Is Microsoft’s Universal Print a Truly Modern Print-Management Solution?

Although breakups can be hard, we always love to see companies urging people to part ways with their print servers. We’ve been showing enterprises how to do that for a decade. For PrinterLogic, “Eliminate print servers!” is a battle cry we’ve been sounding for years.

And now that enterprise software giants like Microsoft are starting to break up with print servers, it’s a good time to look at solutions like Microsoft Universal Print and answer some important questions.

  • Does Universal Print and it’s features meet the demands of modern enterprise organizations?
  • How does Universal Print differ from a true SaaS print management solution?
  • Does it bring high availability to print environments?
  • Can it provide platform-agnostic print management?


It’s Tied to Microsoft’s 365 ecosystem

Universal Print requires organizations to commit to Microsoft’s 365 cloud platform (formerly Office 365). They also have to be Windows 10 Enterprise or Education customers running the latest build. And they need to be using Azure AD too. That’s an awful lot of boxes to check. 

Some cutting-edge companies might meet all those criteria off the bat. However, it also means that they’re tied to that ecosystem for the foreseeable future. In modern workplaces where flexibility is key, that’s not ideal.

PrinterLogic’s print-management software is platform agnostic. You can certainly use it to leverage all the benefits of Azure AD or Windows 10. But you’re not locked into either one.


WAN-dependent availability

The Achilles heel of many cloud-based printing solutions is the WAN. If there’s no Internet connection, computers and printers can’t talk to the cloud. If they can’t talk to the cloud, no one can print. Microsoft Universal Print isn’t immune to that limitation.

In fact, its FAQ explicitly states that Universal Print is not for high-availability scenarios.

By contrast, PrinterLogic SaaS uses a direct IP print management model. Workstation clients relay their jobs directly to printers. So even if the WAN goes down, all of your users can print without interruption. You get more uptime from less infrastructure.


Print job data doesn’t stay local

Print availability isn’t the only WAN-related drawback. Another problem with Universal Print’s approach is that print data has to cross the WAN to reach it. That means every single print job leaves your local network to get queued in Microsoft 365 data storage.

On top of being a serious security risk, that can really slow printing speeds. It also forces print traffic to fight for WAN bandwidth. That can lead to all your vital cloud traffic bottlenecking at the WAN.

With PrinterLogic SaaS, print jobs remain safely on the LAN. Furthermore, there’s no centralized print queue. That adds security by completely removing an easy, data-rich target for malicious actors.


A limited feature set…

For now, Universal Print is still in its preview phase. As a result, it’s missing important features like pull printing and mobile printing. There are also no badge release options for secure printing. In other words, it’s a few steps backward for companies that have been working to lock down and modernize their print environments.

PrinterLogic, on the other hand, has had functionality like advanced reporting, versatile secure release printing and easy-to-use mobile printing for years. There’s even a self-service portal for one-click printer installation. All these are mature features that tap into the inherent strengths of our serverless print management.


… and equally limited driver management

Because Microsoft Universal Print is so new, the promise of easy driver management is just that—a promise. Currently, only select Canon printers can claim to have “Universal Print Ready” status. Support for other makes and models of MFPs remains to be seen.

That’s not the case with PrinterLogic SaaS. It has a single repository that consolidates all the drivers in your print environment. Using PrinterLogic’s centralized Admin Console, IT staff can add, remove, update and even roll back printer drivers across the organization. And it works with any printer.


PrinterLogic is a true SaaS printing solution

While we’re psyched to see companies like Microsoft moving beyond on-prem print servers, Universal Print still carries a lot of legacy baggage.

Over a decade ago, PrinterLogic looked to the future to start building the next generation of printing. We’ve been empowering IT pros with centralized print management—plus plenty of other advanced features—without the need for print servers ever since.

If you’re looking for a proven, enterprise-grade direct IP printing solution, PrinterLogic SaaS should be top of your list. Why? Because your print management solution should create new possibilities—not lock you in or tie you down.

