I’ve seen lots of speculation around the impact that smart mobile devices will have on the PC marketplace. Some predict the demise of the PC in favor of tablets. Others say no way. There hasn’t been as much discussion around the impact of mobile devices on printing behavior and the implications so I was pleased the other day to find a very insightful report from Quocirca titled, The mobile print enterprise. How IT consumerisation is driving anytime, anywhere printing.
The Quocirca report reviews the market drivers for mobile printing in the business environment, discusses some of the main offerings in the market and suggests some best practices for building a mobile print strategy. Here are a few highlights:
- IT consumerisation is now an unstoppable trend……..Mobile device proliferation, cloud computing acceptance and an increasingly mobile workforce are key trends that are today driving interest in mobile printing.
- Quocirca recommends that a true mobile enterprise print solution should integrate with existing enterprise print management capabilities. Capabilities to look for include:
- Support for multiple mobile platforms – users should have the ability to submit print jobs via a variety of methods such as email, web browser, or smartphone app.
- Print Security – Any mobile printing platform must offer secure job release features that are consistent with any access control and authentication methods used for desktop printing.
- Multivendor support – Quocirca recommends that organizations consider solutions that use a universal driver, enabling print jobs to be printed to any printer.
- Cost control and accounting. Look for capabilities that enable restrictions and controls to prevent users from printing to the most expensive printers or exceeding print quotas.
- MPS –The benefits of integrating Managed Print Services with mobile printing support should not be underestimated. A managed print service reduces the cost, complexity and risk of operating an unmanaged print infrastructure……If an organization is using MPS and does not extend its coverage to include mobile printing, it is essentially opening its print infrastructure to escalating costs and security risks.
Ultimately, I believe that tablets will reduce the need for some types of print jobs. However, the utopian goal of the paperless office isn’t a near-term reality (see my previous blog, MPS and the Paperless Office). And, as printing remains a needed function to support business activities, organizations need to address and support mobile printing. With the fast-paced shift towards the use of consumer mobile devices in the workplace, if mobile printing support is not offered, users will simply bypass IT and use unapproved and potentially unsecure consumer apps.
Quocirca suggests, and I agree, that incorporating mobile printing as part of an overall enterprise print strategy (such as managed print services) is the best way forward to mitigate security risks and to ensure that all printing is tracked, managed and controlled.