Managed print savings are often mentioned in terms of cost per page. This phrase doesn’t just include the cost of printing paper, but also involves hardware and maintenance factors, which all contribute to an organisation’s total cost of ownership for print. We look at these three areas of cost per page to see how managed print services help improve the print bottom line.
1. Reducing print volume: Every time an employee prints a document and then leaves it sitting forgotten in the print room, your organisation pays for it. That single page uses not only paper, but power from your print machine, ink and toner. Managed print services control unwieldy printing by allowing you to leverage technology that keeps jobs from printing if an employee fails to swipe an ID card or recalls print jobs if they sit on the server for more than 24 hours. This type of pull, or FollowMe, printing leveraged through managed print can reduce paper usage by up to 30 per cent by letting employees select which jobs they want to collect from which devices after they’ve already sent them to the printer. This cuts down on the instances of employees absent-mindedly printing a document at the downstairs printer, failing to collect it, and then printing it again at an upstairs printer. These managed print insights can also help organisations restrict colour printing or implement two-sided printing.
2. Retiring or upgrading old printing infrastructure: Just like other IT infrastructure in your organisation, keeping copiers and printers past their prime decreases their output while increasing maintenance and power consumption costs. Based on a Datacom customer survey, the average organisation spends about 21 per cent of its print budget on hardware. Part of a managed print audit will include showing an organisation how they can consolidate their print hardware to save on these costs. Often this is done through determining how much and what type of printing (black and white or colour, single-page documents or 50-page reports) each business unit does. In some cases, it’s determined a single location can cut their print hardware by half or replace machines with more efficient new ones and still accommodate the printing needs of the organisation.
3. Cutting maintenance costs: When you have a hodgepodge of different print types and models — as often happens in organisations where print procurement isn’t centralised —, you often have to leverage separate vendors’ technicians to service or repair these machines. With managed print services, you’ll have the same certified technicians available to service all your print machines, regardless of their make and model. This maintenance and repair will be bound by SLAs guiding response times and includes preventative maintenance and automated meter readings. A good managed print services provider also schedules automated delivery of consumables like toner and ink so you don’t order more supplies than you need.
The only way to fully understand how much money your organisation could save with managed print services is by allowing a trusted provider to conduct an onsite assessment of your print set-up. It’s only through understanding how your organisation prints, the number and type of print devices you have and the cost of supporting them that a managed print services provider can develop a cost-savings plan for you.
A recent survey by technology solutions provider CDW reports 84 per cent of employees who use tablets at work say those devices have made them better multi-taskers. These employees have gained, on average, an extra hour of productivity each day.
Yet one of the reasons industry experts believe mobile devices don’t necessarily foretell the end of the enterprise desktop is because using a tablet for work isn’t for everyone. There are certain job roles and functions more suited to enterprise tablet use than others. As you consider how many of each type of computing device to allow in your organisation, take a minute to consider who might truly benefit from using enterprise tablets.
1. On-site technicians: All the information a technician formerly needed to scrawl on a notepad can now be logged online via enterprise tablets. There is an endless array of abilities on-site technicians can leverage with a tablet, with three of the most useful including downloading and viewing service and technical documents, providing a way for customers to sign off on invoices and contracts and having centralised customer data through apps that integrate with your backend systems. On-site technicians can also use enterprise tablets to view the day’s itinerary and on-site visit locations, find the details for service calls and relay information to the central office.
2. Sales: Sales is always one of the first departments mentioned in relation to BYOD because BDMs are frequently on the go. But how exactly can Sales benefit from using enterprise tablets? A survey by ChangeWave research found that 45 per cent of enterprise tablet users use them for customer presentations. Using iPad and Android presentation apps such as cloud-based software SlideRocket, Sales can upload their presentations and run them on their enterprise tablet or in the cloud. Showcasing these slides on enterprise tablets removes the need to have a network internet connection and provides a more portable way to present than taking along a bigger laptop with chargers and other wires. And with SalesForce automation and other CRM apps, your sales team can conveniently access real-time customer data at the client presentation or customer meeting.
