The TDSIT Blog

Questions to Ask Your Managed Print Services Provider

Posted by Tim Stanley on Sun, Dec 18, 2016 @ 07:04 PM

questions_mps.jpgWhen you partner with the right Managed Print Services provider, you can realize significant savings through the reduction of print, increased productivity, environmental sustainability and streamlined workflows. But how do you choose the right MPS partner for your business?

Read on to learn some important questions to ask your potential hire, and which answers to listen for. 

1. How will you determine my needs?

Every aspect of your business is unique, including your print requirements. Rather than employ a one-sized-fits-all approach, the right MPS partner will take the time to get to understand the inner workings of your organization, utilizing analytical tools to determine your current total cost of printing.

2. How much experience do you have?

Find out what previous clients have to say about the service they received, and whether they would recommend the provider to you.

3. Can you improve document workflow?

Ask if their solutions take into account both hard copy and digital documents.

4. Are you able to integrate your solutions with my current infrastructure?

Safeguard your investment with solutions that integrate with your existing IT infrastructure. Ask if you will be able to utilize your favorite cloud applications, and whether the solutions offered will encompass mobile printing. 

5. What about the future?

MPS is an investment, and one that should grow along with your business. Ask your potential provider about changes or upgrades, and whether or not they will be able to meet the demands of your company six months, or a year, from now. 

6. How can you help with data security?

Evolving print technology presents new challenges with security. Ask which security measures they will use to ensure your data stays safe. 

7. Are your solutions environmentally friendly?

Inquire about waste and recycling options, and whether print equipment will be energy efficient. 

8. What type of metrics do you use?

How will this provider measure your success? Settle for no less than a solution with user friendly tools to help you analyze performance and track savings. 

If you ask the right questions, you’ll find the best Managed Print Services provider for your business. Give us a call today to learn more!

Print Assessment

Tags: MPS

How About A Managed Print Approach For Your New Year's “TO DO” List?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 @ 05:21 PM

TDS ToDoList

Managed Print Services (MPS) companies have been around for a while. The demand has grown in the past decade as more companies began looking for ways to reign in costs as the economy slowed. The print environment is a natural place to look for cost savings, as it’s usually the last un-audited department in most businesses.

As a company owner, you need to find an MPS company that can work to enhance your business and fit into your corporate culture. Here are five key questions to ask when interviewing MPS companies. Their answers will help you find out if they’re a good fit for your business.

1.     How will you save me money? This is really your primary goal when looking to hand your print environment over to a professional. A good MPS company will come in and audit your current print infrastucture. They will then be able to determine your needs and any areas that can be consolidated technology wise. The focus should be on process, protocols and procedures, as well as hardware and software consolidation. They should provide you with a clear, total cost of ownership baseline from which you can measure improvements and savings.

2.     What about other vendors in my environment? A good provider will sell you what you need, even if it is a competitors product. They will assess your needs, and supplement your existing equipment so you don’t have to throw away what you’ve already invested in.

3.     How will MPS increase my revenue and grow my business? A good MPS provider will offer ideas and strategies to not only cut your costs, but also grow your business. If they are not offering innovative ideas, and significant savings then they may not have much to offer in this department.

4.     How will you support my company as my business grows? A good MPS relationship should last over the long term. The longer you work together, the more your provider will understand your corporate culture. A good MPS provider should be able to offer change management programs to help your employees learn to adapt to new procedures and IT work processes, a web portal for ongoing tech support and online learning and/or an onsite print center with a dedicated staff.

5.     What is you’re approach to mobile technology? Business is changing. BYOD (bring your own device) is becoming a growing trend. Embracing the changes in the way employees interact with technology is a vital area critical to employee efficiency, productivity and morale. Look for a provider that can assess your IT infrastructure with an eye towards developing mobile protocols and can show you the benefits they can bring.

Look towards a proven MPS provider in the New Year who can satisfactorily answer these five questions. It can go a long way towards helping you make a good partnering decision.

