Intelligent print management is an increasingly popular rationalisation model among businesses. And well it might be. It’s a low outlay, commonsense way of finding and exploiting a range of – comparatively – quick and easy financial wins.
Talking to experts in the field however, as I routinely do, it is clear that what is commonly less appreciated and understood is that extrapolating the logic behind output management policies and extending it, sometimes even just slightly, can uncover a range of benefits hiding in plain sight in areas like compliance and governance, security, time and motion, process automation and yes, cost too.
In other words, while many businesses still don’t realise it, good print practices and cultures can and should contribute much more than great cost savings – and that includes greater cost savings!
Properly monitoring and managing print distribution and delivery will often cut top-line costs for instance. But with a just little more thought it can also optimise workflows, boost employee efficiency, and significantly enhance data security and compliance too.
Take security. It’s extraordinary given the inordinate amounts of time, energy, and money expended by modern businesses implementing and maintaining sophisticated data security structures, but there’s almost always a fundamental gap in their security perimeters: the hard copy left lying around in an output tray where and when it shouldn’t be.
Here, something as simple the idle curiosity of the employee skimming a colleague’s printouts can breach data protection requirements and potentially even expose the business to a serious, full-scale security meltdown. And yet a relatively straightforward print management process, say ensuring that a hard copy can only be produced when an authorised employee is in attendance, could prevent it.
And countless other similarly simple aids to efficiency are becoming available all the time.
Some solutions feature central print repositories that mean hard copies can be picked up from any device where and when they’re needed – perhaps hours or even days later. Some offer automatic encryption. Others help control costs and drive savings by routing jobs to the most economic device, the nearest device, or indeed, to no device at all.
And so it goes on.
The point is this. With the world moving at breakneck speed to a new IT economy founded – and funded – on concepts like openness, virtualisation, consumerisation, and the cloud, no technology is an island any longer. Even something as seemingly transactional as print.
That’s a big challenge for IT management. But with print vendors making more and more options and tools available simply for the asking, it’s also a world of opportunity.