3. Marketing: Mobile marketing professionals who frequent tradeshows and industry or customer events can use enterprise tablets to sell their organisation’s services in a more dynamic way. Just like the setup, display and innovation advantages enterprise tablets offer at business presentations, they are a natural fit for events Marketing often supports. Rather than handing out a glossy brochure that might wind up in the trash, marketing can present on the fly with enterprise tablets while standing and conversing with an individual or group. You could also display enterprise tablets using their flexible covers and play corporate videos or slides on loop. And if you have mobile-optimised marketing and sales collateral, you can showcase these items to potential customers on enterprise tablets as well, and use your CRM apps to conveniently capture prospect details on-the-spot.
Whilst these roles and departments might benefit from enterprise tablets more than others, other employees who come in frequent contact with these professionals can also get a productivity boost. Sales support roles, marketing communications teams and customer care centre workers can do their jobs better when the teams they support give quicker responses and can access information easier. Considered this way, enterprise tablets, when prioritised for the right business functions, can be a catalyst for wider organisational productivity and optimised business processes.
Whether it's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), cloud services have become more viable options for the enterprise in recent years. Even when outsourcing management of your infrastructure or software to a cloud services provider, organisations still retain the responsibility of ensuring these services remain compliant. If a cloud services provider stuffs up, it's most often the responsibility of the organisation if customer data is compromised or the provider breaches Australian data sovereignty laws. Following these points can safeguard your organisation as a whole from cloud services compliance violations.
1. Demand full disclosure of all data centre locations and how data is stored. To remain compliant to your local and industry data regulations, you need to know what type of data is going into the cloud and where exactly it’s being stored. The onus falls on your organisation, not the cloud services provider, to know what data and server restrictions apply. Is your data being kept down the road, across the country or on another continent? Even if your cloud services provider offers local data centres, you might decide certain confidential data remains on your internal network. In addition to checking data centre locations, review whether your cloud services provider can host your environment across multiple, geographically disparate locations to boost availability of data, provide failover capabilities and transfer workloads cross-country. If your industry is highly regulated and you need strict data privacy and sovereignly requirements, seek applicable industry associations and consultants to guide IT through the cloud services adoption process.
2. Ensure you can get your data back if you need to. There might come a time when you are legally required to obtain access to data stored in the cloud — for instance, in a court case. To ensure you can produce this data, you should build an incident response plan into your contract with your cloud services provider. This should include a clause indicating how quickly you can retrieve the data and exactly what data you can retrieve.
3. Validate a cloud service provider's security monitoring claims. Are the same people who are managing your cloud infrastructure, if in an IaaS setup, also monitoring for security? Or is there a third-party security team for which the cloud services provider contracts out? Request and review security certifications in detail and contact the certification company to verify certificates are current. If the data is particularly sensitive, negotiate for audits conducted by your IT team and independently-chosen third parties. Red line the SLA to include an opt-out in the event the cloud services provider's security certifications lapse or are proven false.
4. Check their network security standards: The human element of securing the cloud is just one piece of the overall approach to protecting your data. Make sure the technical security aspects are up to snuff as well. Ask your cloud services provider if your data will be kept separate from other organisations’ data. Also ask if your network connection for your cloud services will be configured via secure VPN or private WAN connections to prevent external parties from accessing your data. Will your provider configure your firewall or will you? What type of anti-virus and virtual machine protection is there?
As cloud services become dominant and the industry matures, these compliance considerations will be concerns of the past. Until then, make these concerns top priorities when you speak to prospective cloud services providers to stay complaint with laws and industry expectations.
Juniper Research estimates the number of smart phones used for business will exceed 350 million by 2014, and Gartner estimates downloads from app stores will likely surpass 70 billion annually by the same year. Here's what to keep in mind as you plan to expand or incorporate BYOD and other mobility solutions into your enterprise.
Microsoft Surface could change the face of BYOD: Whilst most organisations have accepted iPhones and iPads, whether company-issued or used through a BYOD scenario, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows 8 have made some traction as enterprise mobility solutions. In fact, Gartner believes Windows 8 will become the third most-used OS on mobile devices — behind Apple and Android — by 2015. Specifically, Microsoft Surface Pro is expected to boost the use of the Windows 8 OS and its accompanying apps and also might change the nature of BYOD. The device is portable like a tablet yet carries some of the functionality of an Ultrabook, which has some mobility analysts predicting employees will ditch multiple devices and rely on Surface as their BYOD of choice. This development could make BYOD management easier for your organisation by cutting down the number of devices IT needs to support. It also cuts the confusion stemming from one employee using multiple devices for BYOD.
