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Output Management Overview
Whether it be manufacturing, government, logistics, health care, telecommunications, energy and waste, services, every organisation requires documents, both physical and electronic, delivered on time and reliably. Investment in Output Management is fundamental to most organisations and the control of costs in the Output Management should interest any IT and Finance Director.
Output Management also covers the management of printer spooling systems, which particularly for larger organisations with many printing devices coupled with email, fax and archive, several different applications (e.g. Office and SAP), and maybe also several different operation systems, can be extremely expensive to maintain.
A commercial Output Management System (OMS) can assist greatly in reducing the chaos that can otherwise occur in such IT environments and ensure the cost of maintaining document output is kept under control. Implementing a central spooling system, which manages all the printing and output for all your applications across all platforms, ensures one point of responsibility and one central cost centre for the support of all your output requirements.
Enterprise Output Management in the 21st Century
There is no lack of Output Management systems to choose from - but not all address today's output management requirements. In particular:
- Security and Compliance
- Mobility and Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI)
- Cost Control and Reduction
- Reducing CO² footprint - investing in eco-friendly technology
Security and Compliance - It's the law!
Documents containing sensitive information cannot simply be output to any printer and then picked up when convenient. But if an central application can only reach networked printers and is in direct contact with those devices, the only possible way to ensure security is to put a printer on anyone's desk who might potentially print a document that might require secure handling.
Legal regulations covering such fields as government, military and/or health require that a document that might contain sensitive information is handled in a secure mannner. Company data, such as payroll, prototype designs, marketing analysis, internal reports, all need to be handled with care and protected from leaking into the wrong hands. Personal data, such as medical reports, patient records, customer details, are all protected under most Data Protection regulations. This can represent a large volume of daily printed output. Ideally an Output Management solution should provide a secure-print release mechanim from low-grade security access (swipe-card) to high security with user security card and PIN identification.
Mobility and Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI)
In large organisations, many company employees operate across multiple sites, either in their management capacity or when working on company wide projects. In addition, more and more employees and/or external workers, have no fixed working place, but operate via virtual desktops. Reducing costs by utilising mobile work places raise new challenges - how do these employees print? Do they have to know the printer-IDs of all possible devices across the whole company infrastructure to be able to print? Or does the Output Management solution provide a "follow-me" function that allows the users to pick up their printed documents at any device, regardless of where they are, without having to know the printer name or ID?
The response is likely to be, that such users often print (multiple copies) of useful documents and reports before they leave for a meeting with colleagues at some other site, just-in-case they might need them. Either they, or the users they distribute the documents to, will throw away a large percentage of what was printed.
Cost Control and Cost Reduction
Gartner reports, that on average, one in ten documents that are printed are never collected at the output device. Firstly, many centralised applications create printed output whether the user wants or needs it, or not. If there is any possibility that the user might need a print-out, it has to be created every time. Secondly, users sometime print "in case" they need it, but then either get distracted and forget to pickup the printer (it wasn't so important after all), or get to the device too late and someone has already binned their output or inadvertently taken it with them. An Output Management system that collects a users print jobs and then lets the user print when, where and if they require a document, deleting unwanted print jobs, will provide significant cost reductions. You need an Output Management system that provides "just-in-time" instead of "just-in-case"
In addition, if the response to secure printing in the past was to put a printer on every users' desktop that might create documents containing sensitive information, a modern Output Management system with a secure print function is going to result in immediate hardware savings.
Investment in Green Technology
Applications that output directly to networked printers in the event that the user might require a printed output, documents that are never picked up or are removed before they can be picked up and have to be printed again, too many printing devices requiring power, cooling, toner and consumables - an investment in a suitable Output Management system can have a very positive effect on a company's ecological footprint. Many companies can release funds to support investment that improves their CO² footprint as this reflects on the company's overall image in it's market and improves it's chances of winning further business. As such, an investment in the right type of modern Output Management system is a good business investment.
