[This is a snippet of a Pharos article featured in Entrepreneur]
Now that we’re decades into the digital age, you might think that printing is a bygone concern for businesses—just a minor drop in the bucket of overall expenses. But think again: Many businesses spend millions on employee printing every year without giving this ongoing expense the attention it deserves.
According to the recently released Quocirca Print 2025 study, printing technology is expected to change significantly in the next several years, with an increased focus on security, mobility and digitization. During this time, organizations will shift their strategic relationships from print manufacturers to IT and service providers. Through it all, however, printing is not going away.
In fact, office printing has increased in recent years, which may seem surprising, given the many digital options as well as the abundance of millennials in the workforce. (Another study found that 77 percent of millennial decision makers polled believed print would still be vital in 2025, compared to 54 percent of Generation X respondents.)
The Quocirca study also revealed that 78 percent of business leaders surveyed considered printing important to their daily operations, and said it would continue to play a significant role, no matter how nontraditional or high-tech a company might be.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t track their internal printing and related expenses. Therefore, they have no grasp of the true costs involved or the extent of wasted resources.
Correcting the problem
Nonessential and redundant printing produces a lot of waste. Correcting this is largely about deploying the right technology and changing employee habits. Too often, there’s a cavalier attitude toward printers — a perception that office printing is free or close to it. Most employees see printing documents as a convenient activity that’s practically invisible to the organization; they don’t think about the costs and how they can ultimately affect the company’s bottom line.
My experience in this field, however, has taught me a consistent story: The right print strategy can reduce a company’s annual printing costs by 40 percent or more. These results are achieved by reducing overall print volume to business-critical documents, minimizing toner and ink consumption, and improving the design and utilization of a company’s printer fleet.
Taking print operations to the cloud enables even deeper savings: You can eliminate print servers, and IT resources no longer have to create and manage various print queues across the organization. Every IT manager also wants to reduce tedious maintenance tasks to focus on more important things.
For these reasons, the consensus is that offloading internal print operations will increasingly become the norm.