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Delivering the full potential of MPS

28 Jun, 2011 By: Noel O’Dwyer, Nuance

Delivering the full potential of MPS

For years, IT professionals, industry solution providers and analysts have been talking about organizations controlling and managing their print fleet. Printing for many organizations represents an unsustainable waste of resources, a drain on efficiency, a headache for IT and a risk to security and compliance. The costs of a poorly managed print environment are great: Gartner estimates that active management of office printing could reduce spending by 10 to 30 percent.

Today, Managed Print Services (MPS) have emerged as the program of choice for resellers who are looking to address this problem with customers. MPS programs promise to transform the cost and complexity of self-managed printing into the simplicity of an all-inclusive, vendor-managed service.

The end goal of any MPS program is to reduce the cost of printing for an organization. However, by their nature, most MPS programs are device-centric and utilize several methods to achieve this goal, including device optimization and fleet management, in order to produce predictable printing costs for the customer.

This device-centric approach is only half the picture. Customers want more than predictability: they want to know that their vendors are doing everything they can to lower costs, streamline document, imaging, and print-related workflows, and reduce waste.

Print management solutions provide the second half of a comprehensive MPS program, enabling an organization to see a complete picture of their print activity needed to take steps to reduce that print volume. In fact, according to Photizo, “…the best benefits, both in dollars and workflow improvements, are realized by those organizations that integrate print management into their MPS programs.”

Essentials of a Successful MPS Program
Print management solutions focus on the end-user, and by doing so, can help an MPS strategy deliver more significant cost reductions. Combined with a strong MPS strategy that shifts printing to fewer, more efficient printers, print management solutions can be the “secret sauce” that leads to long-term, sustainable productivity improvements, behavioral changes and cost reductions within an organization.

Assessment is the first and most important function. Since you cannot improve what you cannot measure, the first step to any successful MPS program is to understand the who, what, where and why of printing.  

Print management systems can capture and report on end user print behavior and paint a complete picture of document-based workflows within an organization. It captures every detail of a user’s print activity including total pages printed, applications from which they print, the output devices they choose, their use of color, single or double sided output and document names.

Print management systems can provide detailed usage reports that show the realities of end-user behavior. For example, reports can show the capabilities that users depend on most as well as which devices are over-used or under worked.

This information can be used to place devices where they will serve users best and help an organization avoid purchasing or leasing more equipment than they actually need.

Job Routing
Print management systems can make it even easier and more secure for users to print to more cost-effective networked MFPs. Users can output print jobs to the most convenient and available device – which could be down the hall, on the floor of their next meeting or in another building or remote location.

Administrators can set up rules to route jobs to the most efficient printer based upon job type, volume and user permission.

A secure print queue not only makes printing more secure, it also cuts down on waste. This feature holds print jobs in a secure queue and releases them to the printer once the user authenticates them self at the device.

This gives the users the freedom and convenience to print from any device in the fleet without fear that the document may not be there when they arrive to pick it up. It also helps to cut down on wasted printing because jobs can be deleted from the secure server if they are not collected within a certain period of time.

Print Policy Enforcement
Print management solutions give MPS administrators the ability to strictly enforce cost-saving rules and print policies. Rules can include: double sided printing for all jobs, black and white only printing with exceptions for certain document types or user permission level, and print quotas. These rules, when enforced, can help users make smarter printing choices and think before they click the “print” button.

In the end it is the users that will drive the biggest change. A print management solution provides vendors with the tools and techniques necessary to empower organizations to either encourage responsible print behavior or enforce cost-saving print policies.

Rather than just redirect the same amount of printing to fewer printers, print management solutions can help change end-user behavior by making them aware of and accountable for the costs of the documents they print.  

Today’s workers are printing far more than they need, so enforcing policies or encouraging more responsible behavior can help them to reduce printing which will benefit everyone in an organization.

Cost effective examples 

  • Liverpool John Moores University saved over $790,000 within three years using a single MPS vendor to reduce hardware and maintenance costs combined with a print management strategy to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  • To track company wide printing, KeyBank integrated vendor-operated MPS with a print management strategy into its SmartPrint environmental initiative. By reducing the fleet by more than 9,000 devices and sending monthly reports on print activity to each employee, the company saw a 40 percent reduction in its annual print volume and a savings of more than $2 million.

Organizations are looking for long-term productivity improvements, cost savings, and sustained reductions in print volumes and waste. By integrating print management into an MPS engagement, vendors can pave the way for an organization to further improve print processes and generate even more savings than MPS alone.

This involves a switched focus from a device-centric strategy to one centered on the user. By measuring the full scope of user printing and providing tools specifically designed to curb and engage users, vendors can produce the measurable results wanted by organizations of all sizes.

For more information visit www.nuance.com  *(Nuance recently acquired Equitrac earlier this month and information on both companies can be found on the Nuance website.)


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