For many higher education administrators, it seems like just yesterday final grades were submitted. Summer is commonly thought of as the time many go away on vacation, but for the information technology (IT) teams on campus, summer is oftentimes when they upgrade campus computing infrastructure. When the IT staff is working to improve their internal network, one area they shouldn’t overlook is the printing infrastructure.  Yet, it often is.

Printing is one of the largest areas of unnecessary spending yet one of the least tracked. A study conducted by Lexmark found that an average of 17 percent of printed documents were considered waste – pages that users didn’t want.

As institutions look for ways to decrease the cost of printing – they sometimes come up with creative solutions. In 2010, the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s IT department decided to cut printing costs by changing the default font type on the University’s email. Perhaps they thought if someone printed out the email it would use less paper.

Not to discount creative cost-cutting, but colleges and universities that want to build a more effective printing environment should look for a campus-wide printing solution. An analysis from Gartner found that actively managing printing can lead to a reduction of 10 percent to 30 percent in spending on document output.

Universities and colleges will find that in addition to saving money, implementing print management solutions will lead to increased document security and line of sight for printing costs.

Let’s take a closer look at three reasons higher education should include print management solutions across their campuses.

1. For Control Spending

With no print management capabilities in place, printing becomes a free-for-all. With no ability to track costs and unrestricted print privileges, colleges and universities have no way to control students, faculty and staff printing habits. Print management allows the IT department to install a pay-to-print program within the printer network. Schools are then able to integrate this program into current student account services and connect the pay-to-print program with student, faculty and staff identification cards.

Supply management is near impossible without a way to keep an accurate measure of the amount of paper, toner and ink being used. When printers are equipped with management tools, a detailed account of supply usage is kept, as well as a record of print history – making it easy to track usage and corresponding expenses.

(Next page: Reasons to revamp campus printing management 2-3)

2. For an Optimized Print Experience

It can be difficult to know which printer a document will be sent to, especially in computer labs or libraries with multiple printers. This problem is compounded when there are wireless printers that students, faculty and staff can connect to with their personal laptop or tablet. Print management gives users the flexibility to print what they need when and where they need it.

Having all printers on the same network makes it easier for students and faculty to print to the device most convenient to them at that time. A secure print queue holds the documents until they are released by the users at the printing device. This eliminates the frustration of having to find a printer and optimizes daily processes for students, faculty and staff – now given the ability to release their documents at the device and time that is most convenient.

3. For an Added Layer of Security

Because documents are held in a print queue before being released by authorized users, security is increased across campus. Documents left in printer trays represent a risk of interception – either accidental or malicious. What if a professor inadvertently left the answer key for an exam in the output tray of the department’s printer and a student happened to see it? For students, faculty and staff, the ability to release documents when and where they choose significantly reduces the risk of private information left unattended at the printer.

Higher education institutions dedicate resources and capital to a computing and network infrastructure that will save them time and money. By including often overlooked print management techniques and connecting all printers campus-wide, IT departments can improve their document management ecosystem by optimizing the printing process for users, limiting wasted supplies and safeguarding information. When students return this fall, colleges and universities can focus on their mission…educating students, not costs and document security risks.

About the Author:

Sharon B. Varalli is the Senior Industry Marketing Manager for Nuance Document Imaging responsible for developing and executing go-to-market strategies for multiple industries. Prior to working at Nuance, Sharon worked at Xerox Corporation, Rochester General Hospital and Kodak.

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