Even with global print volumes dropping, companies still printed more than 2.8 trillion pages in 2020. Considering the costs for paper, toner, repairs, and recycling, it’s no surprise that companies are looking for better ways to enable digital transitions without compromising access to on-demand print services.
One solution is cloud-based printing.
The article below explores the challenges of traditional printing, the benefits of cloud-based solutions, and the impact of cloud printing on business operations.
The Challenges of Traditional Printing
On-site print servers have historically been utilized as a necessity, equally loved and loathed by enterprises. While local servers offer management control over print environments, they also introduce challenges with printer connections, connectivity, and accessibility. These difficulties result in a complex and ever-changing print framework that can frustrate IT teams and end-users alike, costing businesses precious time and money.
Some of the most common issues with traditional printing include the following.
Lack of Visibility
What IT teams can’t see can hurt them. As more printers and servers are added to local fleets, visibility becomes a problem.
Devices experiencing issues may reduce print service efficiency. This lack of visibility can also make it challenging for staff to track down and handle potential issues.
Loss of Productivity
Limited visibility goes hand-in-hand with lowered productivity. Without a cloud solution, companies don’t have complete visibility and oversight into workflow inefficiencies.
For IT, print servers require continual management and upkeep to ensure stable operation. Consider the case of an on-site print server that hasn’t been updated with the lasted drivers. To avoid costly holdups, IT teams must regularly check print servers for new updates or security vulnerabilities, then take action to ensure print services remain uninterrupted. Of course, this process takes time away from other critical IT tasks, decreasing overall productivity.
Traditional print environments have fewer tools in place to prevent wasteful print. Users or departments may inadvertently print the same document multiple times in the same day, wasting both time and paper. This excess printing puts additional stress on print servers, potentially affecting efficiency and productivity.
Cloud print environments make up for what their traditional counterparts lack. For example, they provide multiple-document printing, allow the option to delete prints that you no longer need, and help eliminate abandoned prints.
Ongoing IT Tickets
When print problems occur, users call IT. As these issues accumulate, staff may find themselves fielding numerous tickets to troubleshoot printers that won’t connect. This cycle not only eats up time that IT teams could spend on other tasks, but it also negatively impacts staff workflows.
High-quality, high-volume digital printers can cost anywhere from $600 to $16,000 per device. If these printers aren’t working because of backend problems, the result is two-fold: Companies lose revenue as they put other operations on hold, and they must spend more money addressing print server problems.
The amount needed to fix printer and server issues also varies. Businesses could spend several thousand dollars upgrading servers to ensure compatibility or replacing entire server fleets.
How Well-Designed Cloud Printing Can Help Cut Costs
Cloud-based printing offers an alternative to traditional on-premise print infrastructure. While physical printers remain on-site, service providers own and operate the servers; businesses can connect to these servers via the cloud, allowing them to access print services anywhere, anytime.
Here are just a few of the significant advantages that well-designed cloud printing frameworks offer to help companies save time and money:
- Eliminate Ongoing Maintenance
Since servers are owned and operated by providers, IT teams don’t need to worry about upgrades, maintenance, and replacement. Instead, these tasks fall under the purview of cloud printing providers. They’re responsible for handling all backend management and updates while companies pay for on-demand access to the cloud platform.
- Reduce IT Burden
Cloud-based printing services can also reduce the burden on IT staff by enabling easy management of drivers and complete visibility into printing jobs and processes. While on-site teams can still provide support for local printers, the heavy lifting of backend functionality is handled by an easy-to-use SaaS application.
- Optimize Print Environments
When print servers are on-site, companies must consider supply and demand. Can servers handle large-volume printing jobs from multiple departments simultaneously?
To help address this issue, companies often over-buy print servers. While this may seem like an immediate solution to a problem, it leaves companies with more infrastructure to manage long-term.
Cloud-based printing helps optimize print environments. Since companies pay for software — not for the hardware itself — over-purchasing infrastructure becomes a thing of the past. In addition, print-based analytics can help businesses identify and address critical print trends before they lead to overspending and waste.