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, MPS, save money on print

How Your Medical Office Could Benefit from Managed Print Services

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

How Your Medical Office Could Benefit from Managed Print Services

There are few things in life more important to us than our health and even fewer people and pieces of equipment that we place enough trust in to monitor everything from colds to cancer.

Once the scans, tests and observations are over though we tend to forget about the inevitable file clean up that ensues.  Our records are updated and all documents are filed, boxed and stored accordingly and as meticulous as we are about ensuring the highest quality of care during our diagnosis, we take relatively little heed of the security of our files.  Though its not necessary to worry about our records every minute of every day it is important to choose a machine that will protect them for us.

A multifunction printer is a far more complicated device than one might assume from its name.  From document management to security, tech support, content management, and print cost savings. It is a one size fits all machine for your office and, most importantly, for your healthcare system.

For the paper-heavy healthcare industry the document management properties of an MFP are essential. An MFP offers high speed and integrated, direct scan to EHR capabilities.  This means that users are provided with a fast, convenient and cost effective method in which makes it easier to manage patients records and deliver them electronically.  The files include diagnostic and business imaging file types integrated directly into the EHR system, for faster and more frequent appraisal by the patients and doctors.

Security is paramount for any healthcare office.  Standard security features on an MFP include: automatic hard disk erase, SSL and network encryption, audit trails and logs of all documents scanned printed copied or faxed on any device. Authentication methods include proximity cards to meet the needs of any doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. These capabilities meet the needs of HIPAA requirements in a cost effective manner.

IT glitches are the bane of any office’s existence. The one-size IT solution packages don’t offer nearly enough support or coverage for most offices. Managed IT solutions from our All Covered offers customized, scalable, end-to-end solutions that include electronic health record infrastructure preparedness, secure access to medical data, streamlined workflow and increased productivity. All Covered Healthcare IT Services group delivers real value for physician practices, hospitals and ancillary care providers. 

As mentioned previously healthcare is a very paper heavy industry. Electronic Content Management (ECM) offers comprehensive document management and a high level of business process optimization. ECM maintains document content from scanned images, electronic documents, forms and multiple file formats and provides intelligent form recognition based on business application usage, workflow rules and unmatched integration with virtually any HIS/EHR or back office system.

In the same vein as ECM is Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The optional DocuShare add-on means that page images can be converted into searchable PDF files, Microsoft Office documents, or simple text files.  This enables the files to be located, viewed, and modified. After processing the images are fully indexed and can be searched based on text contained in the new file.

The results of these capabilities are savings. Cost Recovery integrates with all of the industry’s leading cost recovery systems.  A built-in “Vendor Port” makes integration seamless.  Savings happen in all areas from digitization, to print supply and print job tracking, more effective content management and energy savings with the consolidation to fewer electronic devices.

Click here to find out how your medical office can save up to 30% in print costs in 30 days:

cut print costs

Tags: managed print services, MPS, electronic heath records, healthcare, HIPAA compliance

Do you Know the True Cost of Printing?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Mar 07, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

Do You Know the True Cost of Printing

Between invoicing, record keeping and communications, most businesses are thought to be spending between one and three percent of their annual revenue on print costs. In addition, few Small Medium Sized Business owners are aware of the exact amount of inventory their company is carrying between equipment and supplies. Multiple devices may also rely on multiple vendors for repairs and replacement equipment adding to the confusion. 

Knowing the true cost of printing can pave the way to a reduction in print usage and expenditures, streamline work and printing processes and increase your bottom line. Managed Print Services (MPS) can help get you on your way; here’s how.

What is the True Cost of Printing?

Because printing is a necessary part of doing business, it isn’t an area often considered when management is looking to trim costs, but the fact is, if you don’t know what you’re spending, how do you know how much you could be saving?

