Evaluating Software for Printer Management

Posted by Devin Anderson

There are plenty of printer management software solutions out there promising to bring an end to your printer management woes. Even print servers, which don’t exactly have the most stellar track record, are always claiming to offer one or two features in each new version that address their long-standing shortcomings. And that claim might very well be true, but it doesn’t necessarily make them the best print management software solution for your needs.

So how do you go about evaluating these competing and sometimes very different solutions to determine which printer management software is right for your organization? Taking into account the incredible variety of print environments, there are some universal factors that you’ll want to consider.

  • Rock-solid stability: Printing is absolutely vital for your organization’s end users. Can your network printer management software withstand the rigorous demands of day-to-day printing as well as unusual high-load situations? All too often, we think of server crashes as an inevitability when it comes to our printer management software. But outages should be so rare that they are almost unheard of, not a matter of course.
  • Unlimited scalability: How well does your printer management solution accommodate growth? Does the addition of a new pool of users or expansion to a new location require more hardware, more infrastructure, more cost, more oversight? Will growth tax the capabilities of the existing system and require more from the admins who are responsible for maintaining it? The ideal network printer management software should scale up quickly, easily and almost infinitely.
  • Ease of use: Good printer management software gives you the tools to accomplish what you need to do. The best print management software makes those tools easily accessible, intuitive and efficient. For example, does your network printer management software allow you to make changes to multiple printer configurations or update drivers enterprise-wide with just a few clicks?
  • End-user empowerment: Ease of use isn’t just something that benefits admins. The ideal printer management solution ought to be transparent and accessible to your organization’s end users as well. They should have the possibility to perform basic functions like identifying and installing nearby printers themselves—without complexity, without risk.
  • Advanced functionality: The workplace has changed dramatically over the past decade. Mobile devices are proliferating, and security is the watchword. The best print management software is already ahead of the trends, allowing you to implement features like BYOD and guest printing and secure printing across the enterprise with seamless integration and minimal fuss.
  • Total oversight: What good is printer management software that doesn’t illuminate all the corners of your print environment? The right enterprise printing solution is one that gives you both a macro- and micro-level window into your entire organization, highlighting longitudinal printer management trends while providing detailed device- or user-specific activity.

That might read more like a wishlist than a checklist, but then, you must not yet be familiar with PrinterLogic. Our next-generation network printer management software provides your organization with all those benefits and much, much more, including powerful centralized management, seamless support for virtual solutions like Citrix and VMware, effortless and accurate deployments without GPOs and scripts, and the ability to eliminate print servers completely. PrinterLogic will completely change what you expect from your printer management solution and how you evaluate printer management software now and in the future.

In fact, we’re so confident that you’ll find PrinterLogic to be the best print management software bar none that we offer a free, full-featured, 30-day trial. Because the most thorough and accurate evaluation is the real-world test.

Do Backup Print Servers Save or Cost You Money?

Posted by Jordan Pusey

Best practices suggest that print-server-based print environments should create regular backups. The logic behind that is clear. Aside from backups being a fundamental part of any IT setup, print servers are notorious for being crash-prone. Even something as workaday as a problematic print job or a driver conflict can bring down the entire print server, losing vital data in the process. That, in turn, prevents printing for all reliant users. Small or centralized organizations with a single print server are particularly vulnerable. With a backup, you can at least restore printing functionality with a little less downtime if the primary print server is seriously compromised or lost.

Given scenarios like this, many organizations are already aware of the value of having a backup of their print server 2008 or 2012. In fact, Microsoft even recommends having two separate backups. But, really, how much value does a backup print server bring?

First, regardless of whether you want to backup print server 2008 or 2012, you’ll need to install multiple software components, including snap-ins and command-line tools. In most cases, you’ll also need to ensure that the person performing the backup has the right group membership and privileges to do so. You’ll then have to determine which print server settings and data you want to backup, whether you want to do a full or incremental backup of your print server, set automatic backups and, finally, choose a backup destination. There are too many variables and details to these procedures to list here, so please consult Microsoft’s technical help guide on how to backup printer server 2012 or 2008 step by step.

