Executive Viewpoint 2016 Prediction: ThinPrint – The Software-Defined Enterprise of 2016: Don’t Forget About Printing
2015 didn’t just happen in the cloud. Many very interesting things also happened on the ground, specifically the rise of the software-defined enterprise. As we move into 2016, the re-definition of the enterprise based on software will become even clearer. Those that prefer the more traditional data center will be able to extract significantly more from their existing infrastructure and scale much more easily when new requirements and applications arise.
Networking and storage were the first two areas to be defined by software. These systems became far easier to manage, more effective and scalable. And, let’s not forget to mention, much more cost-effective to operate.
There are quite a few more areas to be addressed before IT is truly transformed and defined by software. I’d like to bring attention to one of the most important, but often forgotten, corporate functions: printing. With a mix of stationary, virtual, mobile and cloud environments now deployed, printing has not kept pace. This makes printing complex, disruptive to the network, time-consuming and difficult to manage.
The potential for software-defined printing is massive considering current enterprise printing challenges. First of all, each printing environment requires many different drivers. Secondly, different printers, devices, operating systems and apps are often incompatible with one another. Then comes the chaos of assigning printers to the appropriate users. This is followed by the complexity of assuring configurations transfer amongst the myriad of desktops, devices and printers used by mobile workers (including those just roaming around the office), and remote staff. As a result, printing becomes unreliable and unsecure. Documents arrive at the wrong printers, get lost in the system, print inaccurately, get delayed due to a lack of bandwidth and, sometimes even in this day and age, printing just doesn’t work at all.
The technologies to overcome these challenges exist. With the proper tools in tow, here is what software-defined printing can accomplish:
- A single interface for all printing needs: Employees can find all available printing options in the same place across mobile, virtual and cloud set-ups. IT admins can manage and process everything related to printing in one spot. This allows them to dynamically map and set permissions and ensure printing is always reliable and available.
- Flexibility for workers to use the tools to best fit their needs: With the right solution, there is seamless compatibility between the widest possible array of printers, devices, operating systems and apps, in addition to any physical, virtual, stationary or mobile platforms.
- More security: Authentication, without the need for expensive hardware, and encryption make printing secure.
- Fewer resources and better cost efficiency: Compression, bandwidth management and centralized processing reduces the resources needed for printing. In combination with an overall simpler print environment, all these factors lead to a significant reduction in print-related costs.
- Support of new, growing and changing scenarios: This includes SaaS, DaaS, PaaS, new mobile devices and beyond. Each requires its own unique, innovative and creative solutions to ensure users have access to secure, reliable and easy-to-use print services wherever and whenever needed.
The result is a simple, efficient and secure enterprise printing design. Print jobs are always delivered to the right printer, at the best quality, at the right time, with a fraction of the work. Admin hours spent on printing issues are decreased up to 60 percent, and help desk calls are reduced by 80 percent.
Enterprises will only truly benefit from the software-defined enterprise when printing is optimized. Printing should not be an afterthought. It is and will continue to be a vital part of businesses’ day-to-day functions. The year 2016 will be the most important for software-defined enterprises yet. Don’t forget your printers.