Copy that: print services remain on enterprise radar

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11 May 2015 | 0

The print services sector has seen “a number of innovations from software developers and hardware manufacturers,” over the past 12 months according to Ger McGarrigle, managed print services (MPS) technical consultant with Ergo. This is a point with which Rob Stanley, business development manager for Ricoh Ireland, agrees.

“From a technology point of view,” said Stanley, “some of the more significant innovations include more ‘tablet like’ interfaces on office print devices which look and feel more like consumer devices that people are currently comfortable using. Many office printers are also becoming smaller, faster, less noisy and use less electricity than their predecessors.”

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Organisations want more transparency when it comes to spending, especially in print. There’s a greater adaptation when it comes to focusing that spend on expert consultation that can deliver the right software solutions and hardware specifications, giving the customer more visibility, better security, greater control and ultimately assist in driving down costs, Ger McGarrigle, Ergo

Elaborating on his original point, McGarrigle said that, from the software point of view, any worthwhile multifunction device (MFD) is now “loaded with new features that allow them to connect directly to cloud services out of the box.”

He said advances from the hardware end further enhance this by “coming preloaded with digital scanning technology allowing direct integration with [Microsoft] SharePoint, taking advantage of optical character recognition (OCR) technology and allowing customers to use secure pull print technology without investing in additional software solutions.”

Document lifecycle
Recalling the past year himself, Stanley said “the complete document lifecycle” is more prominent in the thoughts of decision makers within Irish organisations, “rather than just looking at print output in isolation.” Service providers, he said, need to understand and manage this lifecycle including electronic, system generated and hard copy documents.

“Digital archiving, storage and security should all be part of the overall solution now as Irish organisations turn to external service providers to re-engineer and manage their entire print and document processes,” he added. Stanley said interest in outsourcing services that extend to “managing customers’ on-site document facilities,” including the print room, the mail room, scanning and archiving, has also been a noticeable trend.

John Jones, solutions division manager with IPS said that he feels the industry is beginning to fall into “the same pattern ‘pre-MPS’ where print spends are starting to become unimportant. In other words, companies feel that once the MPS project was completed, the job is over. It is,” he continued, “the responsibility of the true MPS provider to analyse and report back to the client on trends, habits and bring new technology and ideas to the table.”

Les O’Reilly, who acts as production printing systems (PPS) print specialist with HP Ireland, says that from what he has seen over the past year, the industry has focused attention on devices that “deliver even faster print speeds, higher quality and better value for money.” Namechecking his employer’s own JetAdvantage solutions and services for this role, he says it makes “businesses more secure by protecting company IT printer networks, by implementing the appropriate level of security to the printer as is applied to the rest of the network.”

Quoting findings from research and analysis company Quocirca, O’Reilly said that “almost 90%” of businesses have suffered at least one data breach through unsecured printing. Taking such cases into account, he said, “additional protection is critical.”

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