Do you find that poor printing infrastructure creates daily challenges for your business including substantial costs, lack of document security, potential GDPR risks and an unnecessary burden on your IT department? For one of the UK’s leading independent architectural companies the issue was no different.
Boasting a £35million turnover, over 200 employees and 10 offices across the UK, this company demanded a robust, structured system to ensure that all document management is as streamlined and efficient as possible.
Our client was looking for help to alleviate many of the difficulties it faced with its current supplier. Fundamental issues included:
The problem boiled down quite simply into the fact that our client was paying a lot of money for a very basic, inadequate service. Do any of the above sound familiar?
We began by auditing the company’s head office. The key priorities of the solution design were to:
MPP manage all our client’s printer requirements, including trouble shooting and monitoring and automatic replenishment of consumables.
We have reduced our client’s costs by 40%.
The next phase of our project is in the introduction of a rules based secure print solution to improve security and provide further efficiencies.
With the introduction of the above rules-based software, we know from experience that this will ensure ongoing reductions in our client’s print volumes.
With the above priorities in mind we created a structured, tailored solution that worked across multiple offices, and comprising of just one manufacturer.
“Having been highly recommended to us by a third party, we chose Managed Print Partners because they were independent consultants who took into account every part of our business – and didn’t just try and sell us one brand of hardware. MPP produced a cohesive, balanced deployment plan that suited our new working environment and even incorporated our tracking and billing software.
“The biggest impact the new systems have had on our business is the incredible cost reduction. Our costs have reduced by £100,000 p/a – we are now paying 40% less for 42 devices, including consumables, compared to the amount we were paying our last supplier for just 11.
What’s more, the printer-related calls to our help desk are now almost non-existent, which makes the whole system much more efficient. Managed Print Partners also provides invaluable ongoing support and advice. Knowing we can just pick up the phone and get a response straight away means we can focus on other areas of the business.”
As we visit prospective education sector clients, we regularly come across various iterations of ‘old school’ print contracts. The reference to old school is a pun; what we refer to are the old fashioned, expensive, punitive print contracts that were common place in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
If there is one sector that ‘got hit’ hardest by these sales techniques it is the education sector. It is not unusual to find schools saddled with ongoing finance on devices, alongside stinging (minimum volume) pence-per-page consumable and service contracts. To put this into perspective, these contracts could be based on estimates of 50,000+ prints per quarter, a figure you have to pay whether you hit that volume or not and can include the capital cost of the equipment, if not then there is usually a separate rental contract running alongside.
The reason that schools are paying such high charges is because they may have been mis-sold into the centralised Managed Print Service (MPS) proposition for supposed cost reduction purposes. The concept of centralised print, at that point in time, was not necessarily incorrect – as smaller desktop devices were expensive to run - however this is definitely not the case today. The issue is that many of these contracts, whilst designed to save the client money, actually only helped suppliers hide copious amounts of margin in the hardware and print charges. Furthermore, no one seems to have gone back to the schools and told them that things have changed and that the only people benefiting from the old approach were the device providers and support companies.
Not only has technology changed, but the demands in school have also changed significantly since then. Most schools now use smart boards, computers and iPads in classes which reduces the amount of paper required for lesson planning and delivery alone. Newsletters and parental communications also rely more on email than paper resulting in a further reduction in demand.
Technology costs now mean that it is much more time and cost efficient to have a device per classroom, even more so than centralisation ever offered. Recent examples that we have delivered for our clients provide an all-inclusive price (hardware, consumables and support) for significantly less than their current service and consumable spend – and with no hidden extras! On top of the cost benefits of ‘in class’ printing, the idea of decentralising also has many practical benefits. Nurseries and Key Stage 1 classes tend to use photos and pictures to show child development and so access to immediate printing allows teachers to keep records up to date.
The explosion in wireless and mobile devices also means pupils and teachers alike need ready access to printers as more and more content is produced not in books, but on tablets, phones and laptops – in short the idea of leaving the classroom and walking to a centralised print area like the staff room or office is no longer a practical expectation.
With mounting pressure on schools to balance the books whilst achieving outstanding outcomes, the cost of print is once again becoming a major issue. And it’s time that things changed to ensure that schools can use their squeezed budgets to be cost effective, efficient and modern when it comes to print.
