French software firm Doxense is bringing to the UK its print management software that it claims can cut printing costs by over 25 per cent for business customers through a reduction of unnecessary print output.
Available now, Watchdoc enables organisations to monitor, track and report on the print output across their entire network, and get a more accurate picture of the associated running costs. Customers can then use the report to set policies designed to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
"Customers often don't realise what the problem is until you explain it, then they're keen to do something about it," said Doxense country manager Lee Schofield.
He claimed that about 20 per cent of printed documents simply end up in the bin without even being read. As a firm with 1,000 users will print an estimated 7.8 million pages per year, that adds up to a significant waste of money, especially if some documents are being printed in colour when black and white would have sufficed.
According to Doxense, the same organisation would save over £50,000 a year by deploying Watchdoc, and customers will recoup the cost of their investment within six months.
Any such savings are on top of those a customer might have already gained by outsourcing the management of their print estate to an IT service provider, according to Doxense.
"A managed service can reduce the amount it costs you per page, but we aim to reduce the number of pages printed," said Schofield.
Watchdoc is installed on the print server and operates in 'quiet mode' for about the first six weeks, while it monitors every job passing through the print queue. At the end of this, it produces a report identifying potential cost-saving areas.
"You might find that a lot of output is being produced in colour, which is very expensive, or that very little is printed in duplex mode," said Schofield.
Policies can then be set to reduce costs, but these are largely in the form of pop-up alerts that advise employees on alternative actions they might take.
"It's designed to work by influencing employee behaviour, rather than by policy enforcement through Active Directory," said Schofield.
If a user tries to send a 30-page print job from Word, for example, it will ask them whether they really meant to print the whole document, and give them the option to go back and specify just the pages they require. Similarly, if a user tries to print in colour, it might suggest black and white instead.
While Watchdoc can be configured to simply block colour print jobs, Schofield said that setting such inflexible rules tends to anger users and may be counterproductive. A web-based console allows managers to see a print history for every employee, including the number of pages and whether a job was in colour.
Watchdoc is designed to work with the Windows spooler, but is independent of any particular print technology or vendor, so it can be used in heterogeneous environments where printers from more than one vendor are in operation.
Licensing for Watchdoc varies, according to Doxense, as the firm charges based on the number of print servers, print queues monitored, and the number of printers.
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