If you want the best, most cost-effective results, your printer upgrade should do more than simply replace the one you have with the latest model. Whether you’re upgrading one printer or an entire fleet, today’s technology offers amazing functionality that you may find helps you realize savings and a strong return on your investment (ROI).
How can you do this?
Well, you can:
With printer technology today, you can do that and more as you drive productivity and support collaboration with your teams wherever they work.
Realizing these benefits and savings involves four key elements. Follow them and you’ll have a clear picture of –
With a successful printer upgrade, you can build business agility and give yourself a competitive edge. All you need to do is follow these four key elements.
It can be tempting to see what technology can do and then build your goals for the upgrade around it. We recommend the opposite. Identify the areas of your business where automation would make the biggest impact and support growth.
Then, for each area you identify, build S.M.A.R.T. goals. (As a refresher, S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.) By establishing well-defined goals before you begin talking with potential vendors, you’ll control the conversation, increase the speed of the process by finding relevant solutions faster, and – perhaps most importantly – position yourself to find solutions that will deliver even bigger returns.
Here are some good areas to begin your evaluation and goal creation:
Remote access and productivity
Any obstacle that slows or stops the flow of information negatively impacts productivity. Remote access, for example, can be a big one. Remote workers, mobile employees, and travel can restrict access to documents and data. Workflows can also suffer when key movers are out of the office. If this issue sounds familiar, you’ll understand why a vendor who can help with automated workflows and even cloud document management will offer the best value.
Another productivity challenge can be printer access. Devices need to deliver functionality to meet every user’s needs and handle the print and scan volume. This can mean specific printer features such as booklet printing, scanning capabilities, mobile print support, secured print release, and more.
Security & Compliance Requirements
Are you in an industry with strict compliance requirements like HIPAA, PCI, or any of the numerous financial or legal regulations? If yes, then compliance may be a top requirement that defines your upgrade needs.
Yet, even if you don’t have compliance regulations, data and document security are still likely a high priority – especially in today’s highly connected digital workplace with so many remote workers.
But for all the security you need, your data must remain accessible. Employees must be able to find, retrieve, and share appropriate data and documents with relative ease. Standardized authentication codes, access keys, and remote password protection provide some of the most flexible and secured access.
Defining your compliance, security, and access needs early will help you with your product evaluation.
Perhaps one of the most difficult areas to set goals around is workflow automation. You may see manual, redundant tasks that, if eliminated, would free employees to engage in more productive, rewarding activities, but aren’t sure if solutions exist to help.
The best approach to address these potential areas for improvement is to prioritize tasks you’d like to automate. These questions can help you get started:
Future Goals and Needs
The upgrade you do today needs to continue to meet your organization’s needs for years to come. It helps to know business plans and goals for the future. Here are some questions you might find can also help focus your goal setting on the subject:
What will happen tomorrow may not be carved in stone, but by having an idea, you can identify how much scalability and flexibility you need in your technology to always stay current.
No matter how advanced and intelligent a device and its features are, you only benefit when your people use them. This makes stakeholder buy-in essential to a successful upgrade. It also means stakeholders must understand what their machines can do, be trained to use all of them, and embrace the new processes such as digital workflows and cloud-based document management.
Of course, end-users are not the only key stakeholders. You also need executive sponsorship and IT support. Here are a few ways to earn everyone’s approval:
Find out about departmental needs and interests
Sit with your department heads. Coordinate with them to meet with their teams too. Ask about their challenges and listen to their responses. The more problems you can solve to help them be more productive, the greater their buy-in will be.
Get the conversation started with questions like –
During your conversation, you will want to explore the answers more deeply. These questions, however, can get you started. And today’s reality is, with so many cloud applications, new technologies, and intelligent devices, you can probably find a way to automate and create a digital workflow to address any challenge facing your teams.
Getting executive sponsorship
For executive buy-in, show value. A printer upgrade offers an organization a unique opportunity to streamline workflows and introduce more efficient, cost-effective processes. The value itself can come in the form of:
Enabling employee productivity gets a lot of attention as a benefit, but we shouldn’t overlook security. Data loss can translate into significant penalties and legal troubles for any business. If a solution like a cloud-based document management system integrated with encrypted workflows can boost productivity and security, getting executive buy-in may be simpler than you expect.
Gaining IT support
Technology that integrates with your network and devices involves IT. With this in mind, get them involved from the start. Find out what they need to know about any of the printers, software, or other systems that can create value for your business.
There’s nothing worse than devising a solution your department and executives have embraced, only to have IT derail the effort by showing that your savings will be offset by their increased workload.
Fortunately, many intelligent devices simplify service with remote support and user-friendly self-help tools. Automated updates, preset alerts, and centralized reporting present other ways departments besides IT can help manage new automated workflows. Cloud applications also do some on-site infrastructure, making them IT-friendly.
By getting IT involved, or keeping them informed at a minimum, you’ll create a smooth path for your printer upgrade and maybe even discover new opportunities for enhanced workflows and automation.
Implementation of a new printer or printer fleet involves more than delivery. We’ve identified four areas that you should detail prior to implementation: e-waste disposal, testing, the equipment transition, and managing risk.
If you upgrade with a company like Ricoh, taking away your old equipment is probably part of the agreement. Brick and mortar retailers typically offer electronic device, or e-waste, recycling too. Your old devices represent only a part of your e-waste.
Print supplies and consumables must be recycled too. Your state or local municipality may have a recycling program, but if not, Ricoh does offer a free program for its customers to return used e-waste including toner cartridges and maintenance kits in accordance with state recycling laws.
Include time for testing
Time is money and frequent testing saves time as well as frustration.
When you test throughout the entire upgrade process – from assessing needs, building workflows, defining access and functionality, and connecting to online services – you ensure a smoother launch. It also provides time for stakeholders to ask questions and get answers about the new workflows, which can prevent confusion at the time of launch.
An equipment transition is not an event – it’s a process
Unless you’re only upgrading a few devices, you may find it more efficient to do a phased implementation. For example, install one device per department at a time, testing before rolling out the rest. This way, you catch any glitches that remain invisible until systems and integrations actually happen.
A measured approach like this also allows people to remain productive and become familiar with new devices and processes.
Another important aspect of a transition is timing. Even a phased equipment roll-out creates some disruption and downtime. Software implementations and moving applications into the cloud can be done during the day but may need to be done after hours. Slow periods of a day, week, or month may also be good times to target for substantial implementations or software moves.