With BYOD policies on the rise, now is a good time to address some of the issues around managed print services and mobile printing and in this feature we offer some advice on how you can successfully establish mobile printing capabilities.
So what is the uptake of mobile printing like in enterprise environments?
As leading Managed Print Services experts, we have seen little adoption of mobile printing technologies within our customer base, so why is the uptake of mobile printing lower than expected?
Use of Mobile Devices
The limited success of BYOD printing in the corporate sector is largely due to the way in which enterprise customers use mobile devices. Print itself is not always carried out on BYOD devices, but from software-led or business processes which are performed on desktop devices. The demand for mobile printing is therefore often very occasional, despite devices having vast and varied uses.
Lack of Control
Another issue is lack of control over visibility and security when printing on mobile devices. Since most users print via a shared network of printers, IT departments want to have central control of their Managed Printing Services environment in order to minimise security issues. Furthermore, companies favour visibility of printing activities to ensure that users aren’t performing personal printing at work which often results in a huge rise in costs if not properly managed.
Technical challenges can also be a big concern; are BYOD devices well supported by shared printers? If they’re not then desktop printers will likely remain the more popular choice. Creating a corporate standard for printing on mobile devices, we expect, would be universally well-received by businesses.
As far as we are aware, no such application exists as yet and so your most obvious choice right now is to utilise the software provided by your printer manufacturer to enable printing via the cloud from mobile devices. The ideal situation would be for the design of an application that would work across multiple brands, and wasn’t necessarily mobile specific. And this could be why many businesses are dragging their feet when it comes to mobile printing.
Is it worth investing in mobile printing?
In an era in which you may be, along with increasing numbers of other businesses, enabling remote and home working for your staff, there are clear benefits to mobile printing despite the current drawbacks.
When a remote employee visits your fixed office location, they often need access to printing facilities and this is usually from their BYOD device. Whilst you may acknowledge this demand for mobile printing, you may not see the requirement as being terribly urgent.
However this may change in the future as the mobile user base increases. If a larger number of your users adopt tablets for example, the requirements for mobile printing will heighten and so will your need to find a solution.
Is there a right way to implement a mobile printing strategy? What are your options?
We believe that there is no “right way” to implement a mobile printing strategy. However we do use a four-way matrix to help outline the choice you have when creating your policies and processes:
Method 1: Use a Wi-Fi network so that each print would take place via a Wi-Fi session between your user and personal printer.
Method 2: Use a wired network or a corporate network.
When using either method, if printing via Wi-Fi, then a Cloud printing service could be used which means you must then decide between:
A: Using one printer brand and adopting their mobile printing software, or:
B: Using multiple printer brands and adopting independent software which will need to be tested to check it supports your range of print and mobile devices.
There is an alternative to all of the above; the implementation of a guest printing solution. Since it would be limited to a small number of visiting users, this option would not require a cloud printing service. Wi-Fi and printing resources would be available in the area to be used outside of the firewall to allow guests to print from their own devices.
You are likely to need a strategy which supports a range of devices across iOS, Android and Windows. Companies with a BYOD policy usually find there is a wide range of devices in use among their staff and it is not usually practical to favour or limit to single mobile operating systems.