The demands placed on IT professionals in retail organizations are a bit unconventional compared to other industries.
Locations spread across different regions or countries make routine visits to remote sites time-consuming and more expensive. Printer troubleshooting is more urgent to maintain high customer and employee satisfaction. And retail-specific printers like point-of-sale and label printers add to the complexities of presumably mixed OS environments.
It’s a lot for an IT team to handle.
Let’s discuss some common retail print management challenges and highlight how adopting a serverless printing infrastructure alleviates these issues.
Common Retail Print Management Challenges
Print Server Expenses
Maintaining, updating, and licensing a single print server costs companies thousands of dollars per year. Replacing them doesn’t come cheap, either. Depending on your needs, you could be looking at prices between $5000-$20,000 per server.
We could talk about the ROI and cost savings companies would get if they reduced infrastructure all day. However, time is where the stress around print servers comes into play.
For IT teams, print servers require constant upkeep to maintain steady printing for users. Despite all this invested time and effort, security issues continue to plague traditional print environments. Vulnerabilities like PrintNightmare added fuel to the fire, causing IT teams to perform more updates than usual to avoid data breaches. All this manual intervention takes time away from other tasks and decreases IT teams’ overall productivity.
Managing Remote Locations
The retail industry is about as dispersed as they come. Between addressing individual needs and managing hundreds (if not thousands) of users in multiple locations, your IT team is burning the candle at both ends.
In distributed print environments utilizing a conventional print server architecture, issues usually become magnified and leave IT teams stuck with manually performing time-intensive tasks like installing printers for individual computers, updating drivers, changing printers, and restarting servers.
Too Many Print-related Helpdesk Calls
Even the best IT teams run into an overwhelming number of print-related helpdesk tickets. They eat up time and negatively impact workflows. A Gartner report notes that 40% of helpdesk calls are print-related.
And they usually come out something like this:
“My printer won’t print!”
“I want to use this printer, but I can’t.”
“Why am I not able to print in color?”
Tickets like these compare to that feeling of stepping on a rogue lego in your kitchen—they’re painful and just keep coming back. They aren’t budget-friendly either at $22 per ticket.
Do your users print in color instead of monochrome?
Which printers are used the most?
Are there specific locations that print more than others?
If you’re unable to answer these types of questions, printing could be eating away at your budget. Unfortunately, this is the case for many admins in traditional print environments with 90% of organizations having no idea how much they spend on printing. Most don’t even know the number of printers in their fleet.
How can admins address printing issues or costs under these circumstances?
Well, you can’t fix what you can’t see. Without proper insight into your organization’s users, devices, and locations, IT teams can’t track down printer issues or establish better printing practices for their organization.
Using GPOs to deploy printers is a tedious process that usually results in various issues. While GPOs are easier to set up, they aren’t always dependable. Some common problems admins run into are
- GPOs applied to incorrect users,
- incorrect drivers,
- incorrect GPO permissions,
- and disabled links.
And these are just a few of them. With potential problems like these, there’s a high probability that your printer won’t make it to the desired user on the first go. As a result, you spend more time resolving print problems and get more calls to the helpdesk.
How PrinterLogic Simplifies Retail Print Management
1. It removes the single point of failure.
PrinterLogic’s serverless printing platform provides a proven way to eliminate the single point of failure in your print environment. Instead of falling victim to printer downtime because of driver conflicts or installation hiccups, IT teams get built-in redundancy that allows users to keep printing with no loss in performance or functionality.
By eliminating print servers, print jobs are relayed between the user’s workstation and the printer, increasing print speeds and doing away with managing heavy WAN traffic.
Oh, and that whole PrintNightmare scare? Admins can finally stop worrying about keeping up with patch installations to avoid vulnerabilities.
2. It gives admins centralized management.
It’s easier to solve problems when you can view everything from one place. PrinterLogic’s Admin Console enables admins to streamline print-related tasks and view their entire printing infrastructure from a single pane of glass. You can even add printers or make changes to existing ones if needed.
Why is this important for retail?
It provides businesses with a scalable solution.
When a retail company opens or acquires a new location, new printers can be added with just a few clicks instead of wondering about configurations or adding new print servers to meet print demand.
Take it from Reggie Campbell, a network administrator for Cott Corporation, who said,
“PrinterLogic is for anybody who wants to go from a traditional server-based print solution to a unified, multisite, multi-state solution.”
3. It eliminates scripting and GPOs.
No more depending on low percentage chances to accurately deploy printers. PrinterLogic puts an end to complex troubleshooting issues by getting rid of scripts and GPOs entirely. Plus, admins get granular control over which users get which printers with a platform that integrates seamlessly with Active Directory (AD) and offers a variety of deployment criteria.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from eliminating scripts and GPOs is the time admins save on the deployment process in general. By simply checking a few boxes, admins can set up automatic deployments for their users individually or en masse—all from a single pane of glass.
4. It reduces print-related helpdesk calls.
The first three steps listed above benefit admins by reducing helpdesk calls by as much as 95%.
Eliminating the single point of failure means less maintenance and troubleshooting when problems arise. Admins can add or delete printers from their fleet and address potential issues before they happen from our Admin Console. Printer installations and deployments are quickly resolved by ticking just a few boxes.
Damage control becomes a thing of the past.
All of the advantages of going serverless translate to increased user satisfaction and reduced costs, resulting in a nearly instant ROI.
5. Admins can track costs on a user, device, and organizational level.
We can’t talk about printing without discussing sustainability.
With PrinterLogic, admins gain automated insights into all print activity in their organization on the user, device, and organizational levels. Via in-depth cost analysis reports, admins can track departmental usage, paper usage, and paper waste to drive better decision-making.
Admins can set up advanced reporting to monitor the SNMP status of printers and receive alerts when printers go down or need servicing.
This type of comprehensive tracking gives admins a complete overview of the dollar value of overall print consumable usage, helping to tackle sustainability initiatives.
Feeling “Done” With Print Servers?
I’m sure you’ve noticed the recurring theme: traditional print environments drain retail IT teams’ time, money, and resources.
Eliminating your print servers is the first step to make up for lost time and money.
So, where do you go from here?
PrinterLogic provides you and your users with a centrally managed direct IP printing platform that takes all the guesswork out of print management and gives you advanced insight into your entire printer fleet across remote locations. On top of that, experience more free time by eliminating scripts and GPOs and reducing print-related helpdesk calls.
Ready to go serverless? Sign up for a free 30-day trial and reap all of the benefits of serverless printing.
Want a more in-depth look? See how a large UK retailer with over 2,500 locations removed 400 pieces of hardware, got rid of scripting and GPOs, and nearly eliminated all print-related helpdesk tickets after going with PrinterLogic.