How to Avoid Server Sprawl in Corporate Printing

Server sprawl is the quiet scourge of enterprise IT environments. Like its name suggests, it’s what happens when organizations deploy more and more hardware/software infrastructure without also taking counter-steps to consolidate.

Because rolling out additional print servers is a quick fix to support new locations or growing print demand, server sprawl can disproportionately affect corporate printing. Many off-the-shelf print solutions also have heavy server-based requirements.

Server sprawl isn’t an intentional thing. No one says to themselves, “I’m going to pack my IT environment with wall-to-wall servers!” It usually just happens gradually through acquisitions or expansions. One server gets spun up for this particular purpose, another one gets added for that particular solution.

That ‘mission creep’ is exactly what happened to Schnader, a prestigious full-service law firm with offices on both coasts of the United States.

And while that infrastructure might help distribute the load, it can be an absolute nightmare to administer. It also can be a huge drain on the budget. All that extra equipment and the extra time spent managing it equals wasted dollars.


At risk print environments

Two kinds of print environments are more prone to server sprawl than others.

One is VDI environments. Since VDI is a server-based architecture, there’s already a tendency to spin up servers to accommodate growing user pools. The problem here, as Schnader discovered in its Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenApp and XenDesktop) environment, is that these supplemental servers can make existing VDI printer and driver deployment challenges even worse.

The other common server-sprawl scenario is found in print environments that use distributed, or localized, print servers. This is a common printing infrastructure choice in corporate printing circles. But, similarly to the problems with VDIs, these create an inefficient, fragmented print environment that moves further and further away from the ideal of centralized print management.


Avoid server sprawl in your print environment

To avoid server sprawl in corporate printing, you have to eliminate print servers.

Easier said than done, right? I mean, if it were that simple, everyone would just adopt a consolidated print server model. Sure, you’d get something close to centralized print management. But you’re also introducing a major single point of failure—not to mention all the frustrations that come with increased WAN dependence.

What I’m talking about, though, isn’t exchanging one server-based model for another. I’m talking about eliminating print servers completely through a serverless, enterprise-class print solution like PrinterLogic. Just like Schnader did. Now they have the print management they always wanted without any of the cumbersome infrastructure. Read the case study here.

Eliminating print servers—and all their related cost and hassle—is how PrinterLogic stops server sprawl at its source.


PrinterLogic achieves far more with far less

Your first assumption might be that reducing print infrastructure would mean compromising on stability and features. But it’s actually the opposite. Serverless printing is how PrinterLogic achieves its unprecedented scalability, availability and flexibility over legacy print solutions.

By pairing centralized print management with a direct IP architecture, PrinterLogic brings benefits like these to your corporate printing:

  • Effortless print management: Monitor and control the entire print environment from a single pane of glass.
  • Location-based printing: Automatically deploy printers based on dynamic criteria like IP address.
  • Reduced print infrastructure: Advanced reporting offers printer consolidation guidance to boost the gains of print server elimination.
  • Enhanced VDI printing: Deploy native drivers to workstations, spool jobs directly on clients and much, much more.
  • Optimized WAN usage: Direct IP print jobs travel straight from the client to the printer on the local network.
  • Self-service printer installation: Empower end users with the ability to install printers themselves.

With PrinterLogic, it’s truly a case of less is more. Less infrastructure and headache. More functionality, ease of use and cost savings.

A Software Print Solution to Integrate iOS Devices into Existing Print Infrastructure

Most studies on enterprise technology trends have found that somewhere around 75% of companies deem mobile devices to be essential to their operations. Those same studies also point out that a similar percentage of companies struggles with BYOD adoption.

No wonder so many enterprise IT professionals have a love/hate relationship with mobile devices.

One of the most common roadblocks to BYOD policies has little to do with the devices themselves. It’s actually rooted in corporate printing. Companies naturally have a hard time getting their existing corporate infrastructure to support a random assortment of smartphones and tablets. They have an even harder time accommodating that mix of devices in their print-management software.

