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21st century enterprise print services
Breaking organisational silos to deliver financial and operational benefits
By: Quocirca
Published: April 2010
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Despite the huge growth in electronic communications, printed output, whether internally produced or externally procured, is still widely used in 21st century businesses. Yet all too often, a fragmented approach to managing desktop printing, the print room and external printing means that few organisations have visibility into enterprise-wide print costs. This can lead to spiralling economic and environmental costs along with the inherent security risks of poorly managed printing.

The problems are further compounded by the need to ensure all users - whether they are office-based or remote - have access to the right devices and tools to enable them to print documents securely, reliably and in a timely manner. Many large businesses are seeing significant cost reductions, better resource use, higher availability and better visibility of their spending on print through adopting a managed print service that covers both internally and externally produced printed materials.

This paper explores the challenges of managing printing in large organisations today, the implications of an unmanaged print environment and recommendations for adopting an enterprise wide print strategy. A coordinated approach to controlling internally and externally produced print

Most office printing environments have evolved to become a patchwork of devices including copiers, printers, scanners and fax machines, together with a multitude of isolated document processes. Despite the proliferation of digital communications, printed output remains pervasive - whether it is internally printed documents or those outsourced to commercial printers. Most organisations manage desktop printing, the print room, remote printing and external procurement as silos, resulting in little or no visibility of enterprise-wide printing costs. Progressive organisations that are adopting enterprise managed print services (MPS) are gaining visibility across both internal and externally procured print, leading to reduced costs and greater efficiency.

  • Printing is pervasive across large businesses, but managed in silos. From desktop-generated documents produced on office printers, to high volume or customised documents produced in print rooms through to externally procured material, printed output is ubiquitous and must be accessible to both office workers and the growing population of remote workers. Yet fragmented print management through different stakeholders, including IT, procurement, facilities management and the lines of business means few organisations have a comprehensive view of enterprise-wide printing costs.
  • An unmanaged print environment is costly and inefficient. Operating an unmanaged print environment can lead to excessive paper wastage, high energy usage, poorly optimised purchasing of consumables and security vulnerabilities. While this can be mitigated through MPS, embracing the wider picture of enterprise printed output is key to longer term savings and efficiencies.
  • Large organisations are using MPS to optimise their distributed office print requirements. Using an external provider to manage office printing addresses device sprawl through consolidation and minimises disruption through proactive service and support. However, few organisations include the print room within their office MPS engagement or consider the wider costs associated with the decentralised use of external commercial printers.
  • Poor device utilisation impacts print room productivity. Many document production processes are cumbersome and rarely integrated across the office and print room environments. This can cause poor print room device utilisation, particularly when jobs that can be produced more cost-effectively in the print room are sent to commercial printers. Integrated workflow tools enable complex print jobs to be re-routed from office printers to the print room, ensuring optimal device utilisation and minimal business disruption. This integration is the foundation of enterprise print services.
  • Traditional approaches to print procurement are no longer tenable. In industries such as publishing, advertising and retail, printing is a major item of corporate spending. Most print procurement processes are manual and costly with little control across the supply chain and limited visibility into overall spending. A centralised, outsourced e-procurement service leverages economies of scale, leading to faster job completion turnaround times, lowering costs and eliminating ad hoc spending.
  • Businesses must look beyond office printing to further reduce costs. Enterprises should first conduct a thorough review of all internal and external print spending through using an external MPS provider. This will identify which opportunities for consolidation and centralisation will generate the fastest and most significant print infrastructure cost savings and environmental efficiencies.

Quocirca recommends that large organisations consider all elements of internally and externally produced printing and take a strategic approach to developing an efficient, environmentally sound and low cost enterprise printing infrastructure.

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Published by: IT Analysis Communications Ltd.
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