As with any backup, you’ll have to have a storage destination that’s at least the size of your print server’s storage—and preferably far greater if you plan on keeping multiple full print server backups. (To backup print server 2008, Microsoft suggests a backup destination that has 1.5 times the storage of the source.) Also, it’s important to have a trained IT professional with proper authorization who can “reverse” this process and restore either the entire print server or select data when the need arises. And, of course, he or she will also have to know how to tweak the restored version. It’s very rare that a backup of your print server 2012 or 2008 will seamlessly restore the print server to its fully functional state prior to the moment of the crash. Some configurations will be missing. Some jobs will be lost forever.

Throughout all of this, one thing is certain: It costs money. The storage and other hardware that’s required to backup your print server, the time it takes to set up and carry out the backup and restore processes, the inevitable downtime and lost productivity…it all adds up and impacts your bottom line. To backup print server 2008 or 2012 and then restore it following a crash, you’re looking at costs that are almost equal to the costs of purchasing, operating and maintaining the primary print server. Plus it doesn’t really help you avoid significant interruptions in printing functionality.

A far better solution would be to migrate to PrinterLogic. Our enterprise print management software enables your organization to eliminate its print server completely, saving you all the headache and expense that’s involved in having to deal with it on a daily basis—not to mention the all the headache and expense that’s involved in having to back it up.

Furthermore, PrinterLogic’s print management solution is remarkably easy to administer and incredibly robust, so you won’t have to worry about the driver conflicts and faulty printer installations that bring print servers to their knees. Even in the rare event of a server outage, PrinterLogic allows end users across the entire organization to continue printing as usual. Thanks to its stability and minimal infrastructure requirements, 88% of PrinterLogic customers surveyed by the independent research company TechValidate reported ROI of 100% or more (TVID: 054-57D-184). And there’s plenty more data to back that up!

Tips for Exporting Print Drivers from One Server to Another

The great thing about the digital age is that it makes duplicating and transferring vast amounts of information so easy—well, as long as everything goes according to plan. That’s rarely more true than when exporting print drivers. When you export print drivers from one server to another, the process can sometimes be a smooth one that involves just a few clicks. But more often than not, the unique parameters of your print environment can result in a few hiccups in the export/import process. Those hiccups can then lead to hours of post-process troubleshooting.

To start with a bit of background: There are a number of reasons why you might want to export print drivers from server 2008 to 2012, for example, or between two print servers running the same version. Maybe you’re simply deploying an additional print server in your print environment and you’ll be using the same print drivers in that new user pool. Maybe your print server has experienced a serious crash or becomes corrupted, so you’re looking to start over. Or maybe you’re migrating existing print drivers to a brand new print server running the latest software version.

Whatever the case, these general tips will help you export print drivers from one server to another:

When exporting print drivers from and to pre-Vista operating systems, download and run Microsoft’s Print Migrator Utility. The good news is that you can run this utility from anywhere, including a USB flash drive. And it usually only involves a few self-explanatory clicks (basically, “Backup” and “Restore”) that even a novice user could figure out. The bad news is that it’s limited to what are now end-of-life’d versions of Windows and does not support 64-bit systems or drivers.

If you’re looking to export print drivers from one server to another in a scenario where the source is pre-Vista and the destination operating system is newer (essentially anything after server 2003), you will need an intermediary system. In other words, you first need to use the Print Migrator Utility to export the print drivers to a server 2003 system, then follow the instructions below to import the print drivers to your server 2008/2012 system.

To export print drivers from server 2008 to 2012, the Printer Migration Wizard is more or less the updated version of the Print Migrator Utility. You can access it through the Print Management snap-in or via the Printbrm.exe command-line tool. This tool is compatible with 64-bit drivers, but it does not work with Windows Server 2000 and earlier. The Wizard makes the steps fairly straightforward, but you will need to pay close attention to options during import and ensure that they suit the parameters of your print environment.

As noted above, though, there’s no guarantee that these export and import processes will work flawlessly. We’ve covered the tediousness and complexity of migrating 64-bit print drivers between servers in a previous blog post, and that’s something you’ll definitely have to keep in mind if you’re operating a mixed 32-/64-bit print environment. There are a lot of potential pitfalls—too many to list here—if you attempt to introduce 32-bit drivers into a newer system or you have 32- and 64-bit print drivers running in parallel.

Why not take the guesswork out of the equation? Instead of crossing your fingers as you attempt to export print drivers from server 2008 to 2012, take advantage of the opportunity to migrate to PrinterLogic. Using PrinterLogic’s enterprise print management solution, you can eliminate your organization’s print servers entirely for a cost-effective, single-server, on-premises solution that addresses all the shortcomings of print servers and brings more functionality, resiliency and flexibility to your print environment.