On top of that, several mobile printing solutions are OS- or printer-specific. They only work with certain types of mobile devices or certain types of printers. So they’re limited right out of the gate.

Understandably, all that headache and hassle over corporate printing leaves companies asking whether a wider BYOD policy is even worth it. Yet that doesn’t stop employees from repeatedly asking to use their preferred mobile devices.


Add mobile-friendly printing

PrinterLogic enables your company to incorporate mobile devices into the everyday printing process without any upheaval. There’s no need to abandon your current print infrastructure. There’s not even a need to go and buy new multifunction printers. And rather than adding print servers, you can eliminate them from your print environment instead.

How does that happen? Simple. PrinterLogic’s enterprise print-management solution is serverless, printer-agnostic and OS-agnostic. That means you can deploy it quickly and seamlessly in literally any corporate printing scenario. From there, you can extend mobile and BYOD printing capabilities to any client and any network printer.


Integrating iOS devices into corporate printing

Before we get any further, it’s important to make one thing clear: PrinterLogic’s mobile printing solution supports Android and iOS equally well. We don’t play favorites. But since iPhones and iPads are a popular BYOD option, we’re going to use them as our example here.

So let’s say you have an employee with an iPhone. For them to print to a nearby printer, all they have to do is tap the “Share” button and select a PrinterLogic printer. As long as they’re authorized, their mobile print job will then be relayed to their chosen printer just like a standard print job.

What’s notable about this is that there are no intermediary print servers to complicate things. And there’s no client-side software to install. That user’s iPad already has everything it needs to print via PrinterLogic. Furthermore, PrinterLogic’s print-management software allows admins to stay on top of devices and keep printer access locked down.


Next level mobile printing

That alone might be all that most companies would want. But PrinterLogic’s mobile printing solution lets you build on that with a secure print option.

The Print Release App from PrinterLogic lets end users securely release waiting print jobs right from their iOS or Android devices. If we look at that same iPhone-owning employee, in this scenario their print job(s) will be held at their workstation after initiating. The employee can then launch the Print Release App right on their smartphone, view their print jobs, and release one—or all—of them to a specific printer.

Once again, this brings a sought-after, user-friendly feature to corporate printing with minimal IT effort. There’s no software solution to provision. It even leverages the devices that are already in users’ hands. That saves costs and time while enhancing productivity.


Customers love PrinterLogic

All of that sounds amazing in theory. But what about in the real world?

Hunton & Williams, LLP is a renowned international law firm. Their highly mobile userbase wanted to print from BYOD iPhones and iPads, but investing in AirPrint and messing with Bonjour protocols just wasn’t an attractive option to the IT staff.

The firm migrated to PrinterLogic to solve its broader corporate printing issues and found our print-management solution to be an equally outstanding mobile printing solution. By eliminating print servers and introducing native printing from iOS devices, PrinterLogic brought newfound visibility, flexibility, ease of management and cost savings to the firm’s print environment. Check out that case study here, then be sure to schedule a free PrinterLogic demo for yourself.

The Challenges of Printing in the Healthcare Industry and How to Improve the Process

As recent world events have shown us, the healthcare industry is unlike any other. Medical and administrative staff work under intense conditions that can change in a split second. They have to be flexible and adapt quickly, because their primary goal—patient care—is more than just a service. Lives hang in the balance.

For healthcare employees, technology can be their greatest ally. On occasion, it can also be a frustrating obstacle. Like when a nurse urgently needs a patient’s chart, but print jobs keep vanishing from their EMR application. Or when an essential secure printing workflow is confusing and unreliable.


There’s a solution for EMR printing

Many companies in this field have turned to PrinterLogic for help improving their existing healthcare printing solutions and streamlining their printing process. Here are just a few:

Based on our case studies with those healthcare organizations, we’ve identified the most common printing issues that they faced. Read on to see what they are. And to discover how PrinterLogic provided them with a superior print-management solution that empowers their employees and IT staff.


