by November 7, 2009 0 comments

Printing requirements of organizations can vary depending on the size and
nature of the business. Optimizing printing infrastructure for enterprises
spread over different physical locations is always important to reduce costs. In
earlier days, printers used to remain as the unmanaged piece of equipment, but
now companies are putting lots of efforts to cut down costs associated with
printing. Popularity of managed printing services (MPS) is a good example to
highlight how organizations can benefit from domain experts. Using MPS,
organizations can save up to 30-40% cost on printing related activities and can
focus on their core business. But if your organization already has a big fleet
of printers and that too from different vendors, then opting for MPS would make
no sense. Because, here services are vendor specific. So, if you opt for Canon
MPS then your HP or Xerox printers would not be supported. In this scenario,
getting right equipment is very critical. For example, if your printing
requirement is of thousand-pages, you should get the printer that can support
the same. You can’t overload your device with prints that it can’t support.
There are various software available that can analyze printer usage in an
organization. This analysis can be used to put correct printer at correct place
thus optimizing printer usage.

Managed Print Services
After opting for MPS from a reliable vendor, you can opt for printing
service in different modes. For example, for new branch office requirements,
instead of buying a new printer you can ask your MPS vendor to provide printers
inside your premises. This not only saves initial investment on printers but
also enables branches to be functional instantly. Organizations can also opt to
print inside vendor premises, if information to be printed is not critical. One
more option is to get a new printing unit installed inside your premises for a
fixed amount of time when printing requirement is very high. However, you can
also go for pay-per-print model, where a fixed amount is charged per print.
Services that are provided by an MPS provider include: maintenance of printing
units across all locations that include managing and providing printing paper
and cartridges, replacement or repair of damaged unit, providing a consolidated
bill that gives visibility to top management about actual spending on printing.

Print Management Software

There are a number of
both paid and open source print management software available that can help
in monitoring printing usage patterns of an organization. Print Management
Plus 6.0 is a free to try software that can be downloaded from ‘http://tinyurl.c
om/yg74hgr’. Install the downloaded ‘PMP6.0.0.107_ small_t rialbuiltin.exe’
file in Windows XP/2000/NT machine on same network where your printer is
attached and you can start monitoring and controlling printing activity from
every machine on that network including machines with MAC or UNIX OS. Once
installed, this software will detect if there is an Active Directory. And if
there is, it will pull the User Names and User Groups from this Active
Directory. Trusted domains can be added after installation is complete. If
no Windows Active Directory is detected, the Print Manager Plus will only
pull Local Users and Groups from the machine it is installed on. Print
Manager Plus defined Users and Groups can be created after installation is
complete. After installation, this software allows you to track, quota or
restrict printing and printer usage by dollar amount, number of pages per
job, size and file type.

Besides taking care of printing needs, MPS providers also include number of
different services. They provide consolidated reports like a dedicated web page
that keeps track of printing activities, few MPS vendors (like Canon ) also give
facility of remote monitoring of printer units using advanced software. This
gives the MPS provider visibility, and thus they can easily track and resolve
faults. Complete life cycle asset management service is also provided, which
includes providing support to any acquisition, movement and changes to devices,
as well as the disposal of unused devices provided by different vendors.

Through such managed services, device capacity can be scaled to meet
increasing requirements. By measuring your usage of a device, an MPS provider
can either simply maintain or replace it with a larger or smaller device to
match your organizations demand. This enables customization of the services to
meet your unique business needs.

With a choice of multiple financing options, there is no need to lock up
capital in the infrastructure. An MPS can provide you comprehensive mobile print
strategy, utilizing full range of mobile printing solutions to your
organization. Instead of having disconnected set of mobile print solutions, an
MPS will work with you to define an integrated mobile print infrastructure to
meet your specific business needs. Employees gain seamless access to network
printers, wired or wireless.

To streamline communication with a client, MPS providers assign dedicated
client service managers that act as a single point of contact. Client manager is
responsible to keep track of device fleet and take preventive measures to ensure
hassle free services to a client. Regular audits are carried out by him to keep
track on changing demands of client and to provide appropriate support.

Sandeep Koul with inputs from Vishnu Anand

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