Managed print is for any size organisation, says OKI’s Deignan

Martin Deignan OKI
(Image: OKI)

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13 October 2014 | 0

Some of us are long enough in the IT business to remember when the concept of the ‘Paperless Office’ was first talked about. As a young sales guy in a printer company, I might have admired the vision of an all-electronic future even though it did not bode well for a career. As we all know now, there was no need to worry because that vision is still a long way from becoming reality.

On the other hand, we have learned to manage and control our output much better, so perhaps the practical vision for today is the ‘Less Paper Office’. That is certainly one of the major objectives of a modern managed print service. It can build in lots of controls to ensure that what gets printed is necessary and that wastage is minimal. At the same time, the whole approach is user-friendly and positive, with many features that give people more convenience, more and smarter choices and a simple and smooth process.

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Managed print is probably the oldest outsourced managed service in the IT field, partly because it is a function that can be isolated from other elements—and definitely driven by the fact that so many minor print-related issues can consume the time of stretched IT support. Everyone in IT knows that the majority of help desk calls are in some way related to printing. Send them out of the house is the answer.

It is a thoroughly proven concept that takes away all of the print and copy headaches and gives businesses a well-controlled monthly operating cost. It invariably gives the users a better service and set of smart multi-function devices than the organisation could realistically supply itself.

In theory printing costs look like one of the easiest expenditure items to cut down: just do less printing and distribute information and documents electronically. Put that way it does indeed sound easy. With today’s technology it actually is, both because a very high proportion of our information output can be readily consumed electronically and because there are control systems to help cut out unnecessary printing.

But the sad fact is that printers don’t waste paper, people do. Managed print offers many ways to unobtrusively but firmly enforce economies while giving users a smart service with lots of options.  A good example is ‘pull printing’ where the job can only be started when the user turns up at the print device and uses a PIN or other authorisation. That does two key things to reduce wastage: it eliminates jobs left uncollected at the printer, often a significant element in unnecessary print costs, and it enables all print to be tracked to the user. That in turn means the costs it can be allocated to the relevant business unit.

Centralised modern high-speed MFDs offer quality printing, in colour or mono, walk-up copying, confidential print and other features that compensate for any feeling of loss of the cheap and cheerful (and often unreliable) desk side printers that often proliferated. From the management point of view, the number of devices is consolidated, costs and volumes are better controlled and other smart features enable efficiency features like document management. Scanning documents direct to the relevant office or person, or into automated electronic workflow, are becoming invaluable tools in speeding up business processes—and making for less paper around the office.

We have been seeing smaller businesses opting for managed print at an ever faster rate. In the early days, it used to be a solution for larger enterprises, partly because most vendors needed the economy of scale from having a certain number of devices on each site. Today, Oki offers a national service through 15 regional partners in which a managed print service can be mutually viable from about 3,000 pages a month. We can start with a single multi-function device and flat rate per page all in, based on a fixed quarterly payment over three years. The combination of our centralised expertise and resources and your local partner suits Irish business very well.

Unless doing it is actually your business, printing will always be an expense that does not contribute directly to the bottom line. Printing is a major cost element that has to be kept under control. At Oki, our experience is that every single client has saved money through our managed print service. There are not too many areas of IT where that can be said!

 

Martin Deignan is sales and marketing director for OKI Ireland.

 

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