Are your customers avoiding conversations around printing? It’s likely because they feel there are no interesting ideas to pursue that would really drive their business. A private cloud enterprise print solution is your ticket to breaking through this perception in the upcoming year.

Here are five simple questions you can ask to re-engage customers in a print conversation about a private cloud enterprise print solution.

1. "Have you thought about providing printing as an organization-wide service?"

Printing should be a service users connect to like they connect to the network, an application or the phone system. It should simply be available whenever and wherever they need it, while keeping pace with today's business challenges that require greater reliability. This includes seeing data centers move away from being traditionally on-premises to private clouds, which are run on Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS or are run by an independent managed service provider.

Customer benefits include:

-      High availability and load balancing for improved reliability.

-      A clear-cut user interface that's the same for any printer without sacrificing features.

-      Users’ printers are easy to find or automatically assigned.

-      IT centrally manages drivers and settings.

-      Improved productivity and security, along with reduced costs.

2. "Did you know that removing printer drivers from desktops would make your life so much easier?"

While printer drivers have resisted most attempts to make them simpler and more stable, they remain a core component of printing. Rather than letting them run wild on every workstation or desktop in the environment, run them centrally in a dedicated space within your private cloud.

Customer benefits include:

-      Only one version of each driver needed for all desktops and workstations.

-      Printers and printer assignments to the users can be changed out or updated without updating drivers on any workstation. Normally, this is a process that's especially painful because drivers usually need admin rights for installation.

-      Increased stability and reliability with simplified maintenance, resulting in greater productivity.

3. "How do you feel about spending less money on printing?"

Printing is incredibly resource intensive both in terms of computing and network use. About 20 percent of each desktop’s or workstation’s computing power needs to be set aside just in case a user needs to print. This is troubling for traditional workstations, which quickly become more expensive based on how much more powerful they need to be. This can be especially taxing in scenarios with remote or virtual desktops because the necessary servers are very expensive.

Customer benefits include:

-      Free up desktops and workstations from almost any print-related task.

-      Servers to provide printing-as-a-service can be spec’d as needed to minimize resource use.

-      High availability and load balancing reduce maintenance cost and expenses from outages.

-      Network utilization can often be reduced by more than 90 percent.

-      Overall simplification and increased reliability reduce help desk calls by more than 80 percent.

4. "Isn't printing far too complicated?"

When printing is run centrally and offered as a private cloud service to the rest of the organization there are far fewer components involved.

Customer benefits:

-      Drivers are tested, installed and maintained on just one server or a small group of servers bundled to enable high availability and load balancing.

-      Any desktops, physical or virtual/remote, or other servers producing print jobs are simply equipped with one interface that adapts to the capabilities of the selected printer. It is even still possible to display advanced printer features like stapling or collating.

-      Users’ workstations or desktops simply connect to the printer without the need for installation.

-      Printers are dynamically assigned criteria like users’ locations or the type of workstation. It is also easy for users to use a self-service option to pick the printer they prefer.

5. "Have you addressed performance and security risks with printing?"

Risks related to printing are plentiful. A system outage can bring a business to a grinding halt. Lost or exposed personal or otherwise confidential information poses great legal and business risks. A private cloud enterprise print solution overcomes this.

Customer benefits include:

-      High availability and load balancing for both the server and remote/branch side virtually eliminate the possibility of a print service outage.

-      Encryption of print data in transit to avoid capture or manipulation.

-      Release/follow-me printing with smartphones/tablets or RFID badges eliminates the need for dedicated printers.

-      Reliable printer assignments ensure private data does not fall into the wrong hands.

There are many opportunities to re-engage customers in print conversations. Make them aware of new benefits for their business with a private cloud enterprise print solution. While they address one topic most vital to them, they'll almost always gain additional benefits as part of their investment.

Henning Volkmer
Henning Volkmer

is president and CEO of ThinPrint, a leading provider of print management software and services for businesses.