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Using rules-based printer management to make your life easier [HP]

Client Computing | Posted on June 16, 2011

Designed for more complex environments, rules-based printer management provides more control, finer granularity and, potentially, more cost savings than other kinds of singularly focused, data collection printer management software.

In a sense, all printer management software is rules based. That is, it assigns print jobs to printers based on various criteria. However, true rules-based systems such as HP’s Access Control Intelligent Print Management (IPM) Solution take the concept several steps further. They allow administrators to create carefully customized rules specific to a given enterprise’s environment.

The rules that can be created under IPM go far beyond assigning a user’s print job to a particular printer. For example, IPM software can recognize the file extension and set the print specifications accordingly. Thus, spreadsheets can be automatically directed to a wide-format landscape printer, internal documents can be printed in draft mode in duplex, thereby saving ink and paper, while final documents from the same user can be automatically printed out in high quality and single-sided.

These complex rules can be completely transparent to the user. The user merely hits ‘print’ and the job automatically goes to the right printer and is printed using the right criteria (mono or color, high-quality or draft quality printing, duplex or single-sided, paper orientation