Printing debate takes centre stage

To centralise corporate printing, or not to centralise? That question stirred up a flurry of activity recently on the Corporate...

To centralise corporate printing, or not to centralise? That question stirred up a flurry of activity recently on the Corporate IT Forum members' internal online interactive discussion site.

Printing is normally the Cinderella of IT but right now it is in the spotlight. The consensus among Tif's members is that there are real benefits and cost savings in replacing localised workgroup/individual printing processes with centralised multi-function devices.

However, the service has to be well-planned, managed and maintained. Significant cost savings are possible, both in consumables and support costs.

Despite initial scepticism, managers found that centralised printing creates office focal points that help to boost staff interaction.

Those taking part dismissed most concerns about security and queuing as most centralised printing has built-in authentication processes, such as defaults, to collect prints.

As ever, centralised printing is not all plain sailing. Practical problems included faxing congestion, especially a conflict between inbound and outbound faxes, and also inbound fax routing and scanning to e-mail.

Practical recommendations included enclosing centralised printers in a soundproof room; duplicating them to ensure continuity in the case of faults; having a separate process for large print runs; and ensuring that end-users are trained, especially if utilising mailboxes.

There are still some unresolved concerns, in particular, the security of the data on the hard drive; the scarcity of centralised management tools; and the user friendliness of print drivers.


www.tif.co.uk

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