As we all know, there's often a gap—sometimes a large one—between perception and reality. And how do you close that gap? Through impartial data, real-world information and analysis. In enterprise printing, that's what print job tracking is for.
Yet an organization's ability to track print jobs is only as good as its print job tracking software. In many environments, that software is bundled with their primary print management solution—which is to say, it's somewhat lacking. That's because the tracking and auditing functionality in these solutions is usually pretty basic. At best, it's barebones, capturing broad print-related data like the job name or the user who initiated the job. At worst, it's an afterthought and barely usable.
How can you improve print job tracking in your organization and extract meaningful, actionable data from users' print activity? Here are some general tips followed by a single solution that puts all of them into practice.
- Get a fix on your print environment. It's hard to derive order from chaos. Before you can hope to gather quality print job tracking data, you need to have a solid overview of your organization's entire print environment. Non-centralized print management solutions make this challenging because they tend to foster a fragmented environment with poor overall visibility, especially in geographically distributed organizations.
- Convert printing data into relevant figures. The real-world significance of print activity sometimes gets lost in translation. Telling a decision-maker that your company's top 50 users are each printing upwards of 1,000 color pages per month might not carry a lot of weight. But putting it in more immediate terms—that, for example, those users' combined printing habits cost the company roughly $120,000 per year—will certainly get their attention.
- Don't regard all print jobs as equal. Context is an integral part of any print job tracking initiative. For instance, it makes sense if the sales team is generating a lot of print activity on a daily basis, but if one user in R&D is printing out a large number of documents late at night, something could be seriously amiss. To establish that context, you'd need to be able to organize print job data by criteria like department and time. It helps if your print job tracking software is up to the task.
- Remember the role of infrastructure. Consumables aren't the only way to measure the impact of print activity. Printing takes its toll on your print infrastructure, too, so it's helpful for you to know how your hardware is holding up. You can do this in the short term by setting up SNMP monitoring (provided your print management software supports it), which will keep you informed of individual printer status. Over the long term, you need to parse through the available data to determine where your printers are seeing the most usage.
Those four print job tracking tips might sound simple enough, but they're difficult to implement with ordinary print management solutions. Sifting through the limited print job data you have in search of wider trends can be tedious at the best of times, and identifying anomalies like over-utilized printers or users who frequently initiate large jobs can be downright impossible. Being able to tie that data to actual, up-to-the-minute costs is no cakewalk, either.
PrinterLogic's next-generation print management solution has powerful core-level print job tracking functionality, which captures print job data for network as well as USB-connected printers right at the source. That gives you access to essential print-related information about who is printing what and where.
But that's only the start. PrinterLogic's print auditing and reporting feature allows you to organize that data according to criteria like user, printer, department or time. You can view jobs at the level of the individual user or an entire department. You can have print usage related in terms of current costs. And you can instantly share that information with managers and decision-makers via automatic emailed reports.
Along with PrinterLogic's centralized admin console and SNMP monitoring, implementing comprehensive print job tracking has never been easier, more cost-effective or more rewarding.
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.