GDPR Systems are only 20% of the issue.....
Regular visitors to our site and readers of our blog will know just how important print, print security and document management are in ensuring best practice and GDPR compliance. Yes, we have a vested interest in banging this drum and yes, we are working with clients to implement new systems, software, devices and processes to ensure they are compliant in plenty of time, but even we know that systems are only 20% of the issue.
The biggest part of GDPR compliance, the other 80% in fact is people – your people. Sadly, they pose the biggest risk in terms of data breaches or lax security. The good news is that if configured correctly, the 20% can control up to 80% of the 80% and provide fail safe measures to avoid issues.
Where, even the best thought out, GDPR processes will fall down is in human oversight. So, you have a policy and a process to manage the review of licences and expiry dates for data held on your systems. That job falls to a person, your data controller or maybe even someone without a specific documented remit in data protection. That person gets busy, that person gets ill or that person leaves – who picks up this activity and have they got the appropriate admin rights or skills to make the right decisions? The policy rapidly falls apart.
As previously documented here, the side of the business that we can help with – document management software, follow me print, secured network print devices etc. – can play a huge part in managing GDPR compliance. Workflow, user permissions and automated checks of document/data lifecycles can remove the manual intervention allowing users to go about their roles in the safest and most secure means possible. As well as providing compliance, correctly set up systems can also introduce valuable cost and time efficiencies.
You cannot remove people entirely from the system as the authors or users of the documents and data in question, and so there will always be an element of the process which relies on the human brain and/or common sense. But you can help them and support them by ensuring the 20% of your business that can be automated is set up in a manner which underpins and manages the other 80% to at least mitigate risk and provide a degree of fail-safe in the system.
Our recent blogs have focussed on the impact of GDPR around print devices and physical copies of documents, but in many respects that all relies on a degree of user management and human intervention – therefore common sense. There is another aspect of data management that needs consideration when taking GDPR regulations into consideration and that is the actual storage of soft copy documents, in safe and secure environments with appropriate management processes and controls around them.
Unless you are already using a dedicated document management system, it may be that certain files you hold or the way you store them leaves you vulnerable to breaches of GDPR regulations. To clarify this, when we speak about document management systems we mean software packages and systems that are designed specifically to store, index, monitor and manage electronic files – spreadsheets, PDF’s, office files etc.
For those using File Explorer or similar native built in/free to use filing cabinet systems, these do not, in our book, qualify as true document management solutions.
Probably the most obvious example is your data protection policy and any supporting documents that are created to govern your compliance with GDPR regulations. Documents that have a lifetime. These are not one-off documents that, once created, disappear into the abys. They should be agile refence manuals for day to day activity. In this respect they need regular review to ensure that working practices or the regulations themselves have not changed, exposing vulnerabilities. So a true document management system can use workflow to monitor the age of documents and prompt controllers to review them when required or if necessary, delete out of date documents which pose a risk to data protection.
For those purchasing or using data, which always carries a timed licence, for marketing purposes date sensitive management is incredibly important. How many companies reading this know they have a licence but cannot be sure when it expires and whether the data they use for marketing purposes is still valid? Document management systems can manage this for you.
Utilising workflow, user permissions and document control indexes true document management systems/software can be a vital tool in helping you achieve GDPR compliance, removing the reliance on significant manual intervention.
As we work with more and more companies to develop their GDPR policies and practices, it is clear just how deep the regulations go. So introduction of systems and processes that are fully integrated to your other software applications and hardware/devices will help minimise risk and ensure compliance.
Are you paying too much for print?
The title for this should probably read ‘You ARE paying too much for print’ as it is increasingly rare that we come across a company that cannot make savings across their print estate. This is not for the want of trying as most companies understand that the provision and maintenance of devices and consumables is normally a big chunk of their IT spend.
So, in this blog we wanted to share the benefit of our experience in this sector to try and help more of you drive down costs. Some of the ideas below may seem obvious but the small costs soon add up and if you haven’t reviewed your print estate recently, then maybe these five top tips will help guide you:
There are plenty of unique criteria that may only apply to you and so if you need some more bespoke advice and support around efficiencies and cost reductions please let us know.