Young woman with eyeglasses sitting on the desk in an office and working on digital tablet. Printer in the background.

Benefits of moving to a cloud print infrastructure

Summary

Explore the benefits of cloud-based print infrastructure.

Time: 5 minute read
Moving to a cloud print infrastructure comes with a lot of benefits.  You can free IT resources to focus on strategic projects and value-driven business goals. 
 
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits.   
 
This is especially true with the evolution to hybrid workplaces. Access to technology, including print devices, has become a priority with employees needing to work, communicate, and collaborate while being in different locations.  
 
In this article, we take a closer look at six of the main benefits a company enjoys when it moves its print infrastructure to the cloud.

 

 

Benefit 1: Anywhere accessibility for a hybrid workplace

Today, we see employees working together from a variety of different locations – some in the office, others at home, some maybe even across the globe. 

Print infrastructure in the cloud removes these traditional barriers. Physical location becomes less important to management and setup, replaced by a device being connected via internet. Once connected, an IT or print management service working from anywhere can configure the device for network use, grant access to only those with a company VPN, and all from a single dashboard. 

Secured print release technology keeps data and documents secured for those in the office too. Print jobs can be sent but only released via passcode or ID badge when you are in the office, which also saves money on unused paper resources from abandoned print jobs.



Benefit 2: Everyone becomes more productive

We know eliminating local print infrastructure – servers, applications that need updating, and the space needed to house and store the hardware – removes a big-time commitment for an IT team or department. Cloud print infrastructure does this. But it isn’t just IT departments that enjoy greater productivity.
 
Everyone becomes more productive.
 
With less physical infrastructure, there are fewer contracts to maintain and bills to pay, freeing accounting resources. And connecting to printers becomes a task any employee can accomplish in a few simple steps, whether they are in the office, at home, or working halfway across the globe.
 
The simple fact is that printing infrastructure in the cloud drives greater productivity for everyone in the organization.
 
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Female professional standing with digital tablet at office along side a printer.

Benefit 3: Business continuity and business agility made easy

Print infrastructure based in the cloud lives in offsite data centers. This means that if something should happen at an office location, such as the one that had housed the print servers and management tools, company-wide processes and printing are not affected.

But what if something happens to the data center where the print infrastructure lives?

Most data centers replicate their services across multiple geographies, so if something happens to one location, the redundant systems take over. Now, there are exceptions. A lot depends on the data centers and services that are part of your contract.

As you can imagine, when choosing to move print infrastructure to the cloud – whether you are contracting with a data center or choosing a service like our Managed Print as a Service, it’s vital that you ask about data center redundancy and uptime guarantees.

Presuming best practices for the cloud hosting services, moving your print infrastructure to the cloud boosts your business agility to respond to the unexpected and support your business continuity plans.

Additionally, without a need to think about print infrastructure in the event of a disaster, your business continuity teams, specifically IT and operations, have an ability to focus on pressing employee and customer needs and not rebuilding a print server.



Benefit 4: Reduced operational costs

Onsite network technology like print servers come with a host of costs. There’s the cost of the equipment itself. Then there’s the cost of the software and applications needed to run them - and the endpoint anti-virus and network security applications needed. Plus, annual maintenance and service fees add up. Frankly, the list could go on.
 
Cloud infrastructure eliminates most of these. Depending on the service you pick, you might eliminate them all, replacing the multiple costs and fees that need managing with a single, monthly operational expense.
 
In our experience, many companies find that this single monthly fee often matches, or is less – sometimes much less – than the capital and operating costs (CAPEX and OPEX) of managing all the hardware, software, services, etc., that go into managing local print infrastructure.
 
Not only do operational costs come down, they become a single, predictable budget line item.
 
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Benefit 5: Access to powerful, insight-loaded data

Many print infrastructure as a service platforms feature analytics tools and reporting, turning print data into valuable intelligence. Reporting dashboards offer ways to deliver relevant insights at a glance for stakeholders, relieving the burden on IT to pull reports.

Some services like RICOH Analytics for Print offer advanced consulting services for those instances when extracting value from volumes of print data is desired but difficult for an IT, operations or finance team as currently configured.

What kind of insight can be found in print data?

The actual data points you target will depend on your goals. Certainly, there is number of prints, supply usage, and common document types printed. Other data that can be collected is the type of printing done (two-sided or one-sided), time of day (behavioral data), and even energy usage.

The value is not the data points themselves though. The real value comes in the way this data can inform strategy and decision-making to streamline operations, cut costs, and help a company meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

And that brings us to the next benefit…



Benefit 6: The potential for a reduced carbon footprint

Just about one-third of organizations in the US have fully implemented sustainability strategies. The most common initiatives to reduce environmental impact? Reducing paper usage. In a 2022 Quocirca survey of 212 IT companies with over 500 employees, 74% plan to cut paper use by 30% or more by 2025.1
 
With cloud-based printing, not only can users have control of their own paper output, but real-time analytics are accessible to see how to reduce paper usage over time. When selecting sustainable print technology, companies are considering its energy efficiency (41%), sustainable ink and toner options (39%), and if it holds environmental certifications (35%) as they strive for lasting sustainability.1
 
Ricoh drives sustainability for our future by supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a global blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Our building blocks for these initiatives include people (society), planet ( environment) and prosperity (economic activities). 
 
If you are looking for ways to reduce your print infrastructure beyond simply moving it into the cloud, perhaps our Managed Print as a Service can help. This scalable, fully-managed print service provides a consistent user experience, can easily grow with your company and offers an easy-to-manage, monthly per-user subscription fee.

 

Is a cloud print infrastructure right for you? We can help you find the answer.

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1“Sustainability Trends 2022” QuoCirca, March 2022.
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