Enterprise mobile app stores will become commonplace: By 2017, Gartner predicts 25 per cent of organisations will create private mobile app stores so employees can download approved business and consumer mobile apps. The firm lists enterprise app stores as a strategic technology trend for 2013, citing a major benefit as the fact that IT can actually control which apps employees have access to as opposed to public apps stores from which employees can download whatever they want. These enterprise app stores will eliminate the time it takes for IT to produce documentation and training. And, most importantly, private app stores prevent employees from installing software with security vulnerabilities, because all mobile apps available through the app stores are approved by the business first.
While there are many advantages to employee-facing apps, they will require more testing by app developers to guarantee they offer high-level usability. Apps must also be usable across multiple platforms to account for different device types, especially for BYOD. Make sure to ask mobile apps developers, whether they are internal or outsourced IT staff, how they plan to ensure app functionality and integration into your organisation.
Surface Pro and enterprise app stores are disruptive mobility solutions that might not work for every organisation. The best way to determine if you should incorporate them into your business is by looking at your mobility strategy in a holistic way. This approach will help you align specific mobility solutions with business needs so you can continue to drive value and increase productivity.
Professionals, a real estate sales and property management organisation, has more than 400 branches in Australia, including 70 in Western Australia that print more than 20,000 colour documents each month. With no over-arching print management guidelines in place for these WA offices, each location was procuring its own print hardware at will and spending more than necessary on per-copy print costs, as well as experiencing print hardware downtime and poor customer service from their current print providers.
Professionals initially engaged the Datacom WA managed print services team to conduct an assessment of the Professionals WA State Service Centre in Mount Lawley, which services the individual state offices in WA, to see how to reduce costs and downtime while streamlining print operations. The managed print services team analysed Professional’s print volumes, document workflow and the print hardware and began outlining a plan to optimise their print environment.
The Datacom managed print services team offered a holistic and vendor-neutral approach to solve Professionals' print issues.
Datacom WA put together an end-to-end managed print services package to right-size Professionals' printing fleet. The solution includes procuring print devices by a range of print vendors, ensuring they are being used to their best capacity — not over- or under-printing —, responding to maintenance and repair issues and eventually retiring the print hardware. And all of these managed print services are delivered under one monthly contract with a single, local contact point.
By leveraging Datacom's managed print services, Professionals has seen business benefits such as:
- 30 per cent reduction in per-copy costs, as print volumes are now matched to the most efficient print devices and to each department’s individual printing and copying needs, reducing colour printing, consolidating print hardware and optimising toner cartridge use
- Reduced downtime thanks to rapid onsite servicing and automated replacement of print components such as toner through our automated dispatch capabilities
- Lowered energy consumption by using more energy-efficient devices, cutting paper usage and reducing the number of documents printed that are never collected from the machine
- Discounted procurement of multi-function hardware due to reduced costs Datacom obtains through its vendor relationships
Datacom is now Professionals' preferred managed print services partner, with the real estate organisation engaging the WA team for MPS roll-outs to other state offices and exploring additional managed services such as cloud. Professionals is pleased they’ve received a holistic service that aligns with business needs, says CEO of Professionals WA and national board member David Hobbs.
“Datacom’s consultative approach is based on providing solutions rather than reactive services,” says Hobbs. “That also means they’re able to accurately forecast costs upfront, which has clear business planning beneﬁts.”
The demand for employees to produce more by collaborating more remains a top priority for organisations of all sizes. Some take strict measures to foster in-person collaboration, such as Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer putting an end to permanent telecommuting. Others that don’t find in-person collaboration necessary — or that believe flexibility and mobility help foster collaboration — have attempted to use technology to provide a platform for collaboration. As you have a buffet of options when it comes to collaboration tools, ask yourself these three critical questions to ensure you choose the right ones for your business needs.