With PrinterLogic, managing print drivers becomes a breeze, and its inherent stability means you no longer have to keep 32- and 64-bit print drivers effectively quarantined. The best part? You’ll never have to export print drivers from one server to another again.

How to Measure the True Cost of Your Enterprise Printing

With enterprise printing, as with every other operational budget item, there are visible costs and then there are true costs. The visible costs of enterprise print management are fairly easy to calculate. There are the printers, naturally, and then there are consumables like toner and paper. A surprising number of organizations stop there. They assume that these enterprise printing costs are the only significant ones, and that they’re pretty much fixed and irreducible.

But actual enterprise printing costs have the potential to go far beyond that. Take print servers, for example. Countless organizations continue to use print servers as their default enterprise printer management solution, and these devices are far from being cost- or hassle-free. There are costs of procurement, operation, maintenance, licensing and upgrade associated with print servers. Those dollars add up over time, not least when you factor in the expensive man-hours involved in enterprise print management when using print servers—troubleshooting, complex printer installation and deployment, driver management, lost productivity during downtime, support desk calls, and so on. Now we’re getting to the true costs of enterprise printing.

Even the costs of printers and consumables aren’t as fixed as you might think. A study by a leading print manufacturer found that 17% of all print output was considered waste. This includes web printouts with a single URL at the bottom of a blank page, duplicate copies, reprinted jobs and abandoned printouts. That means almost one out of every five printed pages is squandering paper and toner as well as causing unnecessary wear and tear on the printer itself. When you consider that enterprise printing costs account for somewhere between 1 and 3% of an organization’s revenue, the wider expenses associated with enterprise printer management start to become apparent. There’s a lot of opportunity for cost savings in that wasted output.

Here’s the problem, though. Just being aware of the scope of enterprise print management expenditures isn’t always enough to do anything about curbing them. You need to obtain hard data on the details of your enterprise printing costs, and you need to have the ability to follow through. PrinterLogic enables you to do both.

Our next-generation enterprise print management solution gives you immediate access to built-in reporting functionality, so you can determine data points like the most heavily used printers and the users with the highest print output anywhere in the organization. This is a comprehensive, useful and effective way to identify high consumable usage and encourage individual users or departments to cut down on excess. PrinterLogic’s Print Auditing capabilities takes this a step further, putting advanced data points like aggregate print job information and cost–benefit analysis into your hands. With this information, you can consolidate printers to reduce infrastructure and determine real-world enterprise printing costs by department, location or printer.

PrinterLogic doesn’t just provide valuable information about your print environment. It also makes it possible to implement the initiatives that address enterprise printing costs at their source. With Pull Printing, for instance, you can tackle everyday waste by adding an intentional but convenient “release” step to your printing protocol. Not only does this make printing far more secure, it also avoids duplicate jobs, reprints and abandoned printouts. Thanks to features like these along with PrinterLogic’s inherent efficiency, almost 70% of the organizations surveyed by the independent research company TechValidate reported a 15% reduction in consumables usage through PrinterLogic (TVID: 7F5-FCC-413).

You no longer need to guess or estimate how much enterprise printer management is costing your organization. With PrinterLogic, you’ll have that information—plus avenues for action—right at your fingertips. And in addition to allowing you to eliminate print servers and all their attendant costs, too, PrinterLogic keeps adding to its ROI through the stability, ease of use and seamless integration that results in fewer service desk calls. It’s the simplest way to discover, analyze and reduce the true costs of enterprise printing.

Breaking Down Your Top Epic Printing Problems

Posted by Jordan Pusey

Many organizations in the healthcare sector make use of Epic printing to handle the complex and ever-increasing demands associated with electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) print management. Epic printing solutions can be incredibly valuable in this regard, but they’re not exactly known for being easy to use, stable or low maintenance. Depending on the size of the organization, it’s not uncommon to find individuals or whole teams dedicated to the task of minimizing Epic printing problems in order to keep printing available and functional for end users.

