In many ways, today's workplaces are changing rapidly. Consider, for example, the introduction and rise of the bring-your-own-device movement. Whereas employees used to rely almost entirely on company-provided computers and other gadgets to complete their work, today many personnel regularly turn to their personal devices to answer professional emails, access corporate data and more. Another example would be the increasing popularity of flexible work policies – countless employees now regularly operate out of their homes either partially or completely.
At the same time, though, there are numerous ways in which the workplace has remained remarkably consistent throughout the past few years. One noteworthy example: the continued relevance of print. Even as companies in virtually every sector have moved to embrace digital solutions to one degree or another, the fact remains that print is an invaluable, essential resource for just about every organization.
Perhaps the greatest evidence demonstrating the continued importance of printing in the workplace is the growth and success enjoyed by the managed print services sector. Companies in this industry accommodate a wide range of client businesses' printing needs, from meeting requirements for physical documentation to marketing campaigns and beyond. According to a recent InfoTrends study, the global managed print services market surpassed $25 billion in 2014, with revenue reaching $10 billion in North America alone, Biz Tech Magazine reported. By 2018, North American revenue is forecast to grow to $12.3 billion.
In a similar vein, Business Solutions contributor Dan Troup recently emphasized that MPS can have a powerful impact on companies' IT departments. The writer pointed out that IT pros often find themselves spending a significant portion of their time and effort on printing-related issues. Obviously, this includes repairs and maintenance in regard to office printers, as well as scanners and fax machines. Additionally, Troup noted that IT teams must tackle the issue of document security, insuring printouts which contain sensitive information do not fall into unauthorized users' hands. This includes keeping a close eye on documents while they remain on a secure server, ensuring they only make their way to the printer at the appropriate time and under the right, secure conditions.
Troup's main point is that many firms are currently handling their printing responsibilities entirely in-house, and they would benefit from outsourcing these efforts to a third-party vendor. The clear implication, then, is that organizations continue to depend heavily on printing in their workplaces – otherwise, managed printing services would be unnecessary, or even irrelevant, and that is definitively not the case.
Going further, it's important to note that print's role in the workplace is extremely diverse and expansive. There's no single area where firms are reliant on these solutions – print is everywhere. Examples include:
- Standardized forms
- Tech specs
And so on. None of these are limited to a particular industry, either. On the contrary, verticals of all kinds have robust print needs in their workplaces, and that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
Given this state of affairs, it's worth considering how business leaders can go about improving their approach to print within the workplace. There are a few factors to consider here.
First and most obviously, there is the potential option of a managed print services provider. As the above sections highlighted, companies can save their IT departments a great deal of time and energy by employing such services, all while cutting down on security risks.
Beyond this, Business Quarter contributor Michael Alsancak offered a number of recommendations for companies interested in improving their approach to print in the workplace. Notably, the writer emphasized the need for business leaders to establish print policies for all personnel. Without detailed guidelines in place, workers will be liable to make a variety of errors and missteps, such as printing in color unnecessarily, printing excessive pages or using single-sided printing when double-sided would work just as well.
Once these policies have been established, the writer explained, workers will need communication and training to ensure that the policies are understood and actually put into practice.
Considering the importance that printing possesses in today's workplaces, these simple efforts can have a big impact on workforce efficiency and productivity.