Reduce Printer & Copier Costs with App for Print Management, Part 2: System Requirements

Reduce printing and copying costs with print management appIn my last post about cutting costs related to your printers and copiers, I discussed the benefits of good print management software that will give you a macro view (total print volume across your company) and a micro view (print volume, toner level, error codes, etc. from each device in the network). If you aren’t sure why any of this matters, first read my post about how print audits improve efficiency of document production.

But, if you’re convinced that it’s time to get down to business and reduce expenses related to printing and copying, then let’s take the next step: system requirements for a printer manager app.

What You Need to Install Printing Management Software

Most apps that track and analyze printers and print volumes must be installed on a Windows-based server or PC, not a Mac. Now, some of you may be tempted to check out right now, but there’s good news. Most companies run a mixed environment, and good software will track a Mac. In fact, it should not make any difference what type or brand of printer or copier is driving the printing, as long as the device is connected to your network.

I always recommend installing print tracking software on servers because they stand the test of time in comparison to individual workstations and are powered 24/7. Plus, when the software is installed on a PC, it can be affected if the hard drive is reformatted, replaced or crashed. However, if you don’t have a server, a Windows PC will get the job done.

With the free software Copeco offers to its customer base in Canton, Akron, Toledo, and surrounding areas in Ohio, the server or PC must have the Microsoft .NET framework installed, be able to communicate with all printers and copiers on the network and pass secure Web traffic on port 443 (a.k.a. https). Local printers (those tethered to a single PC) must have a local agent installed at the host PC.

In my experience, about one out of every five businesses doesn’t have Microsoft .NET installed. That brings us to a fork in the road. Our software won’t run without it, so it must be installed, either by me or the customer. But, if you’re keeping up with Windows updates, this should not be a problem.

Another bit of good news: system requirements for most print management apps don’t change as often as some things do in the digital world. So, once you’ve got it, the software will do its job for years to come.

 

Reduce Printer & Copier Costs with App for Print Management, Part 1: Benefits

Reduce printer and copier costs with printer management appIf you’re an IT manager or coordinator, you probably are expected to keep your eyeballs on lots of different types of technology and equipment. Everything is somehow integrated into the network, right? While this is all done in the name of efficiency, it can sometimes be difficult to monitor so many systems and make sure they’re delivering the speed and cost savings your CFO expects.

One place where business expenses can get out of hand fast is with your printer and copier fleet. That’s because very few companies have a clear picture of their total print volume. A great way to get a grip on this is through a print audit, which I’ve discussed in a previous post. The key to auditing your copiers and printers – and staying on top of how they’re being used over time – is good print management software.

Benefits of Using an IT Solution to Manage Network Printers

If you’re an IT person like me, your first priority is to make sure the print management app you select will deliver great benefits without bogging down your server. In part one of my blog series on this topic, I first want to cover the features your software should deliver.

Great printer manager software should:

  • Be free! Many printer and copier dealers will offer it at no cost to your company, so why pay for it?
  • Allow you to see all printers and copiers in a single web-based interface.
  • Collect a broad range of printer and copier metrics using a data collection agent (DCA), including meter reads, error codes, toner levels, non-toner supply levels, detailed equipment ID information and more.
  • Send e-mail alerts when certain faults or conditions are met (i.e. low toner, maintenance required, etc.).
  • Run historical reports showing volumes, usage and failures, which is helpful in determining cost of operation and over-utilization and under-utilization of machines.
  • Operate 24/7.
  • Allow you to customize transmission intervals.
  • Offer you the option of one-way and two-way communication.
  • Use SSL encryption of at least 128-bit and collect data via SNMP, ICMP and HTTP.
  • Give you the option of porting meter readings directly into a billing system so you never have to chase meter requests again.
  • Never collect personal or user data.
  • Never impact HIPAA compliance

How Much Can You Save with Print Management Software?

A recent survey from IDC concluded that implementing a managed print services program could result in the following savings:

  • 23% average overall cost savings
  • 40% reduction in IT help desk calls
  • 25% cost reduction in consumables
  • 20% cost reduction in unscheduled maintenance
  • 10% cost reduction in installation and upgrades
  • 5% cost reduction in acquisition

At Copeco, we can offer you a great printer management app, perform a thorough print audit and help you reduce costs associated with printers and copiers. If you’re located in Canton, Akron, Toledo or anywhere else in Northeast Ohio, contact us for more information.