even individuals within the organisation.
Additionally, it allows you to switch on intelligent options, Fourie says, such as limiting who can print in colour on a specific device, and enables higher levels of security, by demanding authentication at the device before printing anything. Asking for a PIN code or biometric authentication ensures that the person printing the document is on hand to collect it immediately. Further, it means management knows exactly who printed the specific item.
“PaperCut now digitises scanned documents and delivering the scanned content to any of the key storage platforms, like DropBox or Sharepoint. It also integrates with various digital management solutions that are combined with workflow. This enables an end-to-end digitised document offering. For example, scanning an expense claim might kick-off a system of approval where it is sent to the manager for sign-off, and then on to finance for payment,” Fourie notes.
But in a changed world, where surveys suggest that over 52% of employees are likely to permanently adopt a work-from-home (WFH) approach, is MPS even that relevant?
“Most definitely,” says Fourie. “Although it will become more decentralised, as it will no longer be focused solely on the office premises. Naturally, the need to cater for the home user can make things very complex, very quickly.”
The cloud is critical here, he suggests, because it is the essential foundation on which such an approach must be built. In most cases, extending the reach of MPS to the home user only requires the necessary levels of connectivity, along with some minor, remote configuring.
“Obviously, security must be factored in, but MPS can be used to set rules for specific users designating what documents they can and cannot print,” says Fourie. “It also provides a well-documented digital history of print jobs that are undertaken.
“PaperCut is already compliant with the European General Data Protection Rule (GDPR), so it will be ready when the local Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) comes into effect this year. The technology is so well designed that the content of a document doesn’t leave the network you are printing it from – meaning you can rest assured that no sensitive information will end up in the public cloud.”