1. Do we want users to use collaboration tools relevant to their needs, or do we want a single solution to try and cater for everything? The truth is, many organisations believe an abundance of collaboration tools are currently available, namely online meeting software, phones, email, document management software and spread sheets for project-tracking. This is fine if you want to allow individual employees or departments to pick and choose the collaboration tools that work for them. However, these individual collaboration tools won't provide one central location for employees to work together and in an automatic sequence. Organisations that want a streamlined approach to collaboration will need a technology integrator to source and tie together these tools to enable employees to work in a seamless, integrated way.
2. Does the solution match the way your employees want to collaborate? The last thing you want to do is purchase collaboration tools that your employees will never use. Ask yourself how the workforce will respond to using new collaboration tools. They should be involved in sharing and developing ideas from their own experience and methods of collaborating. You might even want to set up a pilot-testing committee to trial a range of collaboration tools. The key will be the ability to demonstrate how exactly these tools will drive efficiency and increased productivity compared with the old way of doing business. When you get majority buy-in, these individuals can then serve as evangelists who help indoctrinate the rest of your organisation to these tools.
3. Does the solution offer flexibility and scalability? Because workflow, routing and approval are central to many collaboration tools, the ability to modify these processes is essential. Some systems require extensive back-end work to accommodate even the smallest changes — and often burden your IT staff with the task of making them. As your organisation expands, can new employees be added to the solution with ease? In the event a key employee leaves the organisation, how easily can you replace or bypass this contributor in the system?
Collaboration tools can help your organisation boost productivity and response times, but only if you choose the ones that align with both your business and end-user needs.
Every organisation seems to have mobile apps these days, from your health insurance provider, to your superannuation fund to your favourite retail outfit — which makes the idea of developing one for your own organisation sound pretty easy. The truth is, getting productivity-boosting, user-friendly, secure mobile apps is not guaranteed unless you outline the right requirements for your developer. These tips will help you get mobile apps that keep your workforce churning out the business results instead of calling up the help desk for support.
1. Can you develop with reusable code?
If you can’t decide on one platform for your mobile apps, having them developed with reusable code allows them to work across devices, whether they be iPhone or Android. This option isn’t for every organisation — reusable code can be more expensive —, but if you have a lot of platforms to support, it will likely cost you less in the long-run than it would to develop different mobile apps for different platforms.
2. Can you enable data integration?
Data integration supplies organisations with a unified view of all data across devices and sources. The ability for different business units to view information from other units, such as customer data sitting in the marketing and sales departments, especially when on the go, can help boost the speed of decision-making and business processes. Mobile apps that can be easily integrated with other data sources will continue to show their ROI.
3. How do you secure mobile apps?
Security of mobile apps and devices falls into the realm of your organisation’s IT department, but you’ll have an easier time preventing data loss if your mobile apps are secure to begin with. Areas to cover with your developer include whether passwords are saved, how the mobile apps store data and whether that corporate information is kept in a container away from personal data.
4. Can you help me integrate mobile apps into my organisation?
Integrating mobile apps into your enterprise is not as easy as it seems. You must take into account response times, bandwidth and security. A good developer can provide device integration, connectivity and field service support so your mobile app goes from being a piece of inactive software to an orgnanisation-wide productivity powerhouse. Give them bonus points if they can integrate your mobile app with your back-end systems and software.
5. Where’s the value-add?
What happens after your mobile app’s developed? Can your developer support other mobility functions, such as helping you select and manage a mobile device management or mobile application management tool to secure software and devices?
6. How will you ensure my app is user-friendly?
It might sound like a no-brainer, but we've seen many organisations go through the process of developing a mobile app internally only to receive grumbles of usability issues from end users. The concept of an app and its actual functionality are two different things. A good mobile app developer will address concerns such as the ideal screen resolution for your app and features that might detract from your app's performance.
7. Will you provide lifecycle support and roadmap planning for my mobile app?
Your mobile app is a living, breathing thing that will need to be modernised, maintained, secured and eventually retired. You'll also want to identify the key business drivers you want your app to align with and the metrics for measuring its performance. An experienced mobile app developer will be able to offer these services in addition to designing and provisioning your app.
