The best tech isn’t necessarily about functionality, although that is a nice perk. It’s more about freeing up your staff to tackle real problems – strategic mission-critical problems – instead of dealing with a million, tiny, irksome little tasks every day.
That’s a pretty good definition of tech progress: automating the stuff that doesn’t matter, so we can focus on the stuff that does.
Case in point: cloud print management . Whereas previously, IT managers had to manually run a print environment – troubleshooting printer errors, juggling drivers, loading paper trays, granting access, helping users connect, running print queues etc. – these days most of that work can be automated and handled through a simple cloud print dashboard ( like this one .)
But cloud printing hasn’t just made your IT manager’s life easier. It’s opened a whole new world of productivity and collaboration. Here are just a few ways to get your team working smarter with cloud printing.
Cloud printing means printing on the go
With the rise of remote and hybrid office work, cloud printing allows users to access, print and share documents like never before. Take something like PaperCut Hive . It lets your staff print natively on Chromebooks, Android, macOS, iOS and Windows devices – from anywhere. All they need is an internet connection. And with PaperCut Hive, your users can be onboarded in minutes so they can start cloud printing from wherever they are.
Users - whether they’re in the office or at home - can easily share and collaborate on documents and print them as needed. This is why the cloud print industry is forecast to hit $4 billion by 2033 - that’s a LOT of organizations making the switch to cloud printing!
Integrating cloud printing
One of the real perks of cloud printing is how it syncs up with your other cloud platforms. There’s no need for a drastic overhaul. With the right setup, you can print documents and files directly from your cloud drive, from any device, and any location.
PaperCut MF even offers a bunch of integrated cloud services , which run on the Google Cloud Platform. Employees can create text-searchable documents, split batches, remove blank pages, or scan files from the MFD to your cloud storage provider.
Making agile and efficient teams
The biggest challenges of the hybrid work model are agility and efficiency. How can we help on-site, and remote employees work collaboratively over the same system, without creating weird redundancies, or seeing documents fall through the cracks?
Again, cloud printing helps here, synching up with your team’s collaboration tools, like Slack . Staff can work on documents collaboratively, wherever they happen to be, removing the need for clunky email threads and duplicate busywork.
Cloud printing reduces the IT workload
You’ll often hear about cloud printing as a cost efficiency measure ( and it is ). But one thing that doesn’t get talked about much is the benefit to your IT department. Ask any IT manager, and they’ll say their two biggest issues are communication and time. Too much to do, not enough time in which to do it, and a lack of understanding from the wider business.
Cloud print management helps improve collaboration and productivity through:
Centralized management. With cloud print management software, like PaperCut, your entire print ecosystem can be run through a single, centralized dashboard. That’s a gamechanger. IT managers can now automate print workflows, handle user credentials, push driver updates and enforce print policies, all from one spot.
Driver management. Speaking of drivers, let’s dive into this one for a second. Because updating print drivers used to be a massive pain for IT teams, especially with multiple printers and computers running in the same office. Now, with cloud print, not only can you deploy driver updates across the whole network, you can run everything through one global print driver .
Server maintenance. Yep, no more behind-the-scenes maintenance of print servers. Cloud print providers usually run their own cloud-based servers, freeing up huge amounts of IT maintenance time. With sysadmins freed up from running their own print servers, your business suddenly has a lot more headspace for mission critical projects and long-term strategic planning.
Simple reporting. Cloud print management also allows simple, robust reporting , so IT managers can quickly summarize and communicate print efficiencies to the wider business. Senior management can then track progress over time, allocating resources more effectively.
Overcoming some challenges
Cloud printing does come with some unique challenges, but over the years, we’ve found plenty of ways to overcome these. Mostly, it involves picking the right cloud print management provider. Get that bit right and everything else becomes easier.
Here are some of the common challenges with cloud printing for business.
Security. If your cloud printing provider isn’t running end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, or secure print release , go somewhere else very quickly. Cloud printing can theoretically be vulnerable to hacks, like any other cloud-based service, but if done correctly, it’s actually a much more secure environment than traditional on-site printing.
Integration. You need your cloud print solution to smoothly integrate with your hardware, but also your other cloud-based services. Luckily, PaperCut comes with a ton of third-party integrations and add-ons . Once your print environment is configured correctly, your team will be able to scan, print, save, collaborate, and upload across all your existing apps.
Connection. Cloud printing requires the cloud, which in turn requires an internet connection. This is the Achilles heel of cloud printing: if your network or internet drops out, your teams won’t be able to collaborate or access your printers. Effectively paralyzing things. You need to make sure your internet connection is up to speed, literally, if you want an efficient and secure cloud print environment.
Adoption. This is an obstacle that most people don’t think about – but probably should. Introducing a new technology, especially if your organization is heavily reliant on private servers and legacy systems, is never easy. If this is your first jump into the cloud, we recommend investing some time and energy into training seminars, to get your team up to speed.
If you’re juggling on-site and remote teams, cloud printing is a great way to improve collaboration and staff efficiency. And it’s actually much less complicated than you might think. Just give our friendly team a call and we can recommend a PaperCut product to suit your business.