Unmanaged Print = Unmanaged Expense
The vast majority of companies today have no idea what they are spending on office printing. Office printing costs are the largest unmanaged expense in business today. Does it matter? According to industry experts (below), these costs are significant and growing. So, yes, printing is a significant expenditure and for most companies it's increasing. There are two reasons for this: First, the astronomical growth in information and easy access to this information via the internet is fueling printing. Second, users increasingly want their documents printed in color. While the cost to print in color is going down, it is still 5 - 10 times more expensive to print in color than in black and white. To complicate matters, overall printing costs are difficult to quantify, since the cost of supplies, equipment and support are often buried in different cost centers across the organization.
Runaway Printers and Pages
Most businesses don't know the number of printers they have or the number pages they're printing. Printers are easily bought and deployed, often without consideration to the capacity of the existing fleet. Typically, printers are rarely placed in an effort to balance print volumes with the printer's capacity. All of this leads to an ever increasing cost of printing.
Too Many Vendors, Makes and Models
It is quite common for printers to be purchased ad hoc by individual employees from different departments out of their own budgets. This results in an explosion of printers, many of which are locally connected and out of sight from management. This decentralized approach to purchasing printers results in multiple makes and models from multiple manufacturers. To further complicate matters, the printer manufacturers are constantly refreshing they're printer offerings, making it difficult for companies to standardize on a set of print devices over any extended period of time. The cost of managing a printer fleet grows as the number of vendors, makes, models and toner cartridges grow.
Printers vs. Copiers – Who Decides?
Historically, print and copier vendors work with different departments within a company. For example, the office manager may be responsible for the copiers, while the IT manager is responsible for the printers. As a result, purchases of printers, supplies and service requests are often uncoordinated and made without considering the company's overall needs.
The result of uncoordinated purchasing of print devices is duplication of technology within the printer fleet, and often more equipment than is required to support the user community. This can be seen in a business or department with a monochrome copier right next to a color printer. Driven by single function technology (printers only print and copiers only copy), these relationships are a hangover from a bygone era and fail to leverage the vast array of multifunction print devices currently available.
Print vs. Copy – What's going on?
In today's business environment, most businesses print more than they copy. This means the vast majority of print devices are printers as opposed to copiers, fax machines or scanners AND the majority of pages are printed, not copied. As evidence of this trend, HP notes that print volume surpassed copy volume in 1995 and is growing at 10-15% each year.
Why is Print Unmanaged?
Why are printers not managed? Typically, decisions pertaining to printers are made in "silos". Office services handles the copiers, procurement may be responsible for printing supplies, while IT buys the printers and is in charge of supporting the printer fleet. Different departments all have a say but there is no single department 100% responsible for the printer budget. Another reason is the sheer complexity of managing all the different printer devices and supply SKUs. It's a logistical nightmare.