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Printing from a User Experience Standpoint

Posted by Chris Poole on February 8th, 2019

Take a moment to consider all the elements that comprise your print environment. There are the printers, of course, and probably print servers as well. There are consumables like paper and ink or toner. There's your enterprise print-management software and any pull-printing or mobile-printing solutions you might be using. And there are the administrative and support staff, too, who help set up printer deployments, manage drivers and remedy any problems as they arise.

Forgetting anything?

As important as the end user is in any organization (after all, they're the reason for the entire IT infrastructure), they tend to get left out of the print-management equation. Sometimes that omission can be accidental, and sometimes it can be deliberate. Because, if we're honest, it isn't uncommon for end users' ongoing needs to create an adversarial relationship between them and the IT staff who are there to support them.

That's not necessarily the fault of either party. At PrinterLogic, we think that has more to do with the limitations of traditional enterprise print-management solutions.

Why the User Experience Matters
Like any other essential technology-related task, printing should be intuitive. It should be reliable. It should be effortless.

When a company implements pull printing for the sake of security, for example, it should be convenient enough for the end user to actually use it, and the authorization and release process shouldn't come at the expense of productivity. When a user wants to print from their mobile phone, they should be able to do so without jumping through all the usual mobile-printing hoops, such as having to select dedicated printers that only work with a particular OS.

And when a user wants to do something as routine as install a printer, it should be straightforward. Having to file a support ticket or hunt through lists of obscurely named devices in the hope of selecting the right one results in layers of complexity that only create more steps and more work at every level.

When the printer-installation process is easy to understand, pull printing is a snap and mobile printing is reliable, life gets easier for the entire organization—not just the end user but the administrators, the support team and even the organization's customers.

So why does the user experience matter? It's because the end user's printing experience is ultimately everyone's experience.

Enterprise Print Management without Print Servers
With print servers as your enterprise printing backbone, it's difficult to guarantee a pleasant user experience. Despite long-awaited advances like driver isolation, print servers remain delicate single points of failure that can halt printing capabilities for entire departments as the result of one rogue print job or server-side error. Conventional direct-IP printing is much more reliable, but it creates severe fragmentation from an enterprise print-management standpoint.

PrinterLogic adopts a unique, centrally managed direct-IP print architecture that removes the inescapable shortcomings of both print servers and conventional direct-IP printing. PrinterLogic's serverless print infrastructure provides complete visibility over an organization's print environment from a single pane of glass, yet by completely eliminating print servers, it also eliminates single points of failure.

In a nutshell, it combines the robustness of direct-IP printing with powerful centralized manageability that's superior to anything print servers can currently offer.

That simplicity and ease of administration translates to the front end. With PrinterLogic, end users can identify and install printers themselves by accessing a web-based self-service installation portal. Using optional floor plan maps, they can view nearby printers in relation to their current location and install them—along with any necessary drivers—with a single click. Instead of filing a support ticket or installing the wrong driver by accident, they can reliably print to authorized printers in seconds.

The PrinterLogic Pull Printing and Mobile Printing Experience
Unlike the usual patchwork of third-party software, PrinterLogic provides optional pull-printing and mobile-printing capabilities that are seamless extensions of our core print-management solution.

With pull printing from PrinterLogic, end users can take advantage of print security best-practices without the sharp learning curve. They simply elect to hold the print job, then use one of four available authentication mechanisms to release the waiting job at their convenience. This solves the perennial problem with secure printing—namely, making it a natural and unobtrusive part of the end user's printing workflow.

And with PrinterLogic's mobile printing, any user with a mobile device—including BYOD users and guests—can print to authorized printers with incredible ease. There's no added software to install, and it works with any device and any printer, including legacy models. For roaming users, mobile printing from PrinterLogic enables them to move from location to location without ever having to take the time to install a printer.

By dramatically improving the overall user experience in enterprise printing, PrinterLogic has enabled organizations like the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office to achieve reductions of 95% in their print-related support call volume. See what it can do for your users by downloading a free 30-day demo of PrinterLogic today.

Chris Poole
Chris Poole
Chris is a Product Manager at PrinterLogic and focuses on the end-user experience and add-on modules. He has degrees in mechanical engineering and accounting, and has owned several small businesses. Chris organizes IT customer requirements and funnels them to the development team for use in future software releases. His goal is improving PrinterLogic’s solution to help IT be more effective and to ensure a smooth end-user printing experience.

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