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Modern businesses rely on printers but may not clearly understand their print infrastructure. An unmanaged printing environment can be inefficient, increase costs and slow down workflows. Poorly secured printers may also open your company up to possible data breaches.

Managed Print Services can help you here. These third-party services can perform a multi-pronged assessment of your office’s printing environment. This starts with getting a clear idea of what you have and then transitions into an evaluation of what you can do to optimize your print systems.

Managed Print Services Assessments Explained

Assessments are one of the most important solutions offered by Managed Print Services companies. Whether you’re looking to improve your existing print environment or offload some printing needs onto a third-party firm, it all starts with an assessment. This multi-step process will closely examine how your existing print structure is serving you. It will also detail what can be done to improve your print environment.

Most assessments begin with a consultation. You’ll chat with the Managed Print Services provider so they can build an action plan that will hit the points you’re most interested in. The company may ask what your office is looking for, what printing challenges have cropped up lately, your budget, etc.

Next, the provider will identify your company’s print infrastructure. This may cover:

  • Where are the imaging devices in your building?
  • What are their makes and models?
  • How often are they maintained?
  • How often do they jam or break down?
  • Are they networked or local printers?

Once the service provider has mapped out the infrastructure, they’ll look at how that print system serves your business. Monitoring software can give them vital information on who is printing what, which printers are underused versus those in constant use, and more. This part of the assessment can also identify users who may be abusing imaging equipment or those who need a refresher on data security best practices.

Another set of important data points is a cost breakdown. Your printing environment involves various costs, but many of these can be reduced. The Managed Print Services company will look at:

  • How much time employees waste waiting for a copier to be free for use
  • How much paper, ink, or toner you use
  • How much of that is waste
  • How much you´re spending on electricity to keep all these machines on
  • How much each machine costs in yearly maintenance and repairs

The company will review the gathered data and turn it into a clear, easily readable assessment. You’ll be able to tell at a glance what your expenses are and what your print setup is or isn’t accomplishing for your company. However, data gathering is only the first part of most assessments. Many Managed Print Services assessments include an analysis and recommendations for your next steps (see below).

The Benefits of A Managed Print Services Assessment

There are four core benefits to getting these assessments done.

  • Assess inventory of your printing infrastructure.

How many printing devices do you have in your company? How much use does each device get? What are the leasing or maintenance costs?

In a small office, you may know the answers to these questions. However, large and busy companies, or those with multiple buildings and branches, can have a very complex infrastructure. The CEOs of these businesses may be making budget decisions based on a very fuzzy picture.

  • Assessments break down current printing costs.

Printing is often a high waste area of the business. An assessment will give you a clearer idea of your costs per page, how much waste you’re accumulating, hardware and maintenance fees, and more. If you have a number in mind for what you want your print budget to be, this part of the assessment will tell you how far you are from the target.

  • Assessments look at user activity and print usage.

Are these devices being used efficiently? Can your employees access their functions as needed, or are there logjams in the workflow? This data can guide your business in restructuring your printer setup and device use.

  • Assessments consider print security.

Unsecured devices like printers are a popular target for cybercriminals. They can also open your company up to the possibility of industrial espionage or other data breaches. A Managed Print Services assessment will touch on what you can do to lock down your data at this point of vulnerability.

Next Steps Post-Assessment

You got the assessment. What now? The Managed Print Services provider you’re working with will analyze the data with an eye toward your business’s challenges and goals. They’ll map your current print environment, factoring in your devices, print speed, accessibility, environmental impact, and more. You may be asked to weigh in on any unclear areas.

This analysis gives the provider the information it needs to write its recommendations. They’ll propose a future state, comparing it to your current print operation and expenses. You may get recommendations like:

  • Consolidating older devices into one multifunction printer
  • Adding or removing certain pieces of equipment
  • Moving a printer to a higher traffic area
  • Upgrading your software to more secure versions
  • Restricting printer use for specific employees
  • Powering down devices at night

You can use as little or as much of this proposal as you like. Some companies take a few guidelines from the document. Others use it as a blueprint for reforming their entire print infrastructure.

Many offices rely on unnamed extra employees: their hardworking printers. However, older devices and inefficient layouts can slow down vital workplace processes. A Managed Print Services assessment will analyze how your printer infrastructure is functioning. It also suggests ways to streamline, cut costs, and boost productivity.

Are you considering Managed Print Services for your Houston business? Contact On Demand today to discuss getting an assessment from one of our experts.