Ask yourself the following:

  • How many printers are in your office?
  • Of those how many are multi-function printers (MFPs)?
  • Are they all from the same manufacturer?
  • Do they each carry separate maintenance/service agreements?
  • Do the supplies for each come from the same vendor?
  • How much are you spending each year on ink cartridges, toner cartridges, paper and hardware?
  • How many steps are necessary to print?
  • Do you have a sustainability initiative in place for office printing
If you don’t know the answers, it’s time to consider MPS.

The Benefits of MPS

Answers

The road to the successful management of your print services begins with an in-depth assessment of current inventory and expenditures. By examining document workflow improvements can be made to streamline processes and get costs under control.

Cost Reduction

Savings can be realized by:

  • Eliminating redundant or outdated equipment.
  • Optimizing the ratio between employees and equipment.
  • Reducing the amount of devices and supplies.
  • Streamlining document workflow to eliminate unnecessary steps.
  • Introducing print rules such as double-sided or monochrome printing for certain applications.

Increased Efficiency

Through proper placement of equipment within the office, employees can save steps and increase production. Optimizing processes to take advantage of digital solutions can save both time and money.

Through managed print services, you can free your IT resources. As a rule IT will be responsible for call outs for malfunctioning printers, many of which then require a second call out to a service vendor.

Enhanced Security

By introducing secure print practices and protocols, the level of security for printed documents within your organization can increase exponentially. Features such as data encryption, PIN or password enhanced printing and image overwriting can help keep sensitive documents safe and secure.  

Environmental Sustainability

Small changes can make a big difference.

  • Protocols can be put in place to re-route or outsource jobs to the most cost effective printing method, saving toner, paper and emissions.
  • Print rules such as double-sided printing or toner saver settings can be enacted.
  • Through the use of recycled products and materials such as paper or toner cartridges your company can reduce its carbon footprint substantially.

The true cost of printing within your organization is most likely higher than you think. MPS can successfully manage all your printing needs, while minimizing the cost. By assessing current practices and procedures, improvements can be made that result in the increased productivity and efficiency of your business, where employees spend less time on printing and more time working towards increasing your bottom line.

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, MPS, TCO, true cost of printing, total cost of operation, MFP

Improve Overall Office Efficiency with Docushare

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

describe the image

Every type of business has a workflow, studying it can help you determine what’s working and what’s not.  When it comes to document management and workflow, the same holds true. Identifying any problems or inefficiencies is the first step towards improving the effectiveness of creation, distribution, and approval of documents within your office. One of the best and easiest ways to achieve these results is to implement a content management platform to your office environment, in the form of easy to use software like DocuShare; read on to find out more.

Key Features

  • Supports all types of files, from emails to scanned documents.
  • Quick indexing, to help make searching and retrieving a breeze.
  • Multi-level security including:
    • SSL encryption
    • HIPPA compliant password protection
    • Individual event and audit logs.
  • Enhanced support for collaborative environments including:
    • Automatic rerouting of content under review
    • Web content management
    • Email management
  • Increased content management including:
    • Check in and check out.
    • Access to content is related to job requirements, thanks to flexible user levels.
    • Searching and indexing are open to both metadata and full text.
    • Achieve control over archiving and content expiration.

Collaboration Features

Team projects and documents can be completed with ease, as this software improves efficiency through collaborative features such as workspaces, blogs, wiki content and document approval and routing.  

Benefits

The benefits of content management are widespread, with often-dramatic results within a short period of time:

  • By using less energy, paper and a significant reduction in shipping, your company’s carbon footprint becomes a lot smaller.
  • Operational costs are greatly reduced.
  • Time spent searching for information can be reduced by up to 80 percent.
  • Tight security measures reduce the risk factor and improve overall control.
  • Business processes that used to take weeks now take only minutes.
  • Customer satisfaction increases as information is quickly processed.
  • Employee efficiency reaches new heights as more work gets done in less time, reducing overhead as well as labor costs.

How Does It Work?