- Easily Enforce Policies
Single-pane-of-glass applications provide a way for companies to enforce print policies at scale. For example, businesses can restrict the type or number of pages that can be printed from a specific device or send reminders to employees about the per-page costs of printing to help reduce total waste.
- Increased Awareness
This single-pane-of-glass approach also provides increased observability. IT teams can discover which printers staff use the most, what they’re printing, and who’s making print requests. This information helps create an effective print strategy and provides insight to create effective printing policies.
By enabling teams to see what’s happening across all connected printers, they could, for example, identify devices with excessively high print volumes or jobs that are submitted but never authenticated and completed. Once they’ve pinpointed these areas, IT teams can address and reduce wasteful printing.
- Reduce Abandoned Prints with Secure Release Workflows
Secure release workflows help reduce the risk of sensitive documents being left at local printers. Abandoned jobs in the queue will automatically expire after a set period to prevent documents from falling into the wrong hands. Pharos Secure Release allows users to submit print jobs from any device or network, then walk up and authenticate at any secured printer on the company network.
Not only does secure release printing allow for enhanced security, but also a reduction in costs as waste is managed through greater document release control.
- Simplify Your Multi-Vendor Print Environment
Many companies leverage printers from multiple vendors to address specific use cases, while others have simply acquired multiple printer types over the years. For example, an enterprise might have several printers dedicated to high-volume print jobs and a smaller number of printers capable of handling more detailed outputs. On-site management of these fleets can rapidly become complex due to vendor management differences.
Moving to a cloud-based printing system removes this complexity by providing a familiar and consistent experience with a universal print driver that supports all manufacturers, saving both time and money.
Case Study: How Citizens Bank Reduced Its Print Costs by 45%
In 2018, Citizens Bank began looking for ways to improve operational workflows by replacing time-consuming and manual processes with more efficient digital alternatives. Although the firm saw initial success, its efforts began to plateau by 2020.
One area of continual concern for Citizens Bank was printing. VP of Process Improvement Katerina Stevenson started searching for a solution capable of offering actionable insights into existing processes. In July 2020, the company implemented Pharos’ cloud-based Print Insights. As a result, they were able to reduce monthly print volume, color printing, and overall print costs by 45%.
Stevenson puts it simply. “We’ve been able to significantly cut down our printing costs and drive operational efficiency with the insights from [Print Insights],” said Stevenson. “I’m able to quickly gain a thorough understanding of how print is being created at Citizens Bank so I can make informed decisions to drive positive and sustainable change.”
Get the Most Value out of Office Printing with Pharos
Is your company ready to move from managing inefficient print servers to working with an easy-to-use cloud print platform? Pharos Cloud can enable a smooth transition with its expansive product offering including:
- Cloud Print Analytics: Pharos Insights enables teams to discover what, where, and how often they’re printing. These details help them track print trends and reduce the risk of over-printing.
- Universal Print Drivers: With Pharos’ universal print driver, companies can support thousands of printer models across all manufacturers. This feature reduces driver management to just a fraction of on-site overhead.
- Policy Print: Companies can easily set printer policies across their enterprises with Pharos Policy Print. Instead of managing multiple department and printer-based policies, teams set one policy for all printers and view the results from a unified print dashboard. Combining Policy Print with Pharos Insights, allows companies to observe how policies impact print operations. The staff can then make the appropriate adjustments to achieve the ideal balance between ease-of-access and effective print and paper management.
- Automatic Updates: Automatic printer updates mean less downtime due to driver or firmware incompatibilities. They also reduce help desk calls, giving IT teams more time to focus on line-of-business objectives. These updates ensure printers are always available to use, shortening the wait time to print and increasing productivity.
Save time and money by moving from local servers to cloud-based solutions. Are you ready to get started? Discover how your company can eliminate print complexity and reduce total costs with Pharos Cloud.