Healthcare printing challenges

Healthcare organizations have a tendency to run into the same kinds of issues. Here, we’ll give you a rundown of what they are (and how to solve for them).

  1. Distributed print environments. These can be tough to manage. Plenty of healthcare organizations have multiple sites: hospitals, clinics, specialist care centers, admin offices and so on. On top of managing a printer fleet that’s spread out across these locations, the IT department has to grapple with staff mobility. Print access is always in flux. So the challenge is more than managing printers. It’s managing users’ ability to print to them as well. 
  2. Limited visibility into the print environment. To be truly efficient, IT has to have a solid fix on everything from the printer fleet to individual print jobs. But poor print-management software can cloud the window into the print environment. Conventional healthcare printing solutions don’t have the monitoring, auditing and reporting capabilities necessary to increase transparency without investing a ton of effort. 
  3. Adding new printers is tedious. In a distributed print environment with limited visibility, simply adding a new printer can be time-consuming. Print servers don’t help matters. Users have to know how to map a new printer, or they have to call the helpdesk and file a support ticket. EMR applications and virtual solutions can add even more layers of complexity to routine print management.  
  4. Compatibility issues with EMR/EHR. Software solutions like Cerner, Epic and MEDITECH are absolutely vital when dealing with confidential patient documents. Yet they also add one more variable to the print environment that can conflict with day-to-day printing processes as well as secure printing workflows. Some even require print servers, which only creates more print infrastructure to operate. 


PrinterLogic solves healthcare printing issues

 The case studies linked above are proof of how pervasive these issues are across the healthcare industry. They also highlight why PrinterLogic is effective at solving all of them at once.

A further advantage of PrinterLogic is how easily it improves secure printing. Healthcare documents are subject to stringent HIPAA regulations. Organizations are compelled to adopt features like secure print release or pull printing as a result.

PrinterLogic enables those organizations to extend user-friendly secure release printing to any network printer. Plus its direct IP architecture keeps print jobs safely on the local network—even when using cloud-based PrinterLogic SaaS.

No matter how distributed, dynamic or diverse your print environment is, there’s nothing that PrinterLogic can’t handle. Through its centrally managed direct-IP printing, PrinterLogic stands out among healthcare printing solutions in the way that it brings simplicity, control and flexibility to even the most demanding environments.

What Is Hoteling and Why Does It Call for a Flexible Print Environment?

Around the world, we’re in a period of massive change. To say that the modern workforce is adapting is the understatement of the year. As employees slowly return into the office, there’s more interest in dynamic workplace models like hoteling. Those new models create new challenges for IT.

First, let’s answer an important question: What exactly is hoteling?


What is hoteling?

Hoteling is a form of desk sharing. It’s based on the idea of how hotels assign rooms to their guests. In a hoteling workspace, employees don’t have a permanent desk. Instead they reserve desks in advance based on the days they plan to be in the office.

A variant of hoteling is the “hot desk.” That’s more like a first-come-first-served model.

Understandably, the shared office desk approach is already popular with companies that have highly mobile workforces. Today, however, more and more employees are working from home part-time. Therefore, traditional organizations are eyeing the benefits of hoteling workspaces too.


What does hoteling mean for IT?

Like anything that involves roaming users, hoteling can present challenges for IT. One tricky area is printing. If you have mobile workers, getting printers to those users can be like trying to deliver a package to a moving target.

In other words, it can be hit or miss. And when you miss, that’s when the support tickets flood in.

Some IT departments try to solve things with the “throw everything at the wall” approach. That involves giving users access to every possible printer they might come across.

Unfortunately, that can backfire. For starters, it can present users with too much choice. It’s easy for them to select the wrong device and send their print job to a distant printer. Furthermore, it can lead to driver problems if there are different printer models.

