Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Fennemore Craig, P.C. is a top-ranked law firm for business in America’s Mountain West region. Over the firm’s more than 130-year history, its lawyers have often been recognized for their individual skills through numerous awards and sought-after industry ratings; the firm itself has been praised for its workforce diversity and the quality of its workplace environment.
Starting in 1989, Fennemore Craig began expanding beyond its longtime Phoenix location by opening an office in Tucson. Offices in Nogales, Las Vegas, Denver and Reno followed, making a current total of six locations. Today Fennemore Craig is home to around 400 employees, about half of whom are lawyers.
Fennemore Craig is cost-conscious and determined to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. When employees need to print crucial documents, they need to be able to do so securely and reliably, wherever they happen to be.
“As you’d expect, we do a lot of heavy-duty printing,” says Eric Weller, IS manager at Fennemore Craig. “Our main office is in Phoenix, so that office has the bulk of our printing resources—probably about 180 printers. The other five offices vary, ranging from just two printers in the smallest office to over 20 workgroup printers, high-capacity copiers and multi-function printers in our second largest office.”
In addition to being a distributed environment, Fennemore Craig is also a very mobile workplace. “We have a significant number of people who move from location to location or desk to desk, especially if they’re floating temporary help or file clerks,” says Weller. “So they need to print in different locations at different times.”
Prior to choosing PrinterLogic, the firm relied on Active Directory and group policy preferences for printer assignments. This put a lot of burden on the user logon process, and there was no way to enforce driver policy. Mobile employees also had to map and unmap printers themselves during each session. To streamline their operations, Weller and his team first looked into “designing a web front-end for an SQL database” as a print management solution. They considered a number of different commercial alternatives, all of which seemed to be “essentially script repositories.”
“What drove us specifically toward PrinterLogic was the fact that it can centrally manage everything; it employs a web-based administrator console and it enforces driver policy,” he says. But they were still concerned about achieving a strong return on investment (ROI).
“Our original intent was that we wanted to simplify management and reduce the number of interactions that end users had to have with the helpdesk. In addition to that goal, we received a mandate to reduce the amount of unnecessary color printing usage. We determined that—if we could cut unnecessary color printing usage by 50%—we’d have a solid return on investment for the print management solution.”
On account of the firm-wide mandate, reducing color printer usage quickly became the number-one priority for Weller and the team—and the number-one problem for PrinterLogic to solve.
“There was a general feeling that the vast majority of the jobs being printed in color were only because people wanted to print to a larger capacity printing device, which also happen to be our color printing capable devices,” he says. “People don’t send five or six pages to these machines—these are the ones that get hundreds of pages sent to them. Add up every time somebody sends a job to them that does not revert to black and white, and soon you’ve got over-usage. It doesn’t take much.”
The IS team determined that nearly all of the excess color printing stemmed from the inability of their Active Directory based print management solution to enforce driver policy.
Now that PrinterLogic is in place, the end-users’ printer drivers automatically default to black and white after each print job. To address wider consumables usage, the IS team has even gone a step further and set the default policy to duplex print jobs on some machines.
“PrinterLogic allows us to enforce driver policy but still gives the users the ability to manage their printer usage,” says Weller. “So if users want to print something single-sided and in color, they can still do it easily, but they have to go through the steps each time. This enforcement ensures that their color and single-sided printing is always intentional.”
Like many organizations with conventional print environments, Fennemore Craig was using group policy preferences (GPPs) and Active Directory groups for printer assignments. They would add users to a given security group in Active Directory, and during the users’ next logon, GPPs would apply a printer on the basis of that group membership.
"Our helpdesk feels like they’ve really benefited a ton from PrinterLogic. They’re really glad to have this one-stop place where they can look at the deployment steps."
Weller says that this approach was tolerable, but far from ideal. “It’s a lot of extra overhead at logon, and it requires an initial logon if you change a person’s group membership. This reactive approach to print management was one of the prime reasons that mobile users were dissatisfied. There was also a certain amount of unreliability due to the complexity of the GPPs. We have about 250 devices, and so we had a lot of group policy rules. And they all have to be processed linearly, and people make mistakes.”
Mistakes and other issues common to GPPs invariably led to a high volume of service desk calls. Weller and his team sought to empower the service desk to alter printer assignments without also being able to make broader changes: “We wanted some place besides Active Directory where our helpdesk staff could go, log in, and actually assign printers and see which printers were currently assigned, to whom, where, and so on, much like we do with PrinterLogic now.”
As intended, PrinterLogic has streamlined printer deployment and management for the service desk as well as for admin-level staff.
“Creating a new printer and adding it to the system is now a two-step process instead of a five- or six-step process,” says Weller. “And it’s also something that can be done by any member of the helpdesk staff—as opposed to previously, where it was something that required an admin's involvement in order to complete the process. Getting a new printer spun up is very quick now—it takes only a few minutes, and half the time we just copy an existing printer and change the address.”
The IS team at Fennemore Craig also found that driver management was simplified to the point that they could eliminate the print server they maintained solely for distributing drivers.
“We had a plethora of different drivers in the environment,” Weller explains. “Some users had universal printer drivers, some users had a model-specific discrete driver depending on the type of printer. So you’d get different user experiences from one desktop to another. With PrinterLogic, we were able to make the end-user experience more consistent.”
At Fennemore Craig, there is a group of administrative staff that is mobile. Weller refers to them as “floaters.” Temporary employees and file clerks in particular frequently “move around from desk to desk and from office to office,” he explains, “but the previous print management solution didn’t have any mechanism for self-administration.”
“What we used to do is duplicate all of the IP printers that we managed with GPP on a standalone 32-bit print server, and just those people who routinely traveled were oriented to the concept of how to map a printer and then unmap that printer later. We relied on them to self-provision. But our users didn’t like that solution very much. We wanted to find a more efficient method for floaters to self-provision.”
With PrinterLogic’s handy and intuitive self-installation portal, anyone at the firm—temporary employees, mobile users, or simply an attorney moving into a new office—is now able to install nearby printers themselves without having to resort to calling the service desk for support.
Weller says that end-users are also enjoying the convenience of PrinterLogic’s floorplan maps, which present a graphical overview of printer locations.
“It’s funny,” he says. “It wasn’t really a design demand when we first started talking about replacing the print management solution, but as soon as we saw the feature, we thought, well, that’s exactly how we’re going to handle floaters. It was obvious, especially with the feature that just lets you publish the URL, and wherever the person is—even if their home office is in Phoenix and they happen to be in the Denver office—they get the Denver map because their machine is in the same IP range. They don’t even have to know how to navigate the folder tree.”
It’s even proven useful for static users: “Our Phoenix headquarters is really labyrinthine. In that office, the maps have come in really handy for people finding where a given high-duty machine is in relation to themselves. Some people just like being able to look at the map and see where the printers are on the maps.”
Before migrating to PrinterLogic, Fennemore Craig’s primary goal was to reduce color printer usage by 50%. They got far more than that.
“The last time we looked at it, our color output was 15% of what it had previously been,” says Weller. “We really thought we would see a significant decrease—I just don’t know if anybody thought it would be that much. It was quite profound.” Combined with the default setting of duplexing print jobs, that has equated to considerable cost savings.
Central administration and user self-provisioning have both streamlined print management, reducing the number of calls to the service desk and improving user mobility. “Our helpdesk feels like they’ve really benefitted a ton from PrinterLogic. They’re really glad to have this one-stop place where they can look at the deployment steps. The people who travel from place to place now go and easily provision their own printer when they temporarily need to print something offsite.”