There are a variety of potential problems with Epic printing solutions in any EMR/EHR print management application. Their sheer number can make it difficult for organizations to pinpoint their top Epic printing problems in order to set about correcting the most time- or resource-intensive among them. To help you narrow them down, let’s take a look at some of the most common:

  • Print redirection problems: Epic printing, like some virtualization solutions, relies on print redirection to link client computers to printers. This sounds straightforward in principle, but it can lead to additional and unnecessary complexity in EHR or EMR print management (see below) as well as routine printing issues.
  • Limited (or absent) print reporting and tracking: Insight into your print environment is crucial, especially in the healthcare sector. Unfortunately, most Epic printing solutions deliver very little detail—even of the most basic kind, such as printer usage and job tracking—on printing activity. Yet this information is essential for formulating efficiency initiatives and even maintaining an acceptable level of security.
  • Labor-intensive EMR and EHR print management: When changes need to be made across multiple Epic print servers (EPSs), admins have to perform these manually for each instance. Simply adding a printer, for example, has to be repeated for each EPS, which turns a routine task into time-consuming drudgery. Furthermore, each manual intervention increases the risk of human error and could lead to hours of troubleshooting.
  • Poor driver management: This could fall under EHR/EMR print management, but it’s worthy of a category unto itself because of its wide-reaching effects. Outdated, incompatible or incorrectly deployed printer drivers can cause no end of Epic printing problems — from harmless but annoying error messages to major client or server crashes. Yet basic driver management is a huge headache and hard to perfect, even with solid best practices in place.

If one or all of these are among your top Epic printing problems, it might be a good idea to consider migrating to PrinterLogic to restore stability, manageability and ease of use to your Epic printing environment along with streamlining EMR and EHR print management.

PrinterLogic’s next-generation enterprise print management solution is able to leverage the strengths of Epic printing while addressing its shortcomings through features like centralized management and seamless integration with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions like Citrix and VMware. Unlike lesser Epic printing solutions, PrinterLogic allows you to add, edit or remove printers from a single pane of glass and have that single change instantly propagate to every printer on every EPS. This alone has the potential to save hundreds of hours in EHR/EMR print management each year.

As organizations like OhioHealth have discovered, PrinterLogic is the perfect complement to Epic printing for other reasons, too. PrinterLogic’s virtually unlimited scalability allow your print environment to grow without sacrificing the visibility that’s vital to maintaining efficiency. Plus its versatility and rapid deployment make it ideally suited to any healthcare organization, large or small. Whatever your top Epic printing problems might be, PrinterLogic is your top Epic printing solution.

Is Your Serverless Printing Secure?

Posted by Jordan Pusey

For anyone who’s struggled with print servers, serverless printing sounds like a dream. Just imagine the benefits: no unexplained spooler crashes, no single points of failure, no need to upgrade and maintain server hardware and software, no WAN print traffic. Instead clients are associated with printers via stable, straightforward and reliable direct IP connections. But serverless printing in its most basic form tends to come with two important drawbacks: manageability and security.

We’ve previously discussed how PrinterLogic’s next-generation print management solution rapidly introduces effortless, powerful centralized management into serverless (aka direct IP) print environments of any size, but what about secure printing solutions in serverless printing implementations?

The main issue with secure printing in serverless printing scenarios is that Active Directory (AD) integration ranges from limited to none at all. This means that administrators have very little control over which printers can be accessed by which users. In print-server-based environments, printers can be deployed based on a variety of AD criteria, although this is usually done through group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts, both of which have their own quirks and headaches. In serverless printing environments, however, even these imperfect deployment options are unavailable without one or more secure printing solutions in place.

That’s where PrinterLogic’s enterprise print management solution comes into play. In one fell swoop, your serverless printing environment gets incredible centralized management and secure printing. This is because PrinterLogic integrates tightly with AD right out of the box, allowing you to set up fine-grained printer deployments across the enterprise from a single pane of glass—but without having to rely on the finicky hierarchies of GPOs and the complexity of scripts.

Nor is that the end of it. The reason PrinterLogic tops other secure printing solutions in serverless printing applications is because it enables you to go beyond AD-based deployments. Thanks to its native secure printing solutions, you can easily implement advanced secure printing functionality like Pull Printing throughout your entire organization.