But careful control of printer deployments rarely works either. What happens when a mobile worker suddenly moves to a shared office desk on a different floor? Or in a brand-new location? They probably won’t be able to access the local printer. Cue the angry call to the helpdesk.

One thing is for sure, though. Print servers simply don’t make the cut. They’re legacy technology designed for static workplace models. And with so many users moving around, GPOs and scripts are clumsy, inefficient tools.

At the same time, a legacy direct IP printing model doesn’t make sense for hoteling. Every single printer change requires time-consuming, manual intervention. That leads to a never-ending management workload.


Mobile printing is ideal for hoteling

Clearly, old school printing methods make it hard to support your mobile workers. But that doesn’t mean hoteling is out of reach. Or that you’re doomed to spend the next decade drowning in support tickets.

PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure makes it easy to handle all the moving targets in a hoteling environment. Its centrally managed direct IP printing platform is unique, secure and flexible. As a result, it avoids the pitfalls of both print servers and legacy direct IP.

Here are some of the ways PrinterLogic and its mobile printing solution support today’s changing workplace:

  • Native iOS and Android printing. End users can print right from their popular smartphones and tablets.
  • Location-based deployments. Automatically get printers to users based on IP address or advanced AD/IdP criteria. No scripts or GPOs needed.
  • Self-service portal. No printer? No problem. Users can install nearby printers by just clicking on a floor plan map.
  • The power of the cloud. Using the PrinterLogic SaaS admin console, IT can manage printers and users from anywhere. And with almost instant effect. 
  • Effortless migration. Moving to PrinterLogic’s next-gen platform is quick and seamless. An automated migration tool imports existing printer objects, queues and settings.

PrinterLogic takes the pain out of supporting or shifting to a hoteling or hot desk model. As your users return to the office, you can be sure they’re getting the printers they need based on their current location and workspace. That will make life way easier on roaming users as well as IT.

How to drastically reduce printer-related service desk calls

You can probably imagine how eliminating print servers also helps to end single points of failure.

This means increased printer availability and more printer uptime at your organization. A welcome bonus? Fewer calls to the service desk.

That said, most printer-related service requests aren’t complaints about a single unavailable printer. They actually have to do with employees not being able to install the printers in the first place. Traditional print management solutions certainly don’t make this easy. Even tech-savvy computer users regularly run into trouble with printer installation. In remote situations, the problem is even worse.

Empower your end users

PrinterLogic’s Self-Installation Portal addresses this longstanding flaw of enterprise printing. It empowers your end users and simplifies the installation process for employees. And that’s true no matter how many sites or employees your organization has. As a matter of fact, this is where the simplicity and scalability of PrinterLogic truly shine.

As an admin, you can easily deploy printers to Active Directory users. Our print management solution lets you also deploy to computers, groups, containers, organizational units, or even entire ranges of IP addresses. From there, you can:

  • Provide a single consistent printer installation portal across your entire enterprise
  • Upload floor plan maps to enable self-service printer installation for remote employees

Suddenly, no more manual installs. The Self-Installation Portal empowers users to browse available printers, select the closest one, and then install that printer with a single click. It’s an intuitive, uniform, and secure experience no matter where they happen to be. Enterprise printing suddenly becomes about as complex as visiting a website. With that kind of ease, it’s no wonder why PrinterLogic’s enterprise customers revealed that 77% of them saw at least a 30% reduction in service desk calls.

More impressive still is that 62% of those customers saw a reduction in service desk calls by more than 50%. Even better: 41% saw a reduction of greater than 70%, while 15% saw a reduction of more than 90%.

Imagine that—a 90% reduction in service desk calls! Just think of the time and cost savings you’d achieve with even as little as a 10% or 20% reduction.

TechValidate Survey: Increased Efficiency Because of PrinterLogic

Here are a few of our case studies of customers who have seen major reductions in printer-related service desk calls: