Output Management and Print Management: What’s the Difference?

If you’re a bit confused about the difference between print management and output management, it’s ok. There’s some overlap in what they do. They even have some of the same benefits. 

However, output management has a broader scope than print management. It encompasses everything print management does, plus much more—making it an ideal choice for companies that are serious about digital transformation, cutting costs, and automating processes for better efficiency. Here’s how the two solutions compare and what you need to know about each. 


What Is Print Management?

As its name implies, print management software manages printed pages. With print management software, you can print from phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and other devices across multiple operating systems. 

Managing printed documents starts with security. Print management software often has authentication features to make sure only authorized users submit print jobs. The software keeps print jobs confidential, manages passwords, keeps track of authorization controls, and ensures only the person who submitted the print job can print and retrieve their print job. 

In addition to supporting security, print management increases efficiency. Its ability to track print jobs helps ensure document accountability and enforces better printing behavior. Better printing behavior means a reduction in waste, costs, and wear and tear on printing machinery. 

Lastly, print management software helps ensure compatibility among devices, offers bring-your-own-device printing, streamlines workflows, and tracks and gathers data on printing jobs. 


What Is Output Management? 

Output management is a way of creating, distributing, and managing documents. Output management encompasses print management’s print documents, but it includes digital documents and document management, too. Its capabilities expand beyond those of print management software to add formatting, processing, and handling of digital information, version control, and archiving documents. For companies in heavily regulated industries—especially healthcare, finance, and manufacturing—output management software’s security features also help ensure compliance with laws and industry specifications. 

Because output management software deals with print and digital documents, it works with a wider variety of formats than print management software. File types such as Word, Excel, PDF, .sav, .spv, XML, HTML, and raw text are all easy to work with in output management and securely stored in a single centralized database. 

A company can connect applications, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software, with output management software to export and print data and reports to any office printers. Output management also enables companies to connect processes from legacy applications to manage all aspects of document distribution, printing, and routing from a centralized platform.

The Benefits of  Output Management

Companies that implement output management solutions see benefits such as:

  • Increased automation and streamlined workflows for heightened productivity and efficiency
  • Faster and more accurate delivery of documents
  • More data, insights into printing behaviors, and tracking abilities across many channels and formats
  • Increased organization and retrievability of stored documents
  • Real-time notifications to speed up project completion and communication, breaking down function silos and bridging the gap between disparate systems
  • Reduced errors and security breaches
  • Compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, GMP, etc.
  • More flexibility, because, unlike print management solutions that require a standardized format, output management systems can handle more formats for faster, easier printing 

Because of its ability to handle multiple types of documents and automate a greater number of processes, output management will benefit your organization more overall when compared to a print management solution. Output management platforms incorporate more processes, assets, and devices, meaning you get better visibility and fewer interruptions as they’re all managed in the same place. Even more, your company will save money because many of your necessary processes are streamlined and automated. 


Drive Your Business Processes Forward with PrinterLogic Output Management

For companies investing in digital transformation or simply wanting to cut back on costs to invest in data security, PrinterLogic’s Output Management solution is exactly what you’re looking for. Our centralized, easy-to-use platform is here to unify your print and document management systems. You’ll benefit from our unique Admin Console that allows you to manage both front- and back-end printing from a single place, and your IT team will thank you for the decreased number of manual interventions needed.

To see how PrinterLogic’s Output Management solution can drive your business processes forward, book a free demo today.

Direct IP Printing vs. Print Servers: Pros and Cons of Each

All IT managers and system administrators who manage print environments must eventually choose between print servers and configuring direct IP printers on their endpoints. Either approach has trade-offs, and several factors come into play when deciding which method is best.

Company Size Matters

If your company only has a handful of employees, the differences between using a print server and managing printing via direct IP are not that obvious. However, as the organization grows, the pain points stemming from IT’s print management choices become evident. 


Why Use Print Servers?

A print server can alleviate growth-related pain points because admins get centralized management for drivers, profiles, and print job auditing. You can set printer permissions and use Group Policy to map printers to users or workstations. They integrate with backend applications like EMR, CRM, and ERP and provide one print environment for the entire company. They also haven’t changed in functionality for decades, so they are easy to maintain and manage with the proper experience.


Where Print Servers Miss The Mark

Despite the few positives of employing print servers, it’s hard to keep up with them in the modern-day workplace because they require more maintenance than ever before. Company data is at risk if you fail to stay up-to-date with print server patch installations. Print servers also thrive with homogeneous printer fleets, meaning a printer fleet of mixed manufacturers can cause serious issues. 

Additional negatives of print servers include:

Vulnerabilities: Print servers introduce many headaches and vulnerabilities. This means there is a single point of failure for everyone attached to that server. Organizations can expect performance and functionality issues when every printer driver lives, works, and spools on the same print device. 

Unreliable GPO Scripting: If there are multiple locations and only one print server, some of your print job traffic will traverse the WAN, often increasing the time it takes to print. On some WAN links, print job traffic can cause congestion and impact other communication across the link.

Price: You can install print servers at each location, but depending on how you deploy them, it can get expensive. Think of the hardware, licensing, and maintenance costs when using multiple print servers. 

Limited Support: Windows print servers are typically set up for Windows clients only. There are ways to support Mac clients, but they come with limitations.


Figure 1: The advantages and disadvantages of print servers

The Benefits of Direct IP Printing

With direct IP printing configurations, users are free to manage their printers and profile settings. You gain the advantage of local spooling and rendering print jobs which boosts security. And those jobs go directly from the workstation to the printer. 