Features like this turn printing into a deliberate but seamless and convenient two-step process—even in large or intricate serverless printing scenarios—whereby the end user first initiates the print job as usual to a destination printer of his or her choice, then “releases” that job once he or she is physically present at the printer. The release step in this secure printing example can be achieved in one of three ways:

  • A badge/card reader: PrinterLogic’s secure printing solutions integrate with your existing badge system. In this case, the end user can swipe a card and execute the job on the associated printer.
  • The printer control panel: By installing the PrinterLogic app on supported printers, authorized end users can release their print jobs directly from the device’s built-in control panel.
  • Any device with a browser: As a testament to just how flexible PrinterLogic’s secure printing solutions are, end users are able to release their print jobs through our web-based app on any PC, Mac, Chromebook or mobile device.

What’s more, secure printing can also curb the waste that results from unclaimed or abandoned print jobs.

If you’ve wondered whether or not your serverless printing setup is secure, the answer is that it probably isn’t. Secure printing solutions other than PrinterLogic do exist for serverless print infrastructures, but they’re unlikely to provide secure printing functionality with the same flexibility, seamlessness and ease of use. And they certainly won’t bring PrinterLogic’s acclaimed centralized printer and driver management into your serverless printing environment.

Single Server Printing Solutions from PrinterLogic

Posted by Andrew Miller

Generally speaking, print servers have two possible implementations. The first involves deploying multiple print servers across an organization, effectively distributing the total printing load. This means that the inevitable print server crashes are more localized and will only affect a smaller portion of end users, but it drives up the costs of procurement, administration, maintenance and upgrades. The second implementation involves printing with a single server, which consolidates the print infrastructure.

The appeal of printing with a single server should be obvious. Reduced infrastructure! Lower costs! Centralized administration! Ah, but not so fast. Just as there are drawbacks with multi-server implementations, so too, there are drawbacks with single-server printing—at least as far as traditional print servers are concerned. These include:

  • A critical single point of failure: Your print capabilities are now at the mercy of one notoriously unreliable device. If that print server crashes or fails, no one in the organization can print until it’s brought back online. And that means the IT team has to be ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice in order to restore print capabilities.
  • Higher costs of redundancy: Some organizations compensate for the vulnerability that single-server printing creates by investing in secondary and even tertiary fallback print servers. But here’s the irony: Those organizations can no longer claim to be printing with a single server because those redundant print servers have to be purchased, operated and maintained alongside the primary one.
  • Increased strain on the wide-area network (WAN): Single-server printing in geographically distributed organizations depends on a reliable, large-bandwidth WAN. This is because print-related data traffic from remote sites has to take a very inefficient route from the client machine all the way to the main print server, then back again to the local printer. And though the print job might leave the client machine measuring a few hundred kilobytes in size, rendering can cause it to balloon to several hundred megabytes before the return journey. All that extra data can take a toll on WAN performance.
  • Increased dependence on the WAN: Even with redundancy measures in place, two-way print traffic comes to a halt should the WAN connection be interrupted for any reason. The concern over single points of failure then shifts to the WAN, which is a very fragile lifeline for something as vital as printing.

As you can see, printing with a single server is fraught with challenges and risks. Fortunately, PrinterLogic has developed a next-generation print management solution that is able to deliver the benefits of single-server printing without the usual drawbacks posed by print servers—even (and especially) in distributed environments.

That’s because our enterprise print management solution leverages the strengths of direct IP printing to establish one-to-one connections between client machines and local printers. In the event of a WAN outage, for example, PrinterLogic enables end users to continue printing as usual with no loss of functionality. And by the same token, PrinterLogic also frees up WAN bandwidth, as routine outgoing and incoming print-related data traffic is minimized. Advantages like those are all but impossible with single-server printing using conventional print servers.

At the same time, PrinterLogic’s enterprise print management solution provides effortless centralized printer and driver management, self-service printer installation for end users, dynamic automated deployments without the use of group policy objects (GPOs) and scripts, seamless integration with virtual solutions (e.g., Citrix, VMware), and even the ability to add Mobile Printing and Secure Printing functionality. All with the minimal footprint—and cost—through printing with a single server. In other words: No pain, all gain.

Terminal Server Printing Made Easy

A Terminal Server is used by many organizations that want to enable multiple users to connect to a single server system. As with any server-based infrastructure, however, it can be challenging to implement basic print capabilities that are both reliable and intuitive for end users. Even if you’re doing your best to follow best practices, you might find your Terminal Server printing slow or problematic, particularly if many users are accessing it remotely over a wide-area network (WAN) connection.

