Moving to a cloud print infrastructure comes with a lot of benefits, such as freeing your IT resources to focus on strategic projects and value-driven business goals.
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits.
This is especially true with hybrid workplaces. Access to technology, including print devices, has become a priority with employees needing to work, communicate and collaborate while being in different locations.
In this article, we take a closer look at some main benefits an organization enjoys when it moves its print infrastructure to the cloud.
Anywhere accessibility for a hybrid workplace
Today, we see employees working from a variety of different locations – some in the office, others at home and some maybe even across the globe.
Print infrastructure in the cloud removes traditional barriers. Physical location becomes less important to management and setup, replaced by a device being connected via the internet. Once connected, an IT or print management service working from anywhere can configure the device for network use, and grant access to only those with a company VPN, all from a single dashboard.
Secured print release technology keeps data and documents secured for those in the office too. Print jobs can be sent but only released via a passcode or an ID badge when in the office, which also saves costs on unused paper resources from abandoned print jobs.
We know eliminating local print infrastructure – servers, applications that need updating, and the space needed to house and store the hardware – removes a big-time commitment for an IT team or department. Cloud print infrastructure does this. But it isn’t just IT departments that enjoy greater productivity.
Everyone becomes more productive.
With less physical infrastructure, there are fewer contracts to maintain and bills to pay, freeing accounting resources. Furthermore, connecting to printers becomes a task any employee can accomplish in a few simple steps, whether they are in the office, at home, or working halfway across the globe.
The simple fact is that printing infrastructure in the cloud drives greater productivity for everyone in the organization.
Business continuity and business agility made easy
Print infrastructure based in the cloud lives in offsite data centres. This means that if something should happen at an office location, such as the one that had housed the print servers and management tools, company-wide processes and printing are not affected.
But what if something happens to the data centre where the print infrastructure lives? Most data centres replicate their services across multiple geographies, so if something happens to one location, the redundant systems take over. Now, there are exceptions. A lot depends on the data centres and services that are part of your contract with your service provider.
When choosing to move your print infrastructure to the cloud – whether you have a contract with a data centre or choose a service like Ricoh’s Managed Print as a Service, it’s vital that you ask about data centre redundancy and uptime guarantees.
Presuming you employ best practices for cloud hosting services, moving your print infrastructure to the cloud can boost your business agility to respond to the unexpected and support your business continuity plans.
Additionally, without the need to think about print infrastructure in the event of a disaster or disruption, your business continuity teams, specifically IT and operations, can focus on pressing employee and customer needs rather than rebuilding a print server.
Reduced operational costs
On-site network technology like print servers comes with a host of costs. There’s the cost of the equipment itself. There is also the cost of the software and applications needed to run them, as well as the endpoint antivirus and network security applications needed. In addition, annual maintenance and service fees add up and the list could go on.
Cloud infrastructure eliminates most of these. Depending on the service you pick, you might eliminate them all, replacing the multiple costs and fees that need managing with a single, monthly operational expense.
In our experience, many organizations find that this single monthly fee often matches, or is sometimes much lesser than the capital and operating costs (CAPEX and OPEX) of managing all the hardware, software, services, etc., that go into managing local print infrastructure. Not only do operational costs come down, but they also become a single, predictable budget line item.
Access to powerful, insight-loaded data
Many print infrastructure as a service platform feature analytics tools and reporting, turning print data into valuable intelligence. Reporting dashboards offer ways to deliver relevant insights at a glance for stakeholders, relieving the burden on IT to pull reports.
Some services offer advanced consulting services for those instances when extracting value from volumes of print data is desired but difficult for an IT, operations or finance team as currently configured.
What kind of insight can be found in print data?
The actual data points you target will depend on your goals. Certainly, there is number of prints, supply usage and common document types printed. Other data that can be collected are the type of printing done (two-sided or one-sided), time of day (behavioral data) and even energy usage.
The value is not the data points themselves. The real value comes in the way this data can inform strategy and decision-making to streamline operations, cut costs and help an organization meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With cloud-based printing, not only can users have control of their own paper output, but real-time analytics are accessible to see how to reduce paper usage over time. Ultimately, usage data and insights can be used to better optimize your print infrastructure more cost-effectively and create a positive impact on the bottom line.
Manage your print infrastructure with ease. RICOH Print Management Cloud (PMC) is a unique all-in-one print infrastructure solution that enables organizations of all sizes to benefit from the agility and innovation of cloud technology. Take print management to the cloud. It’s just simpler.
Discover a new way to work
Ricoh's Digital Workplace Solutions combine the right services, expertise and technology to optimize the flow of information, so you can improve employee productivity, better serve your customers and grow your business.