A few clicks of the mouse are all it takes for users to access, share or process information. Digital files can be uploaded, and paper documents scanned in to any multi function printer outfitted with this technology. From there, documents are automatically directed to the correct location or person.

DocuShare was designed for larger organizations and is capable of managing tens of thousands of users handling millions of documents. It is both scalable and flexible, making it adaptable to any work environment.  

Rule And Regulation Enforcement

The ability to see who did what and when allows for the documentation of highly accurate audit trails. For those organizations that must follow standards and regulations such as HIPPA, OSHA, ISO 900, JCAHO and others, internal policies can be quickly and easily adapted and enforced.

Document management is all about improving your company’s document workflow. The results of a successful program are reduced costs, increased productivity and security and an enhanced workflow. Ease of access to all users within your organizational system allows for the efficient sharing and processing of your information resulting in a streamlined workflow that can help you increase customer satisfaction as well as your bottom line.

To find out how much your company is currently spending on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, office solutions, document management, MPS, software solutions, docushare

Jumpstart Productivity with an Outsourced IT Department

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Nov 01, 2012 @ 08:30 AM

outsourced ITSmall and medium businesses as well as large corporations understand that IT is a substantial expense that is often very difficult to properly measure return on investment.  Virtually every business needs a computer of some type along with other devices such as printers, copiers, scanners, network equipment and more.  There is also software to support, install and maintain that adds to the expense. 

Outsourced IT has emerged as a viable option for many businesses of all sizes.  There are distinct advantages to leveraging outsourced IT for your company:

  • Your company can focus on its core business instead of diverting valuable resources towards routine equipment maintenance or troubleshooting
  • Risks are assessed and a strategy is developed to help to mitigate those risks
  • Network analysis and management can be handled to maintain consistent and reliable performance
  • Software installation, routine maintenance and upgrades are performed consistently which will reduce the likelihood of issues or failures
  • Desktop management is handled by a provider instead of using more valuable internal resources
  • Troubleshooting is performed according to your service level agreement (SLA) with your outsourced IT provider and based on your needs
  • Service and value are easily measured to provide a quantifiable return on investment
  • Managed print services will keep the expenses associated with printing well controlled while keeping the office print processes productive

To determine the best outsourced IT provider for your specific business consider these tips:

  • While cost is a factor it should not be your only focus 
  • Carefully review your service level agreements (SLA) to make sure they will meet your business needs
  • Evaluate the technology that you currently use and make sure your provider can support that technology.  For example if you use a specific brand of printer you should find a provider that has a good reputation to support and maintain that brand
  • Your provider can work with you to identify key areas where outsourced IT would be beneficial

As one of the first steps, your provider should evaluate your internal processes and apply costs to those processes to properly compare and demonstrate value.  Make sure you include any future initiatives or expansions that could be occurring so that those expenses can be factored as well.

Outsourced IT can be a great benefit for small businesses as well as large corporations.  Each company has its own set of unique requirements, and there is no single provider that could fit every company.  Evaluate your options carefully in order to choose the right provider for you.

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment.

Print Assessment

Tags: managed service provider, document management, MPS, IT outsourcing, outsourced IT

Ultimate Guide to Differentiating Multifunction & Multitasking Devices

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Oct 04, 2012 @ 08:33 AM

multifunction printerIn recent years, printer technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Gone are the days of a roomful of machines for printing, faxing, copying and scanning. The new generation of machines combine all of these functions into one unit. 

As a small business owner, determining your needs is paramount when making a decision on which technology to invest in for your business.  When you are looking at all-in-one machines, you have two basic choices, multifunction or multitasking. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Multifunction Printer MFP

The multifunction printer MFP combines the functionality of several different machines into one desktop unit. They are all fairly similar in function, footprint and design. The multifunction printer MFP can print, scan, fax, email and copy, can be controlled from the printer unit, and also comes with software for control from your desktop. Many of the newest MFPs use WIFI technology which means that they can be accessed remotely via WIFI, by anyone, from anywhere in your office.