IDC just announced that global PC sales are down for the second year in a row, with enterprise desktop sales in particular to get hit especially hard — by 4.2 per cent — compared to the overall 1.3 per cent PC slump. These statistics buoy the anti-enterprise desktop brigade, which is rallying for tablets and mobile devices to replace the workplace PC. But mobility is only part of the poor PC purchases picture, and it’s not even for the reason many people assume. Here are some of the factors contributing to the drop in enterprise desktop sales — and why the trend likely doesn't signal the end of the PC.
Waiting for the new OS upgrade
We're a year away from the end of support for Windows XP, yet it’s still too early for many organisations to procure new PC hardware to accompany a refresh, which is likely why IDC has said it expects enterprise desktop sales to begin bouncing back in the second half of 2013. Whilst this might be the case for upgrades to Windows 7, Datacom has found that some organisations already using that OS are waiting to see if Windows 8 adoption increases amongst enterprises. If it doesn’t, these organisations might skip Windows 8 altogether and hold on to Windows 7 or wait for the next OS, reported to be called Windows Blue and due for release mid-year. These scenarios will all contribute to whether the IDC’s prediction of resumed positive PC growth for 2014 to 2017 will in fact come true.
Mobility first — but not in place of enterprise desktops
IDC has reported that mobility is factoring into declining PC sales, but it’s more because organisations are choosing to buy enterprise mobile devices before, not in place of, new enterprise desktops. Instead of taking a side in enterprise desktop vs. mobile, organisations are attempting to have a well-rounded device profile that incorporates PCs, tablets and phones. It makes sense then that they’d hold onto their current enterprise desktops until an OS upgrade forces them to refresh, choosing instead to stockpile less costly enterprise mobile devices to be used for optimised capabilities such as answering emails and video and audio conferencing. A separate IDC report shows organisations are still favouring enterprise desktops, particularly laptop PCs, to both create and consume content.
Enduring PC processing speeds
A recent PCWorld column posits that desktop sales are declining because CPU performance has reached a point where it is fast enough for average users to be able to use their PCs for twice as long as the old three-year refresh standard suggests. This has to do with both the evolution of processing speeds and more resource-intensive processes or applications shifting from being desktop-based to being delivered through cloud computing. Organisations where the bulk of PC users rely on their enterprise desktops for email or business applications — and even some of these might be cloud-based or accessed mostly from mobile devices — won’t require as regular upgrades to PCs with faster CPU performance. Their enterprise desktops will continue to perform better for longer.
Are you planning an enterprise desktop refresh in the coming year, or are your prioritising the procurement of mobile devices over PCs for your organisation?
Hacking and cyber attack strategies have become increasingly sophisticated due to more cutting-edge approaches to seizing critical data. As a consequence, it has become nearly impossible for companies to spend enough money to properly protect themselves from all cyber attacks.
For instance, NASA spends approximately $58 million for IT security, yet in 2010 and 2011, it reported 5,408 computer security incidents that resulted in the installation of malicious software on or unauthorised access to its systems. In FY2011, NASA was the victim of 47 APT cyber attacks, 13 of which successfully compromised Agency computers. In one of the successful attacks, hacking intruders stole user credentials for more than 150 NASA employees — credentials that could have been used to gain unauthorised access to NASA systems.
It's clear that throwing money at the problem of enterprise security doesn't necessarily better protect an organisation from hacking and cyber attacks. What can help is an independent enterprise security evaluation that detects an organisation's cyber attack vulnerabilities and suggests tailored enterprise security tools, not big-box solutions. Steps in such an evaluation may include the three discussed below:
1. Initial Enterprise Security Posture Snapshot: Enterprise security posture snapshots analyse a company’s cultural, technical and strategic security issues, making it simpler to identify its specific needs and outline an appropriate enterprise security roadmap. The posture also includes an assessment of the organisation’s IT systems in terms of data availability, confidentiality and integrity. Lacking this enterprise security self-awareness has its consequences.
In 2011, website hosting company Distribute.IT’s systems fell victim to hacking, sending 4,800 domains offline and wiping all of the provider’s backup resources. Many of these domains belonged to small retailers, plenty of whom had never assessed their own enterprise security postures and had no foresight as to what could happen should their web hosting service go down completely.
