How to Achieve the Printing Efficiency You Need with Rule-Based Automation

Output Management Rules & Routing

Your electronic medical record system, enterprise resource planning, and other large-scale applications your organization relies on form critical parts of business processes. It’s crucial the output from those systems ends up in the right place, in the correct format, and on time.

With Vasion’s introduction of Output Management comes higher reliability, speed of delivery, and unification of management for both office and back-end application print management when printing from these systems, but still leaves the opportunity to further increase the efficiency, accuracy, and reliability of print and workflow tasks. 

 

Our customers stress that better efficiency is necessary for their output processes.

One of the concerns commonly brought up by customers I’ve spoken to has been ensuring uptime for critical printing with their printers themselves. If the printer designated for shipping labels or customer invoices breaks, it can put a serious dent in productivity while it’s down, and it’s not always easy to redirect traffic to a new printer within a customer’s application, resulting in unacceptable downtime.

Additionally, these environments often bring processes requiring manual intervention. A healthcare organization we worked with hoped to reduce costs by printing the majority of their documents in black and white, with only after-visit summaries printed in color to maintain a positive patient experience. Now, a manual touchpoint is introduced into the printing process, and it’s up to the individual clinician to remember to select the correct setting for just that type of job every time. 

 

These, and many other examples, drove Rules & Routing, a rule-based automation feature, as part of our Output Management Bundle. 

I challenge you to look deeper into your printing processes–you’ll notice those manual touchpoints often arise in your print environment, like manually converting documents to print-ready PDFs, paper notes taped to the printer reminding employees to print only in black and white, and attaching digital files to emails after scanning. These can all be automated as rules that trigger specific actions based on a set of behaviors. 


The three main components of Rules & Routing: 

  • Triggers are used to watch for specific events that should prompt the Rules & Routing service to decide which course of action to take.
  • Conditions provide the qualifying attributes that decide whether or not an action should be performed.
  • Actions are the actual behavior applied when conditions are met. 

These automated rules reduce or even eliminate any manual intervention, alter print data, increase document security, ensure proper delivery of documents, and more. In addition, document delivery goes beyond printers, including delivery direct to storage folders or through email, eliminating the manual touchpoint for your coworkers. 

 

Let’s look back at the example above from our customer needing to ensure continuous uptime for their printing processes. 

To solve this issue, I would create a rule that automatically reroutes my print data to a backup printer in the event we detect print failures on the primary printer to avoid long periods of downtime by following these steps:

  1. Create a rule with the trigger “Print Job Failed”
  2. Choose a condition selecting the primary printer(s) you are watching for failures
  3. And the “Redirect print job” action, where you’d select the backup printer
  4. Optionally, you could also add an additional action to email the originating user to alert them their job is located on a new printer

The Challenges of Enterprise Secure Printing

Many moving parts define secure printing. But the key component of secure printing requires end users to take an extra step or two before they print, making it an ongoing challenge to implement.

This brings up two questions: 

What challenges do IT teams face when implementing secure printing?

and

Does secure printing inconvenience end users?

Let’s answer both.

The biggest challenges of enterprise secure printing

The purpose of secure printing is to keep all printed documents out of the print tray and prevent information theft. It’s a priority for many data-sensitive sectors, however, new workforce trends and legacy devices pose challenges that make it hard to implement.

Challenge #1: End users have to memorize yet another password. 

By now, most users know that complex alphanumeric passwords prevent unauthorized access to their devices. Yet many of them choose obvious words or phrases for their password (like “password!”) because they’re easy to remember and enter—making them almost as vulnerable as having no password at all. 

It’s difficult asking users not only to remember an extra password but to log into their computer and authenticate via your company identity provider. 

Asking them to memorize another password to release a print job—is borderline torture.

Challenge #2: Simplifying secure printing for your mobile users 

It wouldn’t be farfetched to assume that most of your users are probably roaming somewhere in your organization. They need to be able to print on the move. 