The main difference between multifunction printer MFP and multitasking printer is that a multifunction machine can only perform one task at a time.  They are generally best used in a home office or small business setting where complex multiple jobs are not a priority. Since all of these machines basically look the same and perform the same functions, it has been a race to the bottom to produce the lowest cost multifunction printer MFP for consumers.  Enter the multitasking machine.

Multitasking Printer MTP

The multitasking printer offers all of the same functions as the multifunction printer MFP with the added benefit of handling more than one task at a time. That means it is possible, for example, to have several print jobs in queue while you are sending or receiving a multi-page fax. This functionality makes the multitasking format ideal for a busy office where high productivity is a must.

The multitask technology can be built on either copier or printer technology.  This makes for subtle but important differences when choosing a machine. Since the entry point for a multitasking machine tends to be significantly higher, it pays to do your homework!

Questions to Ask

Once you have determined your basic need for a multitasking printer you need to ask several important questions to narrow your search for the machine that is right for you.

Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

• How will your system manage your print queue and how many jobs can it handle simultaneously?

• What happens if the current job is delayed? If there is an A4 paper outage, will the non-A4 jobs moved up in queue and be printed?

• When a job is completed will the system automatically notify the end user who printed it?

Once you’ve answered these functionality questions, the next step is to ask your vendor these questions about the machines architecture.

• Is the machine built on copier or printer technology?

• What type of engine is built into the system; drum or cartridge based?  Drum machines tend to be copiers, while cartridge based machines are generally printer based.

• What type of processor powers the system? Is it compatible with your existing IT infrastructure?

If you are looking for a simple scanner/copier/printer/fax solution, multifunction printer MFPtechnology might be the way to go. If you need the power and productivity boost of a multitasking printer do your homework! Multitasking printers cost more because they do more. Educate yourself before you buy or lease your next machine. 

To find out how your company can save up to 30% in print costs in 30 days, click here:

cut print costs

Tags: MPS, printing efficiency, drum based, cartridge based, multifunction printer, MFP, multitasking printer

Why the Surge in Managed Print Services for the SMB Market?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 11:27 AM

surge

If you're reading this then you're likely wondering why there has been a giant surge in Managed Print Services (MPS) within the small-to-medium-sized business market. Well, the simple answer is that it fits the market's needs. 

Today's SMB companies are stretched thin. Their budgets are stretched thin, as is their time. They don't have the budget for the upfront costs of expensive printing equipment and certainly don't have the time to get acquainted with their current print environment in order to do bulk ordering, preventative maintenance, fix errors and jams or even determine how much printing they do/need. The result of this chaos is that most SMB companies have no idea how many printers they have and from how many vendors. They also don't know how much they print and spend on printing annually, nor how much they could save with bulk purchase agreements or standardization.

Hopefully you are already asking yourself, “do I know how many printers we have? Do I know how many vendors those printers are spread across? Have I any idea how much my company prints annually, or how much we spend on that printing?

If you don't know, you're not alone—not by a long shot. But not knowing is costing you time and money. Money is being wasted by spending too much on servicing a mixed print environment, and time is wasted from staff trying to fix print-related issues themselves despite a lack of knowledge about that specific type of machine (how could they in a mixed environment?).  

If this sounds all too familiar then like so many before you, you're a solid candidate for Managed Print Services. 

Stats & Facts: What's Fueling the MPS Movement
When future Managed print converts see the stats and facts about the industry, their decision not only becomes clear—but they are confident in their choice to migrate to MPS. Understanding the MPS landscape is critical to understanding whether MPS is right for you, so consider the following facts:

  • 90% of all North American companies don't have a grip on their print environment, have no idea how many printers they have or how much they are spending on printing annually
  • 40% of printers are purchased without formal procurement approval (think: sky-high costs for consumables)
  • Today’s office makes 4 prints for every 1 copy
  • The average worker prints 10,000 pages annually, of which 17% are never even used
  • The average life span of a printed page in today’s office is less than 5 minutes
  • Only 10% of desktop laser printers are managed within a print environment but they print an average volume of 3650 pages each and every month
  • Industry insiders are predicting that over 50% of larger SMB companies will have adopted a Managed Print program by Q4 2014

Despite taking up a sizable chunk of office budgets printing hasn't come under the cost scrutiny that things like cell phone usage, long-distance charges, travel and other expenditures have. But given today's economic climate SMB companies are beginning to think more consciously about how much money is spent on printing—and how much of that is spent needlessly.  

