IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Market trends, Innovation and Cloud Managed PrintingSeptember 26, 2017 No Comments
Printing continues to be one of the most essential IT services. While often overlooked, this market is quickly evolving making printing a business process that can no longer be ignored. Companies must learn the essentials to ensure secure and productive printing in the new business world. In this interview Henning Volkmer, president and CEO for ThinPrint Inc., shares his insights on market trends, innovation and the possibilities of cloud managed printing.
- Q. What impact does printing have in the business world? How important is a company’s print infrastructure?
A. Printing is still hugely important for businesses. Most key business processes or workflows still require printed documents, including invoices, prescriptions, shipping and financial documents, just to name a few. The reason is simple. Paper is extremely reliable. A print out with a “wet” signature is often regarded as “more real” than a PDF with a digital signature. Paper also doesn’t run out of battery just when you really need access to a document and will not fail to display its content due to a lack of network connectivity.
The effort and infrastructure to ensure that a simple, single-page document, that is needed to successfully complete a task and generate revenue for a business, is much more complex and costly than one might think.
In a small business, it is typically the owner that must step in the help its employees set up and maintain their printer configurations. A time-consuming task that takes focus away from core customer and business growth strategies.
In larger organizations, the infrastructure can include servers in data centers, as well as branches or remote sites. This can come with significant costs for setup, maintenance and licensing. In addition, there is the cost of having a dedicated IT staff to bring the required know-how on how to operate the servers and support users and their questions. Print related calls are frequently among the largest share of help desk calls in the enterprise.
While solutions like the ThinPrint Engine have long been the go to solution to significantly improve upon Microsoft’s print server, a more secure, manageable and truly server-less print infrastructure has been mostly elusive – until now.
- Q. What innovations/changes are happening in the print market today? What impact does this have?
A. Organizations large and small are starting to realize how much potential exists in a better approach to print management. Those who have already worked to centralize applications to remote and virtual desktops have been able to benefit from print solutions. The centralized nature of the application delivery allows them to significantly consolidate print infrastructure and related expenses.
Traditional “PC/Mac on desk” type environments have been largely excluded from these benefits. This is due to the complexities of managing printing in decentralized environments without introducing significant overhead needed through print servers. Complexity is added when its necessary to keep users printing even if their respective offices are disconnected from the company WAN or even the Internet.
To address this issue, we’ve seen significant improvements in the capabilities of cloud solutions, as well as willingness to leverage the cloud for true enterprise grade applications. This has opened the door for solutions like ezeep Dash. This new solution can manage the print infrastructure from the cloud, while keeping the printing path short by using direct IP printing to send print jobs from a user’s workstation directly to the printer. This approach also keeps users independent of the WAN network connection and alleviates privacy concerns because print data never leaves the organization.
- Q. What considerations should be addressed when moving print management to the cloud?
A. Simplicity without sacrificing functionality is key. A solution for cloud-based print management needs to be as simple and manageable as other cloud-based business functionalities, including cloud storage, Salesforce, Gmail etc.
“Instant on” is also a key consideration. The setup and maintenance process cannot include the same time consuming steps that a traditional print environment would require. Primarily that means eliminating the step of finding and vetting printer drivers, as well as most of the user support.
ezeep Dash comes with a pre-loaded Driver Store that is continuously grown by the Cloud Printing Alliance members, but also offers the option for customers to add specific drivers. The Driver Store greatly simplifies printer roll outs or updates while print data remains entirely private on the local network with no Internet connection required for users to print.
Automatically assigning printers to users based on the location or user group is a necessity. The right cloud solution offers extremely simple user management without keeping track of and managing user passwords.
In addition, user empowerment through a self-service portal eliminates help desk requests for additional printers and offers a simple “have you tried turning if off and back on” repair button instead of complex trouble shooting.
- Q. What impact and benefits does this approach bring?
A. The impact of a cloud-based print management solution for organizations large or small are more than significant. A small business can focus on customers and growth, a new team member can get right to work, a new printer is immediately available to everyone and neither the owner, nor the office manager, lose valuable time in the process without giving up control over their organization.
A larger business can retire a great deal of expensive infrastructure such as print servers in branch offices and remote sites, print servers in data centers as well as complex management structures.
Overall, cloud-based print management is set to be as beneficial as Gmail or Salesforce by making available benefits that previously required a great deal of infrastructure and expertise at minimal cost and in a way that a non-IT person can set up and maintain.
ThinPrint’s solutions simplify and enhance printing both on premise and from the cloud for SMBs, as well those with hundreds of thousands of users. ezeep Dash will be generally available in Q4 of this year. ThinPrint solutions are available direct to end users and through the channel with dedicated programs available for resellers, distributors and service providers.
Henning Volkmer is the president and CEO of ThinPrint Inc. and Cortado Inc. He drives the execution of ThinPrint’s strategy as the leading provider of print management software and services for businesses across the Americas. Volkmer has been at the forefront of technology trends for the past seventeen years, helping to shape both the future of desktops, as well as printing. In addition to holding various positions within the Cortado group, Volkmer served as part of a project team focused on reducing costs in the network infrastructure division with what is now Nokia Networks. Under Volkmer’s direction, ThinPrint brand has increased its lead as the premier print management software, optimizing printing from traditional PCs, mobile devices, thin clients, virtual desktops, or from the cloud for over 25,000 companies across all industries and of all sizes.
Originally from Berlin, Volkmer currently resides in Denver.
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