Printing doesn’t have to be challenging

When it comes to managing the IT infrastructure of a school, college or university campus you’d be forgiven for thinking that printing isn’t the most challenging of tasks. However, you may be surprised just how many support tickets get raised because “there’s something wrong with the printer!”.

IT departments across the country continue to be tasked with delivering more for less. The increase in remote learning, technology-led teaching, BYOD environments and more is adding to the complexity of managing an IT estate. So, when a print solution doesn’t quite fit, it can lead to frustration – not just for users, but for the IT teams that support them.

We work with a lot of schools in the UK, and we often hear about the burden of managing a fleet of printers. Interestingly, it was only when we started to try and quantify that burden that we realised just how much impact it had on day-to-day operations.

 

Save money on printing

During a recent discussion with one school it was revealed that, on average, they raised 55 print support tickets per month. These varied in nature but were generally either break-fix issues or software troubleshooting. Now, the average support ticket in the UK costs £48 (plus VAT or course) and takes 10 hours to close. This meant the school was spending over £30,000 and 6,000 hours per year supporting its printers.

One of the biggest challenges was in supporting the rapid growth in BYOD printing. The pandemic had accelerated the adoption of iPad learning but, with the exponential growth in device type and ownership, it was having a negative impact on users’ ability to print.

If the print management solution isn’t fit for purpose, it can result in the creation of unnecessary support tickets, constant restarting of print servers, clearing of print jobs and even the freezing of devices when trying to print. In some cases, the bad experience finds its way back to parents of students and extra pressure is put on the school to solve the problem.

We believe that IT departments should spend their time and money where it matters most – delivering digital transformation across the campus, enabling remote working and helping to deliver improvements in efficiency, productivity and sustainability. Not replacing toners or carrying out preventative maintenance on a fleet of printers. If you’re outsourcing your print management to a service provider, scheduled attendance by site engineers and a proactive approach to servicing can dramatically reduce the number of print-related inquiries coming into your service desk.

Something else we often see is the under-utilisation of print rooms in schools. Thanks in no small part to distance learning, students working on tablet devices and the widespread use of digital learning platforms such as Google Classroom, Buncee and ClassMax. Of course, you can’t resource a print room for the quiet times, it has to be able to cope with the busy periods too. So, how can you help increase utilisation? For some schools, the answer is to open up use of the facilities to parents and offer print room-as-a-service. This cloud-based application allows parents to order prints online via a secure web app. Not only does this help the school to maximise the returns on its investment in print room technology ,but it also allows parents to access a competitively priced resource.

In terms of Printing Technology, there are now a strong mix of solutions that offer robust BYOD printing services. Take Papercut’s “Mobility Print” for example. It’s an incredibly easy to install solution that already supports over five million devices worldwide. Implementing a solution like this can massively reduce the number of tickets being generated, simply by providing a more reliable tablet printing service.  Smart Plugins such as “Intuitive” can also boost your business intelligence and help you to visualise and analyse your printing activity in much greater detail. They come with a wide range of dashboards as standard and are great for highlighting areas for potential process automation, areas of over-spend or under-utility, plus any security weaknesses.

For schools that are wishing to simplify their on-premises estate and eliminate the risk of server vulnerabilities, there is the option of moving to a secure cloud printing solution. There are a host of technologies available that allow them to make their Print Servers redundant, reducing costs and support overheads. Printer Drivers are replaced by a single Printer Queue, which can be deployed centrally via Applications such as Microsoft Intune.

 

How can we help?

If managing your print infrastructure has become a burden, why not get in touch? We’ve been working with schools and higher education establishments across the UK to help improve print security, simplify workflow management and reduce operating costs.

Step one is usually an audit of your current printing landscape and architecture, followed by detailed recommendations as to how you can improve the cost and quality of service. If you’d like to see an example of an audit report, let us know.

 

Request a copy of sample audit

Alternatively, call us now on 01293 562525 or email enquiries@sossystems.co.uk

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