Enterprise Print Management Case Study

Over an 8-year period, Pharos has helped this large property & casualty insurer save more than $61 million. This number continues to grow as we work with this major brand to continually optimize printing operations, improve processes and network security, drive down print volume and costs, educate employees about mindful printing practices, and significantly reduce this company’s ecological footprint. Here’s how we are achieving all this together.

Document stacks

The Initial State, Before Pharos

Before Pharos was brought on board, the state of print at this global insurer was typical for large organizations:

  • No one “owned” print: It wasn’t a centralized service or competency, so departments and business units were responsible for making decisions blindfolded, based on their budgets rather than identified business requirements.
  • Departments had many single-function devices from multiple manufacturers; this causes an array of support, supply chain, and cost challenges.
  • Print was unmanaged, with little visibility on the big picture of print: the total costs, output volume, trends, device fleet status, security issues, consumables, servicing, and so on.
  • Failure to capitalize on economies of scale for pricing (the printer fleet, consumables, maintenance and servicing, etc.)
  • There were no official company standards and policies around office printing.
  • Poor document security: sensitive documents were often left sitting exposed at printers.
  • A growing remote and mobile workforce required greater flexibility for printing needs.
  • IT teams were forced to manage hundreds of different printer models.
  • The print infrastructure required hundreds of print servers to maintain the environment.
  • Employees (especially mobile staff) had difficulty finding the correct print queue and print drivers for a nearby device.

Program Initiation

An initial assessment revealed that the state of printing at this company was out of control. All of the issues mentioned above were creating expensive chaos. They recognized they did not have the internal expertise or resources to focus on bringing their print environment under control, so they engaged Pharos to lead a program they called “PrintSmart.”

Most people don’t think about the costs associated with printing or the potential information security risks involved. Educating the workforce is a critical component of success.

The objectives were to reduce print-related costs, optimize the printer fleet, and improve end-user satisfaction. Some people within the organization considered this a project, to be completed at a specific point in time. However, Pharos recognized it as an ongoing program.

We understood the nature of the beast and we knew it would continue to evolve as certain objectives were completed. Much of the work was indeed front-loaded, but ensuring continual results requires continual optimization, effort, and education.

After spending some time early on as an IT project, the PrintSmart team eventually found a home within the organization’s Workplace Management (WPM) department. WPM agreed that PrintSmart had to be considered an ongoing program, with an evergreen charter to manage the overall print environment on a continual basis. Implementing a change was just part of the solution; change needed to be managed continually to ensure success over time.

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Beacon Analytics and Blueprint Enterprise Rollout

We deployed Beacon Analytics, our cloud-based print analytics solution built on AWS, to collect and analyze print user data across several segments of the global network. We also leveraged Blueprint Enterprise, our on-site print management software. With the help of these powerful tools, we quickly proved that the company had been managing blindfolded, with no practical way to determine the total cost of their print environment.

Armed with comprehensive and ongoing analytics, the PrintSmart team could see the entire fleet of devices, device utilization rates, employee printing behavior and trends, and all associated costs. These insights became the data source for tactical PrintSmart projects in support of the larger program.

Raising Awareness, Fostering Support

We knew that employees don’t give much thought to printing beyond the scope of their own paper workflows or convenience printing. And, most people don’t think about the costs associated with printing or the potential information security risks involved. Educating the workforce is a critical component of success.

Employee education is a critical factor for achieving continual success year after year.

The PrintSmart program was launched as an internal brand, with a logo and charter and company-wide communications that shared facts and best practices to help the company achieve its cost savings, security, and efficiency goals. The program also shared key environmental metrics associated with printing. Setting goals and revealing progress in terms of the company’s ecological footprint resonated with many people.

PrintSmart partnered with the company’s Corporate Communications team to develop an internal web site and blog, a PrintSmart mailbox, and infographics that were shared via email, digital displays, printer signage, and a regular presence on the main internal corporate webpage.

Communication and socialization proved to be an eye-opener for many people and it elevated print in the minds of employees. This is a critical factor for achieving continual success year after year.

Gaining Control: Centralized Print Ownership

Print operations are now considered a shared service provided by Workplace Management. Centralizing print ownership allowed us to aggregate costs to one cost center, and it eliminated intra-office debates over who can use which devices based on who is responsible for the associated costs.

In addition, all print device purchases are now limited to a select number of catalog devices and come through PrintSmart for approval. This process improvement has eliminated the proliferation of unnecessary devices and simplified the technical support process. There are now far fewer makes and models of devices in the fleet, which has made maintenance and services a much simpler and less expensive process.

Fleet Optimization: The Right Devices in the Right Places

The first major tactical project for the PrintSmart team was to proactively optimize the printer fleet in all offices across the US. We focused on shifting print volume to the most cost-effective Multifunction Devices (MFDs), and the elimination of single-function devices (printers, scanners, faxes) wherever possible.