Why all the converts you still ask? Well, the average SMB company saves 20-30% of their overall annual printing costs when they switch to a well run Managed Print program. And when you consider that companies, depending on toner coverage, are paying up to 10¢ for each B&W print and up to $1.00 per color print it is easy to see how the savings could add up.    

To find out how much you could save by implementing a Managed Print solution in your business, contact us today for a no obligation office print assessment.

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, print assessment, MPS, printing costs, multifunction printer, Small Medium business, print costs, MFP, SMB

Digital Copier Service Agreements Demystified

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Aug 09, 2012 @ 02:09 PM

DigitalCopierServiceAgreementsDemystified2

The exercise of buying or leasing a new Multi-Function Printer (MFP) and service contract for your office can be eerily similar to that of buying or leasing a new car. You buy from the salesman but the real relationship will be with the mechanic. In the case of office equipment, you deal with a sales person up front, and then the service department for the next few years. In the office equipment business service contracts can be a tricky matter, with ever-evolving yearly renewals; renewals which often involve contract changes unbeknownst to the customer. Since an evolving, product life-long service contract can be a scary proposition, it is critical that you have a thorough understanding of exactly what you are getting into.

When reviewing a service contract--prior to purchase--there are a few key points that you should have clarified. To demystify the process we have broken down the key points to review and questions to ask before purchasing or leasing a new system:

Toll Free Technical Support
With the sophistication of today's MFPs many of the minor issues that result can be fixed over the phone without having to wait for a technician to be dispatched, so 24-hour toll-free tech support can be very beneficial to maintaining machine up-time.

Retrofits and Software Upgrades
Since coverage varies contract to contract ask whether your service agreement requires an additional surcharge be paid for machine retrofits and software upgrades or whether they are included. In some cases retrofits may be referred to as a system overhaul and may be accompanied by an unanticipated invoice.  

Remote Diagnostic Capability
Ask whether the MFP can be accessed, monitored and managed remotely when it comes to status and software upgrades.

Service Credits
Onsite service technicians may have to run numerous test copies or prints in order to check the functionality and performance of the machine after a repair has been completed. So be sure to ask whether the cost of these “test” copies or prints will be credited to your account in order to offset the cost of running them. Test copies or prints, especially on color systems, can be expensive over the life of the equipment if a credit is not applied.

Parts & Supplies
Ask whether only genuine manufacturer parts and supplies will be used throughout the life of the contract when repairing your MFP. This is critical because warranties and guarantees can be voided by the manufacturer if aftermarket or third-party parts and supplies are used. 

Warranty
Inquire how long the machine and system will be under warranty, and most importantly, who decides(and how is it decided) when a faulty or problematic system needs to be replaced.


Conclusion
When discussing your digital copier service contract, before you lease or purchase, be sure to involve all parties who will be responsible for it and cover all the points above. Ensure when discussing the service to inquire specifically about what is included and what isn't, ask to speak with a technician when reviewing the terms and conditions since these are the 'mechanics' that your established relationship will be with. 


Make sure you ask the right questions to get exactly what you are looking for because post-purchase changes may be difficult, or could require additional, and often expensive, upgrade costs. For more information you may want to review our Free Buyer Checklist.

cut print costs

Tags: MPS, Remote printing, printer warranty, OEM, service agreement, cloud printing, MFP, digital copier, Remote diagnostics