In today’s evolving IT world, companies are looking for every advantage, at every angle to find areas to improve the business and reduce costs. Printers are frequently one of the most overlooked assets on the IT network. They are expected to “just work” with little attention paid to how they are being used and, in a lot of cases, little understanding of what they cost. These overlooked devices can cost companies tens of millions of dollars because they have not been properly optimized for the needs of their business. Beyond the hard costs, there is the productivity loss when printers don’t work and employees can’t easily print.
HP has been working with customers to solve these types of issues and get the highest level of performance and value out of their print environment for over twenty years as part of our Managed Print Services engagements. The rise of big data and the internet of things represents an important set of trends that are driving significant advances in how printers are managed and serviced. These concepts are helping deliver higher levels of flexibility, transparency and control, which translates to lower costs and a better print experience for end-users. We see the potential for even more advanced applications to deliver even greater improvements in the future.
Here are a few ways big data innovations can improve printing for your businesses.
Gone are the days when printers were those dumb devices sitting in the corner of the office that almost never seemed to work. Modern printers are smart, connected devices, embedded with sensors and software that enable them to collect and share data about themselves, allowing a greater degree of insight into the state of the printers in a fleet than ever before.
Through the application of big data and business intelligence, it is possible for IT organizations and their MPS partners to collect richer insights about their printers, using it to manage them for efficiency and productivity beyond what is possible today. Some areas where advances in data collection about printers is helping drive improved performance include:
Historically, printer placement around the office has been guided by a limited set of data, such as print volumes and color usage. Big data enables precise printer placement in the office, determining issues like where a color printer is needed vs. black and white, where a multifunction printer is needed, or how many printers a business needs. By bringing together many types of data such as user profiles, , data types and the duration of print jobs along with the composition of the existing printer fleet, it is possible to create a plan for the optimal device deployment and update that plan as the office evolves. The result is a printer deployment strategy that is customized based on the needs of each office to increase the performance of the workforce and avoid unnecessary print-related expenses.
The big data analytics journey of an org. is typically completed in 3 steps: Step 1 – Data Collection & Device Discovery – The journey begins by examining how data is collected data from devices and users. Most organizations are surprised to find that a good portion of the devices are “non-reporting” but they can be added to the network. This is also an opportunity to examine whether the data collection process is secure. Step 2 – Device Monitoring & Management – Once the data collection system is in place and secure, organizations then need to spend time correcting any initial device problems and set up routines for ongoing device management. The key is to understand not only device placement but typical usage patterns and obsolescence status.