This rogue IT asset is costing you money – here’s how to spot one

printerIt’s not every day you find $21,000 lying around your office. And no, we’re not talking about fixing improper software licensing or avoiding a ransomware attack. We’re talking about your printers.

When one organization took a closer look at its printers, it uncovered 281 so-called “problem devices” – printers that were too old, too expensive, or weren’t being used to their full potential. Refreshing just 153 of those devices could save the company $21,000 a month.

Managing printers effectively is tough, even if you use managed print services (MPS) — unfortunately, many organizations with MPS still have trouble spotting the most costly printers.

It might not be the most dramatic IT change, but assessing your printers can uncover new efficiencies and cost savings that can fuel more strategic IT initiatives. Here’s how to reclaim the excess costs that printers have been siphoning from your budget and get more value from your MPS.

Old, overworked, or out of place – the problem with printers

Plenty of organizations employ MPS, a tool that’s been around for decades. But many organizations execute an MPS contract without first conducting a printer assessment, a move that’s penny wise but pound foolish. Why? You can’t hit the mark if you don’t know what to shoot for.

Underused printers sit around while others handle high volumes of requests and require ink or toner too frequently. Old printers sputter on despite climbing maintenance costs. Color printers deliver black-and-white jobs at a higher cost per page than the same job on a mono device. These problems – and their costs – pile up, often overlooked.

In many cases, it’s because printers straddle two worlds: IT and facilities. IT might assume the printers are owned by facilities, while facilities assumes they’re managed by IT, since they reside on the network.

As a result, printers camp out on the network and aren’t properly managed or scrutinized in the budget. That’s a costly oversight.

Spotting the worst offenders

Regaining control isn’t difficult. One IT asset management tool that organizations can deploy is a printer assessment, which locates, identifies, and monitors all printers connected to the network and determines each printer’s workload.

By gaining this visibility, IT can determine the average cost of each printer, which devices aren’t necessary, and which need upgrades. This helps put a price tag on each printer. It sounds like minutia, but each insight can have a corresponding dollar value.

For example, a printer assessment can track a color printer’s volume of black-and-white printing, which is more expensive per page than the same job on a mono printer. An assessment can show the money saved by swapping out that color printer and running the same volume.

IT can use the data to identify underutilized devices and repeat offenders — the devices that cost organizations money in multiple ways (an old and over-utilized printer, for example). By repositioning or eliminating machines, IT can maximize efficiency and savings. The burden of managing different brands, drivers, and service contracts is relieved, too.

Assessment first, MPS later

If your organization is looking for an MPS, or renewing an old deal, first consider a printer assessment. It’ll help identify rogue printers and misused (or overused) devices, giving you the chance to correctly configure the printing environment. Together, an assessment and a properly sized MPS will create more value for your organization.

For enterprises, a printer assessment is a no-brainer; for small shops (50 printers are less), consider doing an assessment if you haven’t done one in the past 18 months, since business goals change and IT rollouts happen about every two years. Armed with this transparency into your true printing requirements, you can maximize cost savings under an MPS.

Printer assessments identify the scope of your printing woes and your problematic machines. Refreshing old and overused devices or reconfiguring the printer environment can uncover huge savings.

Contact your SHI account executive to learn more about a printer assessment.

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