APi Group, Inc.

APi Group, Inc. Eliminates 160 Print Servers While Increasing Functionality and Easing Print Management

APi Case Study

Challenges

  • With 160 offices, many of which were gained through acquisition of other companies, APi needed to consolidate disparate print environments
  • In addition to consolidation, the company needed to ensure centralized management of all print environments from a single pane of glass
  • The company needed to simplify printer installation to provide a better experience for its 9,000 employees

Results

  • APi was able to standardize its entire print environment through centrally-managed Direct IP printing, and is eliminating all of its 160 print servers
  • PrinterLogic created a single driver repository that is distributed across all 160 of APi's sites, enabling transparent updates and centralized management of all sites
  • Employees can now easily print to any printer via PrinterLogic's self-service portal, which has dramatically reduced help desk calls

APi Group, Inc. is the parent company to 38 independently managed fire protection, industrial and specialty construction companies located throughout North America and the United Kingdom. The company frequently grows by acquisition, which led to a situation where they had a large number of remote locations with disparate printing environments. By 2013, the company had 160 print servers across 160 locations, resulting in a difficult print management environment.

“Managing remote locations is tough enough, but 160 print servers is beyond complex,” said Ahmed Abdel-Kerim, Client Technology Team Lead at APi Group, Inc. “We needed to simplify our environment, but we didn’t know that eliminating all of our print servers was an option. PrinterLogic was the only solution we found that met all of our needs—and more.”

APi Group, Inc.’s distributed and international enterprise required a solution that was:

  • Web-based
  • Easy to deploy across many locations
  • Simple for both administrators and end-users

After searching and evaluating the available Enterprise Print Management Solutions, APi Group, Inc. selected PrinterLogic’s solution to eliminate all of their print servers and simplify the management of their print environment.

Challenge #1—Eliminating Print Servers in 160 Locations

With 38 independently owned businesses under the APi Group, Inc. banner, the company has grown—and continues to grow—via acquisitions. Each acquisition comes with its own print environment, and the previous solution was to deploy a print server at each location to enable management of that location’s print needs. However, as the number of print servers grew to 160, the management of that many servers—not to mention the sheer cost of hardware and maintenance—had gotten out of control.

“We acquire several new companies per year, and we previously used on-site servers so that we wouldn’t have to cross the WAN with print traffic,” said Abdel-Kerim. “But after a while, the management of that many print servers simply becomes untenable.”

“We needed to simplify our environment, but we didn’t know that eliminating all of our print servers was an option. PrinterLogic was the only solution we found that met all of our needs—and more.”

Solution

After seeing a demo of PrinterLogic in action, APi Group, Inc. recognized that the web-based app could be used to completely eliminate their print servers. By deploying PrinterLogic, APi Group, Inc. standardized its print environment through centrally-managed direct IP printing. As of November 2014, APi Group, Inc. has completed 50 percent of its deployment, with plans to eliminate all 160 of its print servers by mid-2015.

“Immediately when we started using it, it made our lives far simpler,” said Jeremy Morgan, Client Technologies Analyst. “PrinterLogic did a great job of overcoming our niche challenges.”

Challenge #2—The Ability to Easily Manage All Sites from a Single Pane of Glass

With 160 locations across three countries, APi Group, Inc. had no centralized means of managing the print environment at all sites. This made tasks like updating drivers, installing new printers in their Citrix environment, and getting visibility into remote users’ issues both difficult and costly.

“It took a long time just to figure out what the issues at each site were, and then more time—and expense—to resolve those issues locally,” said Abdel-Kerim.

Solution

APi Group, Inc. used PrinterLogic to create a single driver repository that is distributed to all sites. And by eliminating their print servers and enabling centralized management of direct IP printers, PrinterLogic gave APi Group, Inc. a single view into every printer and location throughout their company. Updating drivers happens transparently across all sites, and printers can be deployed remotely in their Citrix environment.

“The benefits of being able to manage all of our printing environments from a single pane of glass simply cannot be overstated,” said Abdel-Kerim.

Challenge #3—Simplifying the User Experience, Regardless of Location

With a distributed workforce of over 9,000 employees, APi Group, Inc.’s IT team was frequently bogged down with help desk calls related to printer installation issues. They needed a solution that was capable of empowering end users to install printers themselves and ensure that drivers were always transparently updated, in order to reduce help desk calls and cost.

“We were constantly answering support calls from remote sites where we didn't have visibility into what was going on. Every printer-related support call was like starting from scratch,” said Morgan.

“It was also important that we find a solution that would enable proximity-based printing for all of our employees, regardless of which office they were in at the time,” said Abdel-Kerim.

Solution

PrinterLogic enables employees to easily print to any printer throughout the entire APi Group, Inc. organization. The software provides an intuitive self-service print model, eliminating the need for manual printer adds and unnecessary service desk calls.

“With PrinterLogic, we simply pull up the interface and see what's happening at that site,” said Morgan. “And, frankly, we don't even have to do that much anymore—the users can figure it all out themselves. It’s that easy.”

“It’s very simple for our users to connect to new printers with PrinterLogic, and when they return to that office, they automatically connect again,” said Abdel-Kerim.

Conclusion and Savings Summary

By deploying PrinterLogic, APi Group, Inc. has simplified its printing environment via the elimination of print servers. This has also given them the additional functionality of centralized management of all 160 of their locations worldwide and the ability to empower users to easily install their own printers. As a result, APi Group, Inc. has reduced the costs associated with print servers, while also reducing the time and costs associated with a high volume of print-related support calls.

“We used to have situations where a print server would need to be rebuilt, and that would cost an entire day of work and productivity,” said Morgan. “Add to that the ever-increasing cost of support desk calls, and the costs of our distributed print server environment added up fast. PrinterLogic has greatly reduced support desk calls and eliminated the need to rebuild print servers, resulting in a strong return on investment.”