To be sure, not all Terminal Server setups are the same. Typically there are two main variants:

  • Print jobs are sent directly to the printer from the Terminal Server or a print server.
  • After being processed by the Terminal Server, print jobs are sent back to the client computer. From there they are relayed directly to the printer or indirectly to the printer via a print server.

Seasoned admins will immediately spot the drawbacks of these setups. With each new link in the network chain, the potential for interruption or incompatibility is increased. The second variant really highlights this. The hops from Terminal Server to client computer and finally to printer create at least three opportunities for the print job to become corrupted or slowed. As part of their Terminal Server printing best practices, many organizations have deployed print servers to help restore some control to print management. But these print servers come with their own issues—in addition to introducing another fallible network link that can make Terminal Server printing slow and unreliable.

Things get even trickier in remote situations. With greater reliance on the WAN connection to the Terminal Server, printing can both cause and suffer from bottlenecks. That’s why organizations have started to look to Terminal Server printing software solutions for alternatives to these setups. Unfortunately, print servers are often still part of that print management equation. This opens the possibility of trading one set of printing problems for another.

For Terminal Server printing software without the inherent compromises of print servers, there’s PrinterLogic. Our next-generation print management solution is like bundling all of the Terminal Server printing best practices into a single convenient, fast-deploying and cost-effective printing platform. Even in unique or challenging Terminal Server environments, PrinterLogic’s solution can be implemented seamlessly and offers the following benefits:

  • No print servers: PrinterLogic not only eliminates the need for future print servers, it can eliminate existing ones. That allows your organization to reduce your print infrastructure to one server running a single instance of PrinterLogic, even in geographically distributed environments.
  • Minimization of WAN traffic: Heavy WAN use can make Terminal Server printing slow or vulnerable to WAN dropouts. PrinterLogic enables end users to continue printing as usual in all situations, including during WAN interruptions or the rare event of a server outage.
  • Self-service printer installation: End users don’t always want or need the same default printer, especially in dynamic environments. Accurately and reliably deploying printers to these end users with conventional Terminal Server printing software can be difficult and unpredictable. PrinterLogic makes it possible for end users to identify and install nearby printers themselves with intuitive floorplan maps and a single click.
  • Enhanced functionality: Want to implement Mobile Printing or Pull Printing enterprise-wide? What about comprehensive, insightful Print Auditing? You can do all of that easily with PrinterLogic.

And that’s just the start. PrinterLogic’s enterprise print management solution is the Terminal Server printing software you’ve been waiting to discover. It makes the notoriously difficult process of Terminal Server printing easy.

Laser Spine Institute Reduces Print-Related Support Calls to “Nearly Zero” with PrinterLogic

Nationwide Health Care Provider Implements PrinterLogic’s Enterprise Print Management Solution to Eliminate WAN Print Traffic, Drastically Reduce Service-Desk Calls and Spearhead Efficiency Gains

St. George, UTAH—May 2, 2017—PrinterLogic, the leading server-less Enterprise Print Management solution that enables businesses to eliminate Windows print servers, announced today that Laser Spine Institute has shrunk the number of its print-related service desk calls to “nearly zero” and leveraged the efficiency and insight offered by PrinterLogic’s next-generation software to transform its multi-location print environment.

Like many health care providers, Laser Spine Institute had been using print servers as its enterprise printing backbone for many years. However, issues such as limited insight into the print environment, a lack of centralized management, heavy wide-area network (WAN) print traffic and regular printing errors began to compound over time despite their best efforts to mitigate them. The frequency of print-related calls to the service desk increased as overall manageability spiraled downward.

After concluding that “[w]hat we were doing wasn’t convenient for anyone—not for our administrators or our end users,” according to Jeff Alway, IT Support Services Manager at Laser Spine Institute, the organization researched alternative print management solutions and quickly implemented PrinterLogic.

“We didn’t see anything that fit our needs as well as PrinterLogic. PrinterLogic came out on top by far,” he says.

Laser Spine Institute operates seven distinct geographically distributed locations across the United States and employs close to 1,000 staff. To equip its staff and deliver the best quality of care to its patients, the organization maintained a print infrastructure of four print servers and roughly 250 printers. But managing that environment was a “very complicated process,” says Alway, especially across its multiple locations.

“Before PrinterLogic, we had no central management capabilities. Any time we made a change to a printer, we would spend hours making the same change on the main print servers, on each of the 20 to 30 terminal servers. That does not even take into account the challenges of ensuring the end users’ workstations were properly configured.”

