Nearly every organization uses printers to some extent, with many leveraging print files for important functions including graphics, advertising, contracts, accounts payable, sales, payrolling, and much more.

Yet, for many, print is an unacceptably large business cost, utilizing anywhere from 1-3% of total revenue, and demanding valuable time from IT and business professionals.

Most organizations have at least 1 printer installed per 5 people, yet 51% don’t actually know where printer resources are going or why.

This is important, because as the cost of printing and maintaining printers continues to rise, it’s increasingly important for organizations to understand and mitigate costs.

Coupled with high costs of purchasing new hardware as old wears out, the high cost of implementing and installing printer management solutions, and the fact that most small businesses don’t and cannot feasibly have a dedicated print team, outsourcing either printing or print management becomes an attractive option.

While these options are certainly not for everyone, it may be cost saving for your organization to outsource.

5 Signs it May be Time to Outsource Print Management

Is your organization ready to invest in outsourced print management?

1) You Can’t Maintain Print Quality and Demand without Further Investment

As your organization scales, you will have increasing print demands. More employees, more sales, more customers, more projects, all mean more print. If you’re struggling to keep up with demand but don’t yet have the budget to replace printers, outsourcing may be a good idea. This is especially true for in-house graphic design teams printing large-scale posters and assets, because these printers can be significantly expensive.

  • Printers cannot meet demand, but there isn’t budget to increase printer capacity
  • New offices require more printers
  • You want to move all printers onto the same network, but existing printers are old or not compatible with each other
  • Print management software is not compatible with existing printers
  • Installing print management software is too costly and time-consuming to handle internally
  • Replacing or upgrading print networks and servers is too costly or would result in too much downtime elsewhere if handled internally
  • Delivering training for new printers and software would not be feasible inside your organization

If your organization can comfortably invest in a print team to handle these upgrades and can comfortably invest in the software and hardware, you may not want to outsource. However, it may still be cost saving to do so over handling everything yourself.

2) Security is Becoming an Issue

Printers are responsible for 11% of cybersecurity breaches for SMBs, but most businesses don’t have the tools to mitigate those risks. Outsourcing to managed print services allows your organization to leverage a full security solution in one go, because it’s delivered as part of your print solution. Depending on your organization, this will include:

  • User access management
  • Automated device management
  • End-point security with firewalls and malware
  • Automated firmware and software updates
  • Automated monitoring to flag suspicious activity
  • Automated rebooting for potentially compromised devices
  • VPN and encryption
  • Training for employees
  • Pull printing
  • Change logs and print backlogs

Managing printer security can greatly reduce total cybersecurity risks, especially in industries like finance and healthcare, where sensitive data is your most important asset.

3) Costs are Too High Internally

Running print as part of IT is extremely expensive. Running older printers can cost more than buying new. And, running inefficient printers often means added costs in terms of supplies, C02 offset, and waste time for employees. While calculations are often quite complex, you can look at costs like:

  • Total time spent on print by IT
  • Total waste time (employees waiting on printers, printers out of service, maintenance time, etc.)
  • Maintenance costs are high, to the point where over 5 years, it would be cheaper to purchase a new printer now.

4) Maintenance is Not Sustainable

Most small businesses can’t afford a dedicated print team. Instead, they dedicate a portion of IT time to print including management, service calls, and maintenance. This can be considerably costly, while detracting IT from contributing to value-added infrastructure and security-related activities. This is important in most organizations, considering Xerox estimates that 43-50% of all IT help-desk calls are print related.

  • IT cannot comfortably handle all incoming calls plus their value-added work
  • Printers are frequently behind on security patches and firmware updates
  • Not all printers have updated security and administration
  • IT cannot remote manage printers
  • Printers frequently run out of ink/toner
  • Maintenance jobs take more than a few hours to complete

Most IT teams simply cannot handle print as an add-on to their work, and when they do, it’s never optimized. Outsourcing to a managed print services vendor means that you are outsourcing to a team that focuses on print, is able to make it their core service, and is therefore able to deliver it at an expert level.

5) No Data Transparency

Most organizations have no idea how much they print, where, when, or why. Outsourcing to managed print services means integrating analytics, user access management, and data collection directly into central management, so that you’re always aware of what you’re printing and why. This added data transparency can help your organization to make cost-saving decisions, to implement better print policies, and reduce costs over the long-term.

Outsourcing Print Management

If your organization is struggling to maintain print in a cost-effective way, managed print services are likely the answer. Managed print services vendors deliver a combination of leased printers, print fleet management, and software for a single price – typically set at cost per page or a flat rate per month – allowing your organization to upgrade your print without an upfront investment.

Most MPS vendors integrate print needs analysis, ongoing cost analysis, print security, and full-service desk support as part of the contract, completely lifting the print burden from internal teams.

Managed print services is expected to reach a global market value of 51 billion by 2023, making it one of the fastest growing IT services. Often, this is for good reason, with most MPS vendors delivering cost-savings, modern technology including automation and workflows, and network and fleet optimization as part of print services.

Organizations benefit by reducing internal costs, cutting total cost of print, and improving the quality of print services delivered – which can benefit both employees and the end-customer.

If you’re considering outsourcing print management in your organization, it’s always a good idea to conduct an internal print needs and print cost analysis as the first step. Most vendors will also provide this for you, sometimes as part of an initial assessment, but it may be a good idea to validate services before investing in them. Once you do, you can more easily decide if it’s time to outsource, or not.