In many cases, they have to call the helpdesk to get a printer installed. This turns secure printing into a four-step process when it should only take two. Here’s what secure printing looks like from the viewpoint of a user:

Call the helpdesk→Wait for the printer to be installed→Send print job to printer→Release print job

Although this does enable them to print securely, it doesn’t streamline the printing process. Secure printing for mobile users should be as easy as “Click print and release.”

Challenge #3: Extending secure printing to off-network users 

Unsecured home office printers are considered printing enemy number one for most admins. 

Why?

Users can print sensitive documents to a printer on an unsecured network. That data sits on the printer, waiting for hackers to steal it. Plus, print jobs go untracked, leaving admins in the dark about who, when, and where of documents. Organizations usually counter home office printing with expensive VPNs or urge users to connect the printer to the workstation via a USB—both of which require hours of babysitting by admins.

Remote employees and contingent workers who operate off-network need a way to print securely to networked printers in your organization from their home office or other off-site locations. This eliminates risky home office printing and allows users to pick up their jobs when they visit the office. 

Challenge #4: Finding 100% printer-compatible solutions

If you have a homogenous printer fleet, good on you. 

But this isn’t the case for most organizations that employ a mix of MFDs and legacy printers from different manufacturers. 

It’s difficult to find a solution that allows you to utilize any of your printers for secure release and saves you the time and money of buying a whole new fleet. Another worry is deciding which authentication method fits your environment and end users. You may discover that users prefer using badge release to authenticate instead of entering a PIN on the control panel or enjoy scanning a QR code to release their print jobs. 

Either way, these are decisions you and your organization have to make. The ideal solution would be a printer-agnostic platform that allows for all authentication methods, but those are few and far between. 

Does secure printing cause problems for end users?

No. At least, it shouldn’t. 

We discussed a few pain points for secure printing like memorizing more passwords and calling the helpdesk to install printers. However, these can easily be averted by choosing a solution with the right tools. 

Even if end users do feel inconvenienced by a small change, the returns are rewarding and worth conveying:

  • Users’ environmental impact will decrease with more intentional printing.
  • Users can cancel print jobs before they are printed at any time. 
  • Employee and customer data are protected with every print job.
  • Users can release print jobs in bulk instead of making multiple trips to the printer.

You’d be surprised. Users may be happy to learn that their newly developed printing habits are making a difference at the workplace—and not at the cost of productivity.

Make enterprise secure printing an easy addition.

PrinterLogic’s serverless print management solution allows you to centrally manage your print environment from a single user interface. 

Our version of secure printing, Secure Release Printing, requires users to authenticate via one of these convenient methods:

Mobile QR Code: Users can scan a QR code on the printer with their mobile device to release held print jobs.

Web browser: Users can utilize any device capable of running a browser—PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, and even mobile devices—to access PrinterLogic’s web-based app and release their print jobs.

A badge/card reader: If your workplace uses a badge system, you can situate a badge reader next to the printer or use your printer’s preinstalled readers. Employees can then release their print jobs on any printer associated with their badge.

Control Panel: Provided the printer is compatible, the dedicated PrinterLogic app can be installed directly on the printer itself. Users can then log in using the printer’s LCD screen and release their print jobs. No additional hardware is required.

For mobile employees traveling between offices, our Self-Service Installation Portal empowers users to install their printers without calling the helpdesk, giving them instant access to printers and increasing productivity.

Secure Release Printing also extends to your remote users, allowing them to print off-network to any networked printer and release them when they get to the office.

All-in-all, PrinterLogic makes enterprise secure printing so easy that end users will have no reservations about using it. 

Try secure printing free for 30 days

Or check out our Secure Release Printing white paper to learn more.

Generate ROI by Eliminating Print Servers Within Your Company

Many organizations still view print servers as the unavoidable cost of corporate printing. According to Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services Study, the cost of acquiring and provisioning a print server hovers around $2300. They also require ongoing running costs of close to $1700 per year—not exactly chump change. 

And the cost of replacing them? 

That’s a road nobody wants to go down. 

Now that print servers are about as obsolete as dial-up internet, it might be time to start re-evaluating your print infrastructure to streamline processes and save money. 

