Print Monitoring Software Overview
By Team Pharos | January 5, 2023
Print monitoring software is a type of software tool used by IT teams and finance departments to better understand the financial and technological impact of their print environment.
Organizations use printer tracking software to monitor and manage printing activity on a network. The software typically is configured to monitor several printers on the network, and with an cloud print management solution like Pharos Cloud, can deployed to the entire print fleet in about an hour.
The analytics from print management software can provide detailed information about print jobs, including the user who printed the document, the document name, the number of pages printed, and the time the print job was sent. This information can be used to track and manage printing costs, as well as to identify patterns of excessive printing.
This type of software is often used by businesses to reduce print costs and ensure their print environment is set up for maximum efficiency.
How is Print Monitoring Software Used?
You should align your software purchases with your core business objectives and technology requirements. Print tracking software can help IT teams and Finance departments make more informed decisions around investments into print infrastructure.
Here are a few ways print monitoring software is used by enterprises:
- Track and manage printing costs: By monitoring print activity, IT teams can identify patterns of excessive printing and take steps to reduce printing costs. For example, they can set limits on the number of pages that can be printed by each user, or implement duplex printing by default.
- Improve printer security: Print tracking software can help IT teams detect and prevent unauthorized access to network printers. For example, the software can be configured to notify the IT team if a user attempts to print a document from a device that is not on the network.
- Monitor printer usage and maintenance: It can also help IT teams track the usage and maintenance of network printers. For example, the software can alert IT teams when a printer is low on toner or paper, or when a printer is experiencing a hardware failure.
- Allocate printing costs: Print monitoring software can be used to allocate printing costs to different departments or projects. This can help finance departments understand how printing costs are distributed across the organization, and make decisions about how to allocate resources.
- Bill printing costs: Print monitoring software can also provide the data required for billing or chargeback system that allows organizations to bill departments or clients for the cost of their printing.
With the data collected by print monitoring software, finance departments can make more informed decisions about how to manage printing costs and allocate resources. It also will give them a better understanding about the printing trends of the organization and where adjustments can be made for cost savings.
What Kind of Print Data Does Print Tracking Software Measure?
The list is long and may vary based on which software you are using, and how your print fleet is set up (e.g. printer manufacturers, type and number of devices, centralized/decentralized environment, and more).
A comprehensive print analytics platform like Pharos Insights should allow you to view key metrics both at 1) the device level, and 2) at the fleet level, at a glance.
Here are a few examples:
Number of pages printed: This metric tracks the total number of pages that are printed on a particular printer or group of printers.
Amount of ink or toner used: This metric tracks the amount of ink or toner that is used for printing.
Cost per print job: This metric calculates the cost of each print job based on the number of pages printed and the cost of the ink or toner used.
Printer utilization: This metric tracks how often a printer is being used, allowing businesses to identify patterns of usage and optimize their printing processes.
Print quality: Some print tracking software includes features that can measure the quality of printed documents, such as the resolution of the print or the color accuracy.
Environmental impact: Some print tracking software includes metrics that measure the environmental impact of printing, such as the amount of paper and ink used.
Security: Some print tracking software includes security features that can track and monitor access to printers and printed documents.
Some Obvious (and non-obvious) Benefits of Print Tracking Software
Most of all, print tracking software can help businesses reduce the cost of printing by tracking and analyzing printing activities. This can help businesses identify patterns of wasteful printing and take steps to reduce their overall printing costs.
Print tracking software will also help you improve efficiency across teams. For IT teams, the ability to view the entire print environment behind a single pane of glass creates ample opportunity to streamline processes and reduce the time spent managing print. For Finance departments, what were once time-consuming, individual reports run by device, location, or another variable (if such reports were even being run in the first place), can now be conducted in a few clicks, and automated to save time, and improve visibility into costs.
Some print monitoring software includes security features that can help businesses protect their sensitive documents from unauthorized access or printing. A fleet management system can also help you determine if printers are not secured, or if there are issues within the network.
Print monitoring software can help businesses stay compliant with regulations and industry standards by tracking and documenting their printing activities.
Better environmental impact
Arguable the most important, monitoring your print activity allows you to reduce your environmental impact. Some programs, like Pharos Insights, have dedicated reports on sustainability and include data points such as energy usage, paper consumption, water usage, and more.
A Better Path Forward
With the right technology in place to monitor your organization’s printing, the analytics and reports will help to reveal the best path forward. You will be able to clarify which print workflows are actually required and which printing behaviors are based on mere habit or preference. You can start at the management level to lead by example and demonstrate to all employees that your new standards are important and apply to everyone.
As leaders in your organization, ask yourselves the following questions:
• Do we have a print strategy in place to include all output (convenience print, copying, and faxing)?
• Do we have technology in place that enables us to monitor, report, and analyze printing down to the employee, application, and department level?
• How do I know whether I am truly maximizing my technology investments?
• Are key performance measures and targets established and understood?
• Are we solving the biggest problem we can?
Focusing only on pricing and contracts leaves a huge savings opportunity on the table. If you go after the demand side of print and strategically explore your organization’s printing habits and workflows, you’ll soon see how much more you can achieve toward your information security and cost reduction goals.