By Henning Volkmer, ThinPrint Inc
When developing the best course of action for companies to navigate the waters of digital transformation, printing is not the first thing that typically comes to mind. However, with regulations such as GDPR and the many privacy-related incidents that continue to dominate the headlines, it’s not in the best interest of all parties involved not to take a second look. In fact, printing is not only the most ergonomic and easy-to-use extension of our digital interfaces, but also a fantastic revenue-generating business opportunity.
Whether you’re are considering integrating “secure release” and “follow me” printing; enabling mobile devices to securely connect to the existing print infrastructure; managing via the existing MDM/EMM solution; or implementing a completely serverless print infrastructure with direct IP printing managed from the cloud, ensuring that existing, reliable, and productive workflows meet today’s requirements and integrate with tomorrow’s systems is a tremendous opportunity for the channel.
Let’s take a quick look at these areas and the opportunity for channel partners.
Secure Release And Follow-Printing
Customer Challenge: Securing documents, avoiding orphaned print outs, and increasing user flexibility/convenience.
Solution: A pull printing solution that delivers secure, cost saving, and flexible printing to shared corporate printers. The ideal solution includes self-registration and works with any printer. Centralized, encrypted storage of print jobs that enables users to pick up there documents at any enabled printer in the environment using a badge, PIN or smartphone.
Channel Opportunity: The printer channel expands into security, enabling general channel partners to expand security offerings.
Sales Strategy: Start with the security angle. People often don’t realize how important printing is to them, but they do know that security needs to be a focus.
Customer Challenge: Moving mobile devices beyond email and security. Enabling users to be productive without abandoning proven workflows. Addressing security requirements not supported by AirPrint or Google Print that are open to any user with a mobile device on the same network as the printer.
Solution: A secure, centrally managed solution to provide Apple AirPrint or Android Print capabilities as part of the operating systems native print dialog to any application running on the user’s iOS or Android device. Eliminating the need to expose every printer to all users on the same network, integrating with existing EMM/MDM solutions for added convenience and security, and letting users be as productive on their mobile devices as they would be on a traditional computer is key.
Channel Opportunity: The printer channel expands into mobility, one of the most sought after topics. General IT channel expands from a predominately security-focused conversation to a productivity discussion, where ROI and value for money are much easier to showcase.
Sales Strategy: Have a productivity conversation with your customers. Find out where they see limits in the current mobility implementation. Point out the ease of use of printed document and their value for proven workflows. Highlight the enterprise grade security from integration with Active Directory and integration with existing Enterprise Mobility Management solutions.
Serverless Print Infrastructure Managed From The Cloud
Customer Challenge: Aging print server infrastructure is costly to update and replace and a company structure that includes branch offices/remote locations makes further centralization of print infrastructure to reduce the number of print servers not always feasible.
Solution: A cloud print solution combines the ease and flexibility of a cloud based management solution with the on-premises speed and security of direct IP printing where no print data ever leaves the local network.
Channel Opportunity: The print channel expands into cloud solutions, also one of the most thought after topics. This is a stepping-stone for future up-sell to full cloud printing. Traditional IT channel can show cost savings by eliminating infrastructure and related costs for maintenance, power, etc. but offers a replacement solution that provides a continuous revenue stream and the ability to provide more managed services.
Sales Strategy: Determine which customers are ready for an environment refresh, especially around print servers as Windows Server 2008 moves towards end of life. Outline the benefits of conveniently managing printing from the cloud while keeping processing and printing private, behind the company firewall.
Replacing VPNs To Remote Sites
Customer challenge: EMRs, ERPs, CRMs and other backend systems often need to distribute reports, schedules etc. to remote or affiliated sites that are not part of the organizations network (e.g. doctors offices or manufacturing partners). Conventionally expensive, complicated VPNs are the only way to connect these sites and systems.
Solution: Connecting remote sites with a print solution without the need for VPNs, firewall rules or complex setup.
Channel Opportunity: The print channel expands into security solutions, offering cost savings, simplification and better performance than traditional solutions from security vendors. Print infrastructure should not rely on generic network connectivity, but use the most cost effective, secure technology available to ensure applications can supply the documents needed for remote sites and affiliates to operate at maximum efficiency.
Sales Strategy: Ideal customer segments are healthcare, finance, retail and manufacturing with branches. Affiliates or contractors providing key pieces of the overall offering. Inquire about costs to deliver documents to the off-network sites, reliability and ease of use and offer a cost effective, easy to use replacement towards the end of life or service renewal of the current solution.
These are just a few of the most popular opportunities around printing. On an individual basis we may not always experience first hand the critical role that cost efficient, secure and easy to use printing plays for most organizations. However, people will still need a connection between their digital and their physical, analog world. Printing is that connection. A printed document is the easiest to use, universally understood human interface extension of our digital, high-tech world.
About The Author
Henning Volkmer is president and CEO of ThinPrint Inc., where he is responsible for driving the execution of ThinPrint’s strategy as the leading provider of print management software and services.