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The SysAdmin: five parts tech and one part accountant!

CalculatorHello, my name is Jason and I’m the new member of the PaperCut team . In my previous position I was a Systems Administrator (SysAdmin) at a leading high school. I thought I’d share my story about PaperCut from my last role.

Part of any SysAdmin job is finding technology that fits a business need and in more recent times, a budget! Far gone are the days of unlimited budgets and unaccountability. There is now pressure on SysAdmins to quantify how a new piece of technology is going improve the bottom line.

One of perhaps the most costly areas of a SysAdmins responsibility is printing: hardware, consumables and time! The impact on a organization when a printer breaks down can often be heard office wide! “WHY is this printer out of paper AGAIN?”

Maybe this printer is being utilised by a department that should have their own printer, or maybe we need an extra couple of paper bins so that it only needs to be refilled in the morning, or perhaps someone is even doing printing outside of business hours. We often just don’t know.

Having been both a SysAdmin and as an employee, I understand the frustration on both sides. In my past position I decided to investigate some print management software and see what kind of results I could achieve. So off to Google I went and after a bit of research PaperCut NG was the top candidate. I downloaded the trial and installed it to my test environment. It worked. I threw print jobs at it, I threw weird configurations at it. It just worked and I wanted it installed as soon as possible. I could see the immediate benefit.

I spoke to my manager, praising the features of the software and expecting an easy path to purchase. Unfortunately the budget was tight and it would need to be considered and justified. At this point I realized that the information I had did not quantify how this software would improve our bottom line. I needed to present my case to the budget holders!

I went back to PaperCut and discovered the ROI Calculator (Return on Investment). I started putting in some figures: 2,000 students, 250 staff, $0.05 a mono page, $0.20 per color page, checked with Accounts Department again to see how much paper we were using (about 8 reams a day, 4,000 pages). With all of these figures in, the numbers that came back were staggering. What was even more of a stand out was the time it would take for the purchase of the PaperCut software to pay for it self. It was possible that inside of 3 months we would be ahead.

Armed with more information I arranged another meeting. Using the bar graph, dollar values, and environmental impact, I put forward my more polished case. Everyone was sitting there asking “Do we really use this much paper? Do we really spend this much?”. The questions now weren’t about how much it was going to cost. Instead it had created a catalyst whereby the questions were about “Where else can we streamline ? What other software should we be looking at? Are there other faculties that can benefit?”. PaperCut was was now over the line, it was a now a no-brainer for everyone. The only downside is there was now an expectation that I go repeat the savings in other areas!

I’m now proud to be part of the PaperCut team working with a bit of software that I know from first hand experience has a real positive impact.


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