If you want to successfully manage your company's information technology, the key is to plan thoroughly and completely.
You shouldn't have to be able to print money to afford your business's printers and office equipment. Yet, all too often, it seems like that is what many businesses have to do to afford their office equipment.
The easy excuse is to blame the rapid pace of technology and the unavoidable expenses of keeping up with the latest and the best. After all, it seems like technology is only good for about six months before it becomes obsolete and you have to replace it.
In the end all that is an excuse. If you want to successfully manage your company's information technology, the key is to plan thoroughly and completely. There are reasons why there are numerous clichés about the benefits of planning first to avoid the high costs of mistakes later. When it comes to IT, it is best to pay attention to those annoying, but true, words to live by.
So it is time to begin, by asking questions about how you can be better, by paying attention to the details, by evaluating all of your processes, not just those that directly tie to the goods you produce or services you offer. You need every advantage you can get, and planning to maximize your IT capabilities while minimizing your costs is one way to get that edge.
Below is a list of questions that you can use to start that process of gaining an advantage. If you are looking to address your printing needs by leasing or purchasing a digital copier or by contracting for managed print services or if you just want to reevaluate your current printing fleet, this is where you need to start the process. This will help you determine what you have, what you need and where you can go.
The Office Environment
Purchasing office technology, digital copiers, printers, etc., is not something you do randomly; you make these choices to address a specific need or goal that your business has. As with every decision, there is a context that needs to be understood before you can make the best decision. The following questions will help you articulate that framework so you can craft your strategy to address every goal and challenge.
- What are your short- and long-term goals for managing technology? For example, do you want to manage your technology internally, or would you like to hire a third party to do it for you?
- Have you created internal structures to help you achieve your technology goals?
- What obstacles are preventing you from optimizing your business's technology? Is there a resource or knowledge gap? Are internal politics making things more difficult?
- Does your business attempt to address energy usage? Is this a goal you actively pursue, or is it just a publicity stunt?
- Are there any industry-specific regulations with which you must comply? Might those regulations change in the near future?
- Describe your employees' ability to access information; then compare that ability to the degree of access you want them to have.
Printing and Copying
You probably don't know what your printing and copying needs are exactly. You aren't alone; most businesses don't either because they don't make the time to measure. If you want to truly seize an advantage, you need to make the time. Answering these questions will help you do that.
- Can your employees print to a digital copier from their smartphones or tablets?
- Is anyone in charge of managing your printers, digital copiers, and supplies?
- Do you have an IT Help Desk? How many devices does it support?
- How many of your employees use the devices?
- Are your devices centrally located or distributed over a large area?
- Is each department charged for its copies, prints, faxes, and scans?
- Do you outsource particular documents and/or marketing materials? If so, what are the costs associated with that?
- Make a list of all vendors that support your technology and what each is responsible for.