If you run a business, you likely need to be able to print documents. In an office environment with shared printers, this can become a more complex arrangement than you might expect at first. There are many people sending inputs to printers from multiple devices. This typically requires a centralized system to manage it all. However, choosing the right system can be difficult,
Understand Your Requirements
As with any business project, it is helpful to identify your requirements. Unsurprisingly, an office with a dozen people and a single, shared printer will have very different needs from one with three hundred people and a dozen printers.
In addition to the number of users and printers, you should also identify and evaluate the amount of printing. A law office likely has more printing requirements than a software company. Additionally, there may be some special features you want such as printing from mobile devices or remote printing without a VPN.
Consider your reporting requirements. Excellent printer software should make tracking your printing volume and ink/toner usage as easy as possible.
Laying out your requirements in advance will help you to better determine which solution is ideal for you. It is also a good idea to set some goals for your printing software search. This should include a timeframe for identifying and implementing a solution. It should also include some expectations about downtime while setting up the new system.
Explore the Options
Once you have your requirements in mind, it is time to start exploring your options. Depending on the size of your project, it may be worth doing significant research into the possible software solutions you can use.
If you are only shopping for a single-printer setup, you can likely settle for something that is good enough. However, if you have a few hundred people printing all day long, you are going to need to find the ideal solution for your needs.
For larger projects, you could consider requesting proposals from possible suppliers. You will need to be providing enough business to make it worth their while. However, this can simplify your information gathering process. It will also help eliminate any potential suppliers who are not that interested in your business. If they can’t be bothered to submit a proposal, they won’t be bothered to support you when you have issues.
It may be helpful to create a scorecard based on your requirements. This will make comparing easier.
Understand the Full Costs
Let’s face it, cost is a big factor in any business purchase. You are looking for a solution that can support your printing. You don’t want to be spending more than you have to.
Make sure you understand the full cost of using specific software. For example, many printing solutions require print servers. However, some skip this need, helping to better contain the expense of printing. Additionally, some solutions may be compatible with only a subset of devices. Again, your costs could potentially increase if you also need to acquire new printers.
Finally, keep in mind the complexity and expense of deploying new hardware. Your office may expand in the future and you will want to add new printing capacity. Alternatively, you may replace some of your existing hardware. In either case, you will want your printing solution to make this as easy and inexpensive as possible. The best printing software should make managing printing easier, not more complicated.
Compare and Test Solutions
Finally, you will need to compare and test your finalists. Once you have a few options that meet your requirements at an acceptable price, you may want to delve a little deeper. For example, you could explore some third-party reviews or request to speak with an existing customer.
It can also be valuable to get a product demo so you can explore it in action on a smaller scale. Having a “dry run” is a great way to determine if there are any likely hiccups or flaws that weren’t obvious previously.
A common issue to identify at this stage is difficulty with migration. You likely don’t want your printers to be unavailable for days while the new system is implanted. Finding a solution with simple and automatic migration is likely a good choice.
Changing your printing solution can help your office to manage its printing needs more efficiently. This is especially significant if you are running a large team with multiple print objects. Get started on your search and set your requirements. The sooner you start, the sooner you will find the best software for you.