We landed a rover on Mars. 

We’re currently training AI to do tasks for us. 

Why can’t humankind make printing cost-efficient and consistent?

There are proven ways to start saving money in your print environment. But first, let’s talk about why print servers are so costly. 

 

Why do print servers cost so much money?

The up-front costs of print servers aren’t a secret. But hidden costs in the form of time and resources spent resolving issues caused by print servers are hard to identify. More often than not, print server issues result in a trickle-down effect that usually ends in a call to the helpdesk when users have finally had enough. 

Take printer deployments, for example. IT may struggle to find the correct drivers, deliver the wrong printer to a user, or even make a script typo—and we all know how complicated scripts can get. All these scenarios waste a lot of time and force organizations to spend money in an area they shouldn’t have to. 

And then there’s security. 

Spooler vulnerabilities have only exacerbated printing issues that used to be routine fixes. Deployments are tricker and take longer to troubleshoot because admins don’t want to open up their organization to security risks. With a global average of $4.3 million per data breach, it’s definitely not a risk worth taking. 

 

The Advantages of Going Serverless

When you eliminate your print servers, you’re not just taking non-essential hardware and software out of circulation. You’re also removing three major sources of IT burden:

Hardware updates and migration: New OS releases and mergers/acquisitions are two events that trigger a print server upgrade. Moving to new print servers is labor-intensive and diverts IT resources from other essential tasks.

Helpdesk calls: When users can’t print because of print server problems or downtime, they flood the helpdesk with calls. While those users wait, IT has to waste time troubleshooting and tracking down the cause of basic printing errors.

Maintenance and management: Print servers are rarely “set it and forget it” hardware. They need regular supervision and intervention. Even something as simple as updating or rolling back print drivers can be time-consuming. And don’t forget those frequent patch installations. 

It’s one thing to kick print servers to the curb and remove that constant source of headaches. But being able to replace your legacy infrastructure with a cloud-native, scalable solution sets you up for current and future success as your company expands. 

That’s what makes PrinterLogic’s print management solution different. 

Through its centrally managed, direct IP printing model, PrinterLogic allows for efficient management of the entire print environment—all from a single pane of glass.

You can only imagine how this translates to optimized print management for distributed organizations like retail, healthcare, and banking. No print servers mean fewer visits to off-site locations. The single UI enables admins to address issues with just a few clicks. And adding and subtracting printers becomes a cakewalk. 

Serverless printing solutions like PrinterLogic have enabled enterprises and managed print service providers to completely eliminate print servers from even the most complex print environments. Distributed retail organization? Cerner/VMware VDI environment? Highly secure government entity? There’s no enterprise printing scenario that PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure can’t handle, improve, or protect.

 

Choose a Print Management Solution That Pays for Itself

Reducing print infrastructure, streamlining print management, and minimizing printer downtime all contribute to PrinterLogic’s ROI out of the gate.

Children’s Bureau, Inc., a nonprofit social-service agency, saw all those results after going serverless. Even without running dedicated ROI calculations, they identified cost savings through the dramatic reduction in support tickets and smoother print management. 

One independent survey found that 87% of PrinterLogic customers had seen at least a 100% ROI. Almost half reported an ROI of more than 200%.

And what’s more, those results were quick. Seventy-five percent of PrinterLogic customers said they broke even and recouped their investment within one year. More than 90% reported that it was in 18 months or less. 

Some organizations take their savings further by leveraging PrinterLogic’s print auditing and advanced reporting capabilities. Print auditing and advanced reporting features reveal information like:

  • Which departments print the most
  • Money spent on print consumables like toner and paper
  • Detailed print activity down to the printer or user level

That info creates an opportunity for enterprises and managed print service providers to start capitalizing on other areas—yielding them a bigger ROI.

 

Try Our Print Savings Calculator

Interested in learning how much you could save by going serverless? We’ve come up with the perfect formula so you don’t have to crunch the numbers by yourself.

Try our print savings calculator now.