Direct IP printing is the most efficient way of printing and reduces overall network traffic. A driver issue or a job stuck in the print queue will only affect one user instead of your entire organization. Direct IP is also cost-effective because there’s no additional print management hardware to buy or maintain.


Problems with Direct IP Printing

The decentralized nature of direct IP printing environments is often considered a pain point for IT teams. Admins can’t track costs or identify print job activity throughout the company without employing a third-party print management solution for assistance. Plus, direct print from IP isn’t ideal for hybrid or remote work environments that are constantly changing. 

Additional pain points of direct IP printer environments include:

Time-Consuming Configuration: IT teams have to add printer drivers and configure them by IP address on every workstation. Not to mention IT teams have to keep up with changes and driver updates. 

Difficult Printer Replacement: A simple task of changing out a printer could require IT staff to touch all affected workstations, which is time-consuming. In dynamic environments, these efforts will inevitably fall behind, hurting user productivity.

Less Oversight and Management: Employees set their own printing rules without centralized group policy management, making it hard to keep up with print environments. 

Not a Scalable Solution: When the number of printers in your fleet reaches the hundreds and thousands, the manual labor required becomes overbearing just to keep printing flowing. 


Figure 2: Direct IP printing benefits and disadvantages

PrinterLogic: The Best of Both Worlds

What if I told you there is a way to get the centralized management benefits of a print server while maintaining the stability and efficiency of direct IP printing? You know, have your cake and eat it too.

PrinterLogic eliminates the need for print servers while providing a way to manage and install direct IP printers centrally. With PrinterLogic, you can easily convert your existing Microsoft print server environment to our serverless direct IP printing solution. 

Have multiple print servers? We take care of that too. 

You can also manage all printers and drivers from a single web-based Admin Console. PrinterLogic gives you more visibility into printing activity with an Advanced Reporting feature, allowing for a detailed view of all print jobs by users, departments, printers, and more.

PrinterLogic offers an on-premise solution and PrinterLogic SaaS (our cloud printing platform), so you can choose which version works best for you without sacrificing features or functionality. We have plenty of technical documentation to help your set-up go smoothly, too.  

Figure 3: PrinterLogic offers centralized management plus the efficiencies of direct IP



Centralized Printing Management | The What, Why, and How of Centralized Printing

When you’re working toward streamlining your enterprise print environment, centralized printer management should be one of the highest priorities on your list. That’s because implementing centralized printer management addresses several key areas that are crucial to the process of simplifying and consolidating networked printers—and reducing IT burden. 

This is particularly true for retail, financial, healthcare, and government organizations with offices dispersed throughout regions or other countries. 


What is centralized print management?

Centralized printing management means instead of shifting between sites with different hardware and individuals with varied areas of oversight, you can administer all printing services from one terminal. That logistical integration alone makes your network printer management more efficient—saving time, money, and resources. It also eliminates the need for off-site visits just to address printer issues. 


Why choose a central print management solution?

Admins get “the four Cs” by moving to centralized print management:

Consolidation: Connect and manage all your users, devices, and locations from a simple interface—no matter where you are.

Convenience: Address printing issues immediately from a single pane of glass without having to make frequent off-site visits. 

Control: Easily set default printer preferences, add or delete printers in your printer fleet, and set up one-time or automatic deployments.

Cost-efficiency: Reduce operating and printing costs that impact your bottom line by gaining insight into print activity across your organization.

A solution like PrinterLogic offers these benefits and more. 


Centralized Print Management with PrinterLogic

PrinterLogic was developed around the concept of centralized printer management because it’s a sought-after feature in any scenario, regardless of whether you’ve got a highly distributed print infrastructure or just a single site. No matter where you or your IT staff are located, PrinterLogic’s intuitive web-based Admin Console allows you to monitor every networked printer in your organization—with or without domains or trusts—from a single pane of glass.

You can only imagine what this level of control offers you and your users’ printing needs.

Print-related requests can be taken care of instantaneously.

Printing disappears from your agenda during off-site visits. 

And user satisfaction increases since you can administer any network printer to them without a hitch. 

Using PrinterLogic’s Admin Console, you can easily create new printers and then deploy them to end users automatically without the hassle of having to use GPOs, scripts, or print servers. You can delete printers from workstations or entire departments, too, with just as much ease.

Plus, you can do everything in between regarding network printer management including maintenance activities like print queue management, print job troubleshooting and more–all from a central location. 

PrinterLogic lets you drill down to individual printers through hierarchies like country, building, department, and floor. Once you’ve selected a printer, you can modify individual settings such as the drivers, port, name, duplexing, color, paper type, and so on. Those changes are automatically pushed out to printers on the end user workstations. You can even set default printer preferences by simply checking a box.

Want to edit group properties quickly? Just use the find-and-replace function to adjust deployment assignments, print drivers, ports, comments, and other variables for hundreds or even thousands of printer objects at once.

This same approach to central printer management also applies to drivers. PrinterLogic also allows you to update drivers individually or en masse. And you can configure detailed parameters such as driver settings and profiles, giving you even more fine-grained control over printers throughout your entire organization. If you don’t want to deal with individual driver manufacturers, PrinterLogic empowers you to print to a universal driver for more flexibility. 


Start Managing Your Distributed Locations with Ease

Regardless of the size of your organization or the number of printers and locations you have, PrinterLogic simplifies how you manage print. We start with eliminating your print servers and moving you over to our cloud-native, direct IP printing platform. In return, you get increased productivity and a bird’s-eye view over “everything printing” in your organization.

So, if you’re considering a centralized print management solution as a means to cut printing costs and take back control of your distributed locations, what are you waiting for?

Here’s a free 30-day trial to get you started.