Conducting a Print Audit with Pharos Insights
By Team Pharos | April 19, 2023
“Within a day, you can have the software installed and collecting information about all your network printers inside your environment.It’ll find printers you know about, and it’ll likely find printers you don’t know about, because there are probably printers out there connected that you’re unaware of.And when I say a day, it’s really only about 10 minutes to get installed, but within a day, you’ll be able to log into the interface and see data collected. So don’t take that as a full day of work….”
Managing print costs and efficiency in an organization can be a challenging task. By using Pharos Insights, you can quickly gain valuable data and insights into your organization’s printing habits, making it easier to optimize costs and streamline operations. In this blog post, you can read a brief summary of what it looks like to conduct a print audit with Pharos Insights, as well as the ease of setting up the software and the valuable information it can provide.
Why Conduct a Print Audit with Pharos Insights?
A print audit can help you identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiency in your organization. By focusing on printer size, location, and user behavior, you can make informed decisions about the right balance of printers and their features. Moreover, evaluating the age and efficiency of your printers can help you determine if replacing older models with newer, more cost-effective options is a wise decision.
Pharos Insights makes conducting a print audit a breeze, allowing you to gather data quickly and objectively. The software scans your entire network and collects information about your printers, providing an aggregated view of your organization’s printing habits. This data can help you make more insightful decisions about printer optimization, rather than relying on guesswork.
Setting Up Pharos Insights
Setting up Pharos Insights is easy and fast. Within 10 minutes, you can have the software installed on a server, scanning your network for printers. Once installed, the software runs automatically in the background, collecting data about your printers and their usage. In about a day, you can log in to the web interface and start seeing the collected data.
Here are some details from Pharos’ professional services team:
“Within a day, you can have the software installed and collecting information about all your network printers inside your environment.It’ll find printers you know about, and it’ll likely find printers you don’t know about, because there are probably printers out there connected that you’re unaware of.And when I say a day, it’s really only about 10 minutes to get installed, but within a day, you’ll be able to log into the interface and see data collected. So don’t take that as a full day of work.This utility will scan your entire network, find all those network printers, and capture meters, supplies, and usage. It’s automated in the sense that it runs on a schedule, so you don’t have to log in and execute or kick off the scans. They happen automatically.The intent is that this is just silently happening in the background, gathering data that gets aggregated and displayed to you through a web browser. That information will be aggregated automatically in the cloud.You’ll be able to access it through a dashboard via a web interface, and you’ll be able to start immediately understanding what print is happening from a fleet perspective.So, one app gets installed on a server, it scans your whole network, and as I say, within a day you’re starting to capture information about all your network printers.”
Measuring the Impact of a Print Audit
By running a print audit with Pharos Insights, you can expect to measure various aspects of your organization’s printing habits, including:
- The number and size of printers.
- User behavior and the types of documents printed.
- The age and efficiency of your printers.
- The cost of maintaining existing printers compared to replacing them.
Taking the time to analyze this data can lead to cost savings and improved efficiency by allowing you to make informed decisions about printer placement, employee-to-device ratios, and the appropriate mix of printer features for your organization’s needs.
What Does Your Print Data Tell You: A Quick Report on Customer Research
We built the Pharos Cloud print management platform to make it easy for organizations to identify opportunities to save money and improve efficiency. To achieve these goals they first need to understand the state of their device fleet and get clarity on the people and groups who print. As we were building the platform, we also knew that what really matters is how this clarity can inform decisions and help our customers implement a successful print strategy that yields continual benefits.
To better understand all of this we engaged several of our early adopter customers. With permission to view their Pharos Insights data, we identified outliers and trends specific to their environments. The Pharos team produced reports for these customers and we asked for their feedback and ideas to help us make the application serve their needs even better.
Pharos Insights provides summary dashboards, detailed data grids, and data exploration tools that bring key metrics and outliers to the surface. We identified several interesting trends. Two observations that stood out to us involved fleet composition and device utilization:
Fleet composition: We learned that our customers typically have a device fleet that includes 10 or more different manufactures and more than 200 different models. These numbers alone demonstrate the inherent complexity in managing such a fleet. Normally, such a complex fleet composition leads to increased supply chain and inventory costs, increased administrative and service costs, increased likelihood of toner outages, and increased IT support requirements.
Device utilization: This is another important metric that’s easy to access in Pharos Insights. Looking at device utilization rates across these early adopter customers, we saw that on average, 28% of print devices had produced 200 pages or less over a 30-day period. Low device utilization rates typically correlate to a higher total cost of ownership (TCO) as well as increased cost per page (CPP). If you have an expensive device that isn’t being used often, is the device really necessary? Can it be allocated elsewhere?
Within minutes of a simple installation, you can begin to see your organization’s print environment in your web browser.
Every printing device draws energy, has an IP address, requires toner and paper, and involves hidden costs, including resource time for maintenance and supplies. Low device utilization rates can also reveal excess capital tied up in the fleet, unnecessary administrative overhead to handle invoices, and more print server configuration and management costs than is necessary. Seeing this data makes it easy for customers to identify opportunities to reallocate devices and eliminate others to increase utilization rates and reduce TCO.
Another interesting observation from the Insights data is that most customers are over-invested in device features. The data revealed that color printing represented a small percentage of overall printing (between 8-15%). This is good for keeping CPP low, but on average, 50% of the device fleet were color-capable devices. This typically reveals that purchasing decisions were not optimally tied to actual user needs. Over time, this unnecessary capacity translates to unnecessary costs.
We also found that printing with large paper sizes represented a tiny percentage of overall printing activity—less than 1% on average—but the majority of the fleets had large paper capability. Again, unnecessary features means unnecessary costs. To achieve a truly optimized print environment you must first understand it. For this you need clear, comprehensive and objective data on all devices and users. Only then can you design a fleet arrangement that matches the actual needs of your users and begin to implement a successful print strategy.
At the End of the Day
Pharos Insights is an invaluable tool for organizations looking to optimize print costs and efficiency. By conducting a print audit, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s printing habits, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about printer placement, features, and maintenance. With its easy setup and robust data collection capabilities, Pharos Insights is an essential tool for any organization looking to optimize its printing operations.