The business of not printing
OKI’s Smart Managed Documents Solutions is a fresh approach to dealing with paper overheads, gaining print efficiencies and realising actual cost savings, not just promises.
You can fold it, write on it, stack it away and even make a neat little airplane out of it. Paper is arguably the most pervasive technology in the world, used just about everywhere on the planet. It’s certain that when an isolated nook where no paper exists is discovered, those places don’t access any of the other innovations the modern world holds dear – other than pointy sticks and perhaps the wheel.
This massive reliance on paper is not surprising given its many virtues. But it’s also a resource-heavy material and businesses are continually looking for ways to reduce their reliance on paper, if only to realise some cost savings.
It’s proving to be a popular market for many printer companies, which have expanded their offerings to include printing management solutions. But promises don’t always manifest in reality.
“Everyone is talking about managed print solutions,” says Neil Rom, MD of sole OKI importer and distributor Printacom. “A lot of flowery things have been promised, but are rarely delivered. In fact, implementations are often a nightmare and end up adding to the complexity, not reducing it.”
Observing this trend, OKI took a different approach. It contracted a software developer to help create smart software for printing ecosystems, but not designed explicitly from a print vendor’s perspective. Instead, the developers, who are not affiliated with the printing world, focused on addressing the issues from a business approach. This bore fruit in the delivery of a print solution called Sendys that is completely brand-agnostic and embraces a company’s environment on its terms.
“OKI’s software plugs straight into the Active Directory, so all users are exposed. IT administrators can then decide who can print what, where and how, limiting them to specific devices and page counts. It integrates with smart printers so that the printer screen will change to offer specific functions to whoever logged into the device. We support any authentication method, be it from a PC, smart device or even physical access at the printer with biometrics or smart cards.” Companies always have older printers around, so OKI’s software enables a tablet device to be attached to these, immediately making them capable of participating in the smart management system. OKI’s Smart Managed Document Solutions is designed to service the BYOD market, allowing anyone with a vetted smart device to participate. It also includes document capture tools, including the ability to digitise a document through OCR software by taking a photo of a page. Designed to support from five to 50 000 users, the Smart Managed Document Solutions can service small companies through to multinational giants.
But the goal is to reduce printing and to find those efficiencies means more than using good software. OKI’s Smart Consulting services use its industry expertise to identify efficiencies for a client. By doing a detailed analysis of a company’s printing ecosystem, OKI can find efficiencies in terms of paper use, recapitalising older hardware and even where a machine is physically located.
“Being one of the smaller printer brands, OKI is less motivated in selling printers and pushing out pages than its peers, holding a higher moral and ethical standard. It’s not about printing, but bringing our printing expertise and unique software to help customers save money and save on printing.”