2. Red- and Blue-Teaming Exercises: In a Red Team, a simulated, external cyber attacks are performed on the client's systems without prior knowledge of IT administrators. The hacking is done safely, securely and in a controlled manner; its main purpose is to identify how easily the client’s systems can be penetrated. The Blue Team event then looks at cyber attack vulnerabilities from the inside-out, identifying deployed technologies and assessing against known hacking threats. From here, businesses can implement defences that block real hacking and cyber attacks and seal up any points of weakness.
3. Remediation Exercises: During this phase, enterprise security providers will propose tailored services that address a company’s specific security requirements and cyber attack and hacking vulnerabilities. Because hacking continually occurs via new entry points to breach data systems — from mobile devices to credit card machines —, a singular solution is not enough. While it is tempting to take the advice of well-known providers at face value, branded products don’t always equate to comprehensive protection from cyber attacks and hacking. In the world of enterprise security, relying on a custom mix of tools creates a stronger, safer foundation for guarding against hacking and cyber attacks.
In the evolving world of cyber attacks, hacking and advanced persistent threats, the smartest organisations not only understand what threats exist, but also have keen perceptions of their own IT systems and the improvements they need to prevent enterprise security disasters. These organisations understand threats continue to evolve and that enterprise security simply cannot be a set and forget activity. Keeping up with ever-evolving cyber attack and hacking threats is something almost impossible for an organisation to resource internally, as its people are unlikely to be exposed sufficiently to the changing threat landscape. Expert, independent, external advice is a practical and cost-effective mechanism for gaining valuable insight into your organisation’s cyber attack vulnerability.
With 45,000 residents, the City of South Perth local council responds to over 100,000 customer requests annually. In 2012, the local council determined its current CRM setup wasn’t facilitating fast enough response times to customer requests or giving citizens enough options for finding answers to their enquiries. As they already had a relationship with Datacom, the local council sought their help in identifying a technology solution that could offer better customer service through multiple modes of communication and self-help tools without increasing staff costs.
Datacom WA began working to procure a multi-channel CRM platform that allowed customers to get in touch with the local council how, where and when they needed. The solution also needed to integrate into the local council’s backend systems so customer service representatives could easily pull up customer data.
Datacom soon identified the KANA Lagan CRM platform, by U.S.-based customer service solutions provider KANA, as the best fit for the local council’s needs because of the solution’s global use by local, state and federal government bodies. The KANA Lagan CRM platform is different from private sector CRM solutions, streamlining the often slow process flow across government departments and databases and integrating with the government systems to improve progress tracking of customer requests and concerns.
The Datacom team was charged with handling the complete project design and delivery, beginning with procuring the right KANA CRM components for City of South Perth, which included KANA Lagan Agent Desktop, Lagan Knowledge Management and Lagan Web Self Service. Datacom then conﬁgured, tested and implemented the KANA CRM platform across the local council, including integration into the backend systems. Datacom also led the change management and training process for the local council’s 200 customer service staff.
The local council went live with the KANA Lagan CRM solution in August 2012 and in just six months has seen a decrease in call volume and an increase in problem resolution times — all without increasing the number of resources or overall costs.
By empowering citizens to quickly answer simple enquires themselves and find information through web and self-hep tools available 24/7, City of South Perth contact staff are now free to focus on and improve response times for more advanced customer issues. Customer service representatives now have a single view of each customer through the KANA CRM solution that is integrated into the local council’s backend systems, which improves workflows and allows staff to handle enquiries though phone, email or chat. Customers also can now track their own requests through emails informing them of their progress and resolution. Through the KANA CRM platform, City of South Perth has also gained access to improved performance reporting and monitoring through KANA Lagan CRM’s business intelligence features — information that can help the local council improve service, policies and program outcomes.
The local council was pleased with the way the KANA solution was delivered, from procurement to implementation to training, says Michael Kent, Director Finance & Information Services, City of South Perth.
“The self-service options for residents and the streamlining of service requests delivered by Datacom’s best-practice solution have resulted in signiﬁcant labour and cost savings, which we can channel to other valuable resident services.” Kent says. “A truly integrated CRM solution such as this has been talked about in local government for years yet has never been achieved before now. We are proud to demonstrate best practice for customer service in local government across WA.”