How to Monitor Printer Usage in a Network

Posted by Devin Anderson on November 15th, 2017

We're in the era of Big Data. We want to be able to monitor, collect and analyze information of all kinds—our exercise, our sleep, our spending, our workflow—as conveniently and unobtrusively as possible with the ultimate aim of identifying opportunities for improvement, tweaking old habits and boosting performance.

As far as enterprise printing is concerned, we want to track printer usage across our network in order to cut wasteful printing and reduce the overuse of consumables. Which has an immediate and direct impact on our organizations' bottom lines.

With traditional print management software, such as print servers, the ability to track printer usage is limited. This comes down to the software's native tools as well as its basic architecture. You can examine historical print job data for a certain period by trawling through the logs from shared print queues, for example, but the process inefficient and is unlikely to yield any useful information that tells a larger story. The fragmentation of distributed environments with remote sites makes this even more difficult.

Another method to track printer usage is to collect SNMP information on things like page counts and toner levels from individual printers, but this can quickly become a matter of herding cats when you have a heterogeneous print environment with a mix of drivers, hardware from different manufacturers and a smattering of USB-connected printers. And even if you do succeed in gathering that information, making sense of it as a basis for efficiency initiatives is another ball of wax.

Third parties have tried to take advantage of this shortcoming by developing printer usage tracking software that will make the collection and audit of print data a tiny bit more manageable. But the problem here is that their solutions to track printer usage run atop the underlying server architecture. They don't necessarily integrate with the seamlessness of a native solution. As a result, you have to manage your tracking software alongside your print management software, which adds one more console to oversee, one more component to juggle.

Furthermore, "layered" solutions like these are usually at the mercy of the print management software passing along the required information. If something changes in how the printer usage tracking software interfaces with the print servers—say, through an upgrade or migration to a new solution—then its ability to track printer usage could be hobbled or even prevented. That creates unwanted scenarios where you find yourself weighing the pros and cons of holding off on a critical security patch while waiting for your printer usage tracking software to be updated for compatibility.

That's why PrinterLogic is the best way to monitor and track printer usage across your organization. Our next-generation print management software has powerful built-in print auditing and reporting tools that have access to core-level printing data, which allows you to gather detailed, comprehensive information from every nook and cranny of your print environment—even from printers connected via USB.

With PrinterLogic's advanced print management software, you can not only track printer usage but arrange that data in practical ways. You can select the company's top 10, 25 or even 100 heaviest printer users. Or identify the users who are routinely printing large or all-color jobs. Or view how many pages each department is printing within a given time period. Or organize print jobs by the date or computer on which they were printed.

PrinterLogic also goes one step further. Instead of simply gathering data like many printer usage tracking software solutions, PrinterLogic is able to compile, analyze and distribute that information. That's invaluable when it comes to clear and effective decision-making. Now department heads can be kept informed of their consumables usage or their most print-intensive users through regular e-mails. The organization as a whole can get practical consolidation guidance to reduce infrastructure.

All that plus greater ease of management and enhanced enterprise printing features. And the best part? That will be tallying up the incredible ROI.

Devin Anderson
Devin Anderson
With nearly 20 years of experience in delivering market leading IT solutions to Fortune 500 companies, Devin prides himself on driving simplicity into products that solve extremely complex IT problems. For years he has been focused on the end-user computing devices and delivering technology that provides valuable services to the end-user which enable them to be their most productive self. As Vice President of Product Management at PrinterLogic, he focuses on increasing the value customers get from the company's Enterprise Printer Management solution.


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