Legacy Printer Fleets and Print Management Services – Can They Be Saved?

By Gregg Spivack

Director of Client Services, NPI

September 30, 2016

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Artwork Courtesy of @iStock.com/zefart

Printers – not exactly a sizzling hot area of IT, especially when it comes to managing a legacy fleet of printers that print customer-facing documents. Bear with me for a minute longer…

You know that brochure for new banking services you received in the mail? Or that claim information you received from your insurance provider? Chances are it was printed and mailed in-house from company’s headquarters. And, there’s a good chance it was printed on a legacy printer system – one that collects print and report data from different facets of the company’s operations (marketing, finance, etc.). These systems often rely on the integration of multiple print management software solutions.

The problem with legacy printer fleets, and the reporting management and system integration tools that keep data flowing to and from them, is that they’re not going anywhere. They represent big sunk-cost investments that (for the most part) continue to deliver value.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not a trap for future IT overspending. As an enterprise’s offerings, customers and business requirements evolve, so do the number and type of data sources that must connect to the print infrastructure. New systems may not connect. Regulatory compliance may be at risk. Changing business requirements may necessitate new workflows.

It’s an environment that can force a hasty purchase of new software and services. It’s also an environment where companies make redundant purchases because they don’t have visibility into the tools they’ve already purchased or don’t have the ability to maintain and streamline their workflows.

The biggest culprits for overspending in this area are:

  • You don’t have visibility into your document composition and output management capabilities
  • Your expert users have left or retired
  • Your systems haven’t been upgraded and are now out of maintenance
  • The document processing was outsourced, then later automated, but no one knows how to make changes
  • In these cases, companies can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on functionality that already exists within in the IT ecosystem.

    To avoid these scenarios, companies should have a yearly print systems evaluation to identify redundancies and unused capabilities, and to develop an architecture for more streamlined and optimized system updates and upgrades as business needs evolve. Companies should also invest in training new people on the tools that keep these print services up and running. This will make maintenance more economical and handling new projects easier.

    The benefits of this optimization exercise can easily translate into seven-figure savings. Not only will you no longer have to re-buy solutions you already own, you’ll reduce the risk of product crashes that stem from hasty printer/data source integrations.