Fun fact: At Wipfli, we print on the order of 16 million pages annually. We're CPAs and consultants with a 60,000+ client base that spans the globe, so maybe all that paperwork comes with the territory. Suffice it to say, we know a thing or two about printing on an enterprise scale.
Our organization had a wake-up call a few years ago when we started transitioning all of our Windows Server 2003 print servers to Windows Server 2012. During the migration process, we suddenly became aware of how much time and energy our IT team was sinking into managing printing—not just as a part of occasional server migrations, but every single day. This prompted us to start looking into print-management solutions.
That's when we first came across PrinterLogic which was an eye-opening discovery for us. Seeing the demo completely changed how I thought about print management and the outdated ways we were providing print capabilities to the firm.
We started by rolling out PrinterLogic to two Wipfli offices as a pilot project.
What we found was that it worked more or less right out of the box—even with our specialized tax software. In the past, we had to configure separate print queues on each print server every time a user wanted to use different driver settings in the tax software.
With PrinterLogic, associates didn't encounter those same printing difficulties with the tax software. After the pilot, we asked them which method they preferred, the old way or the pilot of PrinterLogic; they all chose PrinterLogic. They were particularly impressed with the self-service installation portal, which enabled them to find the printer closest to them using an internal, web-based floor plan map and install it with a mouse click.
Based on the initial success of the pilot, we opted to take PrinterLogic organization-wide.
Eliminating dozens of print servers
At the time of our Windows Server 2003 to 2012 migration, we were running 40 print servers, about one for each of our physical locations. They supplied printing services to our approximately 2,000 associates and our 400-device printer fleet.
As soon as PrinterLogic's print-management solution provided us with real-world proof that a distributed organization like ours could enjoy robust printing capabilities without the need for print servers, we had another eureka moment. Once you realize print servers are unnecessary, you begin to take stock of all the time and costs associated with managing print servers, patching, rebooting, routine maintenance, keeping them all up to date and secure, and so on.
Wipfli's continued growth meant that our print-server infrastructure would keep expanding with no end in sight, compounding the hassle and expense—along with the risk of single points of failure; the print servers themselves located in each office. In addition, with our robust merger and acquisition strategy, every new location would require another server to deploy, maintain, monitor and upgrade.
By eliminating our need for print servers, PrinterLogic gave us an enterprise-class printing solution that would scale indefinitely yet retain a tiny infrastructural footprint. These days, when we perform a merger or acquisition, it takes less than an hour to bring all of that location's printers into our print environment. As a bonus, we no longer have to worry about spooler crashes and print server downtime.
Winning over clients with PrinterCloud
Along with our CPA practice and our many consulting and business advisory services, Wipfli also has a Technology Management team that provides technology related consulting and managed services to a wide range of clients.
After our overwhelmingly positive experience with PrinterLogic's on-premises solution for Wipfli internally, I recommended it to our Tech Management consulting team and they began recommending and implementing PrinterCloud for our clients who were struggling with their own print environments. PrinterCloud is a flexible, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that offers feature parity with PrinterLogic. That made it ideal for smaller clients who were working to pare down their physical infrastructure to the absolute basics and move toward an Azure-hosted cloud-based environment.
PrinterCloud has enabled those clients to get rid of a lot of dead weight as far as print infrastructure is concerned while gaining more flexibility and oversight in their printing. Like our own users, our Tech Management clients have been excited to discover that centrally managed direct-IP printing is a viable enterprise solution, and they've been thrilled with the results of its implementation.
The long and short of it is, we've experienced so many benefits with PrinterLogic and PrinterCloud that we now consider the use of print servers to be hopelessly outdated. We're no longer approaching print management the way we used to. After implementing PrinterLogic's print-management solutions, we have more control over our print environment, increased uptime, more insight into print activity through reporting, seamless printing with our tax-management software, infinite scalability and satisfied tech-consulting clients. Those are some incredible gains from a single solution provider.
Michael Voegtline is an Engineer\Analyst Sr. for top 20 Accounting & CPA firm Wipfli LLP, headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. He has worked at Wipfli for all 16 years of his career since graduating college, using his CIS and MBA degrees as well as his project management skills to achieve incredible results daily. He lives in the countryside with his wife and two children and enjoys nature and local sports teams, esp. the Wipfli-partnered Green Bay Packers.