At the end of 2019, there were only 61 single-function devices as a result of this fleet optimization effort, and these devices are only in place for special use purposes like check printing.

We also worked hard to right-size the company’s print capacity based on the number of employees, their proximity to print devices, and anticipated print volume based on business needs and roles. This phase alone was a huge project that consumed a large part of the first few years of the program.

When PrintSmart kicked off in 2012, the company had 4,550 network single-function printers deployed across the country. At the end of 2019, there were only 61 single-function devices as a result of this fleet optimization effort, and these devices are only in place for special use purposes like check printing. This is a staggering result that achieved significant savings in terms of cost and IT resource time.

It’s important to note that maintaining this optimized state requires continual effort to mitigate creep in the wrong direction. Like many large enterprises, the office landscape at this company is continually changing, and this requires the PrintSmart team to be engaged with all real estate projects to ensure that new office spaces are equipped with optimal printing capability in alignment with PrintSmart policies.

Securing Devices and Paper Workflows

Another major tactical project was the rollout of Pharos secure pull-printing software to the entire fleet of MFDs. This locked down all devices to authorized users only, and protected document security and confidentiality. Secure Release software played a critical role in our ability to remove all high-cost single-function printers without impacting end-user convenience.

Student logging into printer

An additional side benefit to Pharos secure pull printing software was an immediate print volume reduction of about 15%, the percentage of print jobs submitted but never released. This is because print job owners must be physically present at a device to log in (typically with the simple tap of a proximity card) and print out their documents.

This prevents all those forgotten and abandoned documents lying around printer trays where they can be accessed by the wrong people or tossed in recycle bins, forcing the user to reprint later. This 15% figure also includes the habitual printing of documents that aren’t actually needed.

The rollout of Pharos secure pull-printing software included a PR campaign with targeted communications to employees as offices were converted to the new system. Word spread fast of the benefits and ease of use, and soon offices not yet converted were asking for expedited implementations.

The success of this large-scale rollout was a partnership effort, with technical support from the company’s IT organization and professionals at Konica Minolta, and executive support from the company’s business unit and department managers.

This is what it means to manage printing operations holistically and to solve enterprise printing challenges at the highest level.

Summary of Results

The PrintSmart program has become a major success story at this large global insurance company. The Pharos-led PrintSmart team is the authority for all things print. We are a group of trusted advisors and subject matter experts and we have established strong brand recognition within the organization. We are proud to say we have built a stable and cost-efficient print environment that helps the organization control costs and maintain a high degree of operational efficiency.

Working together as a team, we have accomplished some amazing results. From March 2012 thru December 2019, we have helped this global company reduce its total annual printing volume by 75% (from 272M to 75M).

Before Pharos, if you were to stack all of their printed documents from a single workday, it would reach 320 feet in the air, higher than the Statue of Liberty. Today that daily stack reaches only about 69 feet high. Here’s how we progressed each year:

Liberty Paper Stacks Illustration

Of course, output volume is just part of the $61 million savings story. PrintSmart also achieved these results:

  • The company’s annual cost of print went from $16.3 million to $3 million.
  • 91% of the company’s paper output is protected by Pharos Secure Release.
  • The number of print servers deployed across the company went from 620 to 132.

That last item is important because it’s not even factored into the $61 million total savings figure. The customer estimates their annual cost per print server at $7,500. Even if you were to factor this reduction as a one-time saving, it takes our $61 million figure to more than $64.5 million. Factored more realistically as a gradual elimination of print servers over this 8-year period, it’s another $20 – $24 million in savings.

This is what it means to manage printing operations holistically and to solve enterprise printing challenges at the highest level.

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Looking Forward

Our most exciting initiative is to transition this global company to the Pharos Cloud. Our cloud-native pull printing solution will enable the company to completely eliminate all print servers. Think of that future savings opportunity for a moment: They started with 620 print servers and eventually they’ll have none. Zero print servers. That’s more than $4 million they won’t need to spend every year on print infrastructure alone. The ROI we’re able to deliver is immense, and moving them to the Pharos Cloud will add to that ROI significantly.

As our successes and partnership continue, we will also continue to work towards:

  • Reducing print volume and costs further, through behavior change efforts and by streamlining print workflows and document-intensive processes.
  • Reducing print’s impact on the environment.
  • Educating the user community on ways to PrintSmart.
  • Designing advanced reporting and monitoring.
  • Centralizing and streamlining the company’s print centers.
  • Expanding our print solutions and services internationally.

There’s a reason Pharos is the only print solution provider with dedicated employees trusted to work on-site at so many large companies. With the trust that we’ve established, managers and employees are receptive and eager to work with our team on company initiatives and print-related projects.

This is what we do best, and it’s why five of the Fortune 20 companies have entrusted our on-site specialists to lead their implementation and provide ongoing program management. The PrintSmart team looks forward to many more years of success and continual improvement.

Looking to achieve similar results for your organization? Start the conversation today!