Walk into your local print shop, and what do you see? (Wait—do you even have a local print shop?) Anyway, chances are you probably see stacks of convenience-store candies, or the boring cardboard boxes of a shipping centre. And don’t even think about forgetting a memory stick, because it’s extremely unlikely that they even have any mobile printing applications set up.
After you fumbled your way through the process (and asked for help a couple dozen times), you probably walked out with an overpriced piece of paper and made a vow to print all your docs at the office from now on. The only problem: Most office printers are hardly any better.
The office printers of yesterday are still notoriously difficult to use—not just buggy, but labour-intensive. Most of the time, the sheer hassle of navigating the dreaded printer touch screen outweighs any productivity gains that come from a printed document. But millennials are making the mobile-first, on-the-go attitude mainstream, so printing at the office is about to go through some big changes.
Go mobile—the world already has
Sometimes it feels like we live on our phones—and that’s important for businesses to remember. Millennials are now the single largest population in the workforce, surpassing Generation X to make up 35 percent of the civilian labour force—especially in cutting-edge tech and finance positions. But millennials have never felt particularly attached to printing. Instead, the mobile-first lifestyle makes it easy to sidestep the sluggish downsides of physical media.
In reality, there are mobile printing solutions out there, but not nearly enough businesses are using them. Not only could these software suites increase productivity from jobs that already require printing, but they could improve messaging and presentations across the office by bringing printing back front-and-center. With a new, well-designed interface, your office can eliminate the paper waste that always seems to happen when you accidentally print reams of documents slightly wrong on the first try.
Mobile printing restores printer life
When you and your colleagues start avoiding the office printer because it stresses you out way too much, it becomes more of a relic than an office hub. Sure, it may be harder to have everyone crowd around an iPad than to hand out a dozen individual sheets, but at least you can rely on the screen to quickly deliver the things you need it to. A lack of confidence in the office printer becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the printer loses its place as a central hub in the office.
That’s why the right printing solution can be so important: It gives the office printer new life, and gives you and your coworkers a place to send important documents for quick perusal or local sharing. With mobile printing, an employee who isn’t even at the office can send a document to print and know that their coworker, who is at the office, is just a few steps away. No fax machine required. Mobile printing is so straightforward, your fellow employees will probably never bang down the IT door again, looking for help with a tricky print job.
Check your endpoint security, always
At the end of the day, mobile is the way to go. Best of all? You aren’t locked into any one particular package. So when you’re choosing the right mobile printing solution, take note of which ones stand out from the rest with rich, high-security features.
The biggest factor for ITDMs to consider when choosing a platform is the level of protection it provides both for and against the users who transiently log on to print. Who knows, malware can be waiting on any device for the chance to infect your network and spread to unsuspecting users. To sum up: You need a solution that provides convenient access without providing easy access.
While you’re at it, make sure that the platform you choose supports the widest variety of user platforms possible—yes, that means Blackberry, too. It’s not just about which devices other employees have, but which devices a transient B2B visitor could be using. Not only will a clumsy, outdated system detract from a business’s legitimacy and security, it could delay or derail a presentation entirely.
Mobile solutions are the only way to bring printing back to basics, giving it the maximum possible impact on office productivity. Printing at a convenience store may never actually be convenient, but printing at the office can be.