Output Management for Secure and Mobile documents
Take Control of your Output
Cross platform printing technologies
Printing may sound unattractive, but all your business processes probably depend on the creation of documents - printed or otherwise. Applications, such as SAP, Oracle, Navision, Sage, Word - all output documents to a spooling system - or Output Management System. Why?
Your organisation probably has something like 1 printer device for every 5 employees, on average. Your employees need to print at will to any of those devices. What manages this data flow? The Output Management System. If you have a bad system or systems, they are probably costing you money in real terms!
The ideal solution is one universal Output Management System for all your output needs, regardless of how many applications, servers, or operating systems. A good Output Management System will provide a cross platform solution and unified user interface.
EMail, Fax, Archive
In the internet age, document output is not only printing. EMail and Fax communication provide alternatives that reduce your consumable costs and speed delivery of important business communications. An archive copy, created automatically as an image of the original document, is essential.
Your Output Management and document workflow systems need to integrate these facilities fully into your business processes.
OM Plus Delivery Manager - core Output Management
The schematic diagram above shows how the OM Plus Delivery Manager solution from Plus Technologies addresses one of the core Output Management requirements - central management of document delivery, regardless of where those document originate. The OM Plus Delivery Management module acts as a spooling system for ALL your applications and ALL your operating systems, centralising management of any document input and output to one single, scalable system, which is also SAP certified.
Apart from standard features such as automatic fail-over for output devices that break down, load balancing that will automatically distribute output to the next free printer in a group, and priortising of jobs so that batch runs are automatically held until outside of main business hours, the system is also extendable and allows your unique Output Management requirements to be catered for in the solution.
OM Plus My-Print-Delivery™ is a fully featured "print release/follow-me" output solution which reduces costs on the one hand by avoiding lost or unwanted print output and increasing data security and privacy on the other hand by ensuring that printed output is delivered directly into the hands of authorised personnel.
My-Print-Delivery™ also improves flexibility in your organisation's Output Management - if you have staff that are often travelling between mulitple locations, e.g. project managers, wouldn't it be great if they could create and output documents ready for meetings in advance from their applications, but print them at the location of the meeting when they arrive there! If your key staff have company mobile phones then you can add this flexibility to your organisations' Output Management processes.
Cloud printing with OM Plus i-Sat
OM Plus i-Sat is a extension for OM Plus Delivery Manager that provides printing via the Cloud (Internet) for remote offices and users without the need for VPN connections. The remote computer only requires an internet connection and a small i-Sat component that checks regularly for user print jobs on the OM Plus server at some central location. This extends the core Output Management solution to cover small remote offices, home-workers, affiliated organisations that are not an integral part of your company's network and integrates such offices into the overall Output Management facility and control.
Having invested in a centralised Output Management system the OM Plus Stats Manager take the information from the central log files, stores this to a database and provides sophisticated analysis of this data. Stats Manager can tell you exactly what has been printed where, so that you can see where your output costs are coming from and allocate those costs to the appropriate department in your organisation. There's nothing better for controlling printing costs, than giving your departments responsibility for their output and consumption.
Imagine too, you have invested in a sophisticated multi-functional colour device that many users have access to. If you could prove that a high percentage of costs at that device were print-outs your staff were making for their private use - that is, not all output was business related - you can drastically reduce this wastage and overhead, simply by getting your staff to use a lower quality, lower cost device for such output, or contribute to the costs of the expensive device. This too, comes down to Output Management!
A basic cost in any business are output devices and their consumables. Fundamentally, you need to ensure you have enough toner and other consumables available at the right place in your organisation so that printing devices are not off-line for hours or even days because you just didn't order supplies in time. On top of that, you could be monitoring the costs of different devices so that you can swap out expensive equipment and replace it with better value, reliable equipment where possible.
clSysTech markets and supports Plus Technologies' OM Plus Fleet Management solution to cover these requirements. Regardless of which Output Management solution you are using (it does not require OM Plus Delivery Manager), a Fleet Management solution allows you to ensure consumables are order on time and keeps a track of where you are spending your money on those consumables.