By implementing PrinterLogic’s printer and driver management solution, Laser Spine Institute aimed to redress the many challenges it faced regarding the management of its print servers, excessive print-related WAN traffic, and the high volume of printer-related service desk calls.

Managing printers in a distributed organization
Administering printers and queues across Laser Spine Institute’s multiple locations using print servers was “pretty rough,” says Alway. “We had one main print server, and then we had multiple print servers in our other facilities. However, we had constant issues with all of them. On the smaller print servers, we had persistent issues with the drivers being incorrect and the print jobs failing.”

There were dozens of other print-related issues too: routine installations, deployments, updates and print server migrations. Each of those was solved quickly and effectively by PrinterLogic’s centralized management console. Laser Spine Institute is now able to manage all of its printers anywhere in the enterprise from a single pane of glass.

“Printer deployments are much quicker now. When we opened three new facilities and configured 20 to 30 printers per site, we simply exported the data from PrinterLogic and changed the names to reflect the new location. This has cut deployment time from three days to one hour,” says Alway. “PrinterLogic has been a game changer for us when it comes to managing printers. We haven’t had to think about print management for months.”

Empowering frustrated and dissatisfied end users
To improve remote management, Alway says that Laser Spine Institute “ultimately attempted to centralize on one main print server”—a common consolidation strategy used by organizations with multiple physical locations.

Unfortunately, because remote print jobs were then routed to the central server and back, there were “continual issues with printing latency,” he says. “So we’d commonly see scenarios in which users were waiting two or three minutes for their jobs to print. Imagine how frustrating that can be for users who are trying to focus on patient care.”

Alway also notes that a 10MB PDF would often bloat by up to 50 times after being rendered by the central print spooler. This placed a heavy load on the WAN and slowed the speed of WAN-reliant data traffic. End users quickly lost patience with the protracted print times as well as the complex printer installation processes. That led to frequent service desk calls.

With PrinterLogic and its proven direct IP printing backbone, Laser Spine Institute’s end users now print directly from endpoint devices to printers. This means that print jobs do not cross the WAN. Plus end users are safely empowered to perform routine tasks like printer installation themselves, thanks to PrinterLogic’s intuitive self-service portal.

The number of print-related calls to the service desk has since plummeted. “If we ripped out PrinterLogic tomorrow, our call volume would increase dramatically,” says Alway. “Users love it.”

Gaining insight needed for intelligent optimizations
Laser Spine Institute knew that cost-saving print optimizations were needed, but the print servers could only provide a limited overview of usage and activity. Furthermore, the organization was too tied up with basic print management to concentrate on print-related data aggregation and analysis.

The organization has since begun leveraging PrinterLogic’s built-in reporting features to “track and minimize color printing.” Using these tools, Alway says he “was able to quickly generate a report of users who were printing color disproportionately to the rest of their department and identify the color printers that were actually needed.”

PrinterLogic didn’t just provide the information necessary to plan efficiency initiatives. Its streamlined approach to print management also allowed Alway and his team to carry them out. Via the management console, they could easily delete color printer profiles and redirect users to black-and-white printer profiles. “This task was something I was able to accomplish in two minutes—but would have taken at least 40 hours to do in the past,” he says.

“Many vendors have made promises for a dramatic increase in efficiency but were not able to deliver on the promise. That was not the case with PrinterLogic. It has allowed Laser Spine Institute to drastically reduce IT resource requirements for printing. It was a great investment and we really couldn’t live without it at this point.”

About PrinterLogic
Thousands of enterprises use PrinterLogic’s patent-pending printer and driver management platform to deliver Mobile, Pull and Virtual printing, while eliminating print servers and providing a self-service portal that empowers end users to install their own printers. PrinterLogic recently won the 2017 Buyers Laboratory prestigious Pick award as Outstanding Enterprise Print Environment Platform. In addition, the company has been recognized twice as one of the fastest growing companies in North America—being ranked number 141 overall (and 8th amongst software vendors) on the Inc. 5000 and number 107 on the Deloitte Fast 500. For more information, or for a free trial, please visit www.printerlogic.com. Questions? Watch our video or connect with us on Twitter at @PrinterLogic or follow us on FacebookLinkedInYouTubeInstagram and Google+.

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