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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Who Designs Your Print Policy: Copier or IT Folks?

I am a proponent of Print Policies:

“A Print Policy is the documented outline of procedures, illustrating the organization’s current output-related decision-making processes. This policy is endorsed at the highest level of executive management, contains milestones, and supports the organization’s business goals.”

I've seen implementations streamline work processes, enforce SLA's and reduce costs by millions.

I'm a believer.

It's obvious the best Print Policies are created when working with outside experts.

But who?

On one side stands the copier/printer specialists, mavens of the printed document, leasing, and deal crafting.

Residing across the hall, masters of storage, operating systems, PC's, mobile devices, and even printers, hang their shingle.

That leaves you,  the "IT Guy" responsible for endpoints, Windows upgrades, and those pesky copiers and printers, stuck in the middle - again.

Should you place a call to your IT VAR or copier dealer? Yes.
"The fewer prints you generate,  the less they get paid - simple math."
Long ago, I felt the most qualified managers of output devices came from the office printing/copier side.  In some cases, this is still true.

Here's the rub: a copier dealer, indeed, any business surviving or thriving on the number of prints you generate, cannot in good conscience, help you manage away the mystery and reduce output.

Why would a copier/printer company train salespeople to reduce revenue?  It's an obvious question. One you should ask those "MpS" providers still promising "30% savings".

My recommendation is to work with the group that doesn't survive on your print volume.

No matter who you choose, your partner in Print Policy development should:

Be neutral about printers
The first qualification is to regard each printer as an end-point inside life cycle services. Sure, printers can be dirty and require physical intervention.  Yes, they jam and run out of toner right before a big print project. And yes, as much as 60% of help desk calls are print related.  Yet successful management of assets originates from a position of neutrality.

Neutrality - your output devices represent zero revenue and hold no negative emotional attachment to either contributing party.

Have a holistic view
Your provider must consider the entire output and input fleet, including copiers, printers, print servers, print queues, label printers, fax machines, fax servers, scanners, and yes, even dual monitors.

Endpoints are the beginning; every vendor, provider, and partner relationship is to be documented, holding all accountable.

Once the points and processes are determined - from assessment to retirement - everything is diagramed.

The result is a large flowchart.  Imagine.

Think of your Print Policy as the Vanguard for your IT Policy
As the decision and support process for print and copy fall into the IT realm, covering output devices, conducting end-user assessments, and documenting workflow can be labor intensive.
A Print Policy requires time, expertise, and an end-user interface.  But when the process is complete, establishing the same for a comprehensive IT Policy is easier.

Utilizing the process of generating a Print Policy can be replicated in determining your organization's entire IT policy.

Don't waste the opportunity.

There are more considerations, but these three are significant. If you're interested in a deeper understanding, reach out to me, at

"Why join the Navy when you can be a Pirate?"

-Steve Jobs

Local band.  Eau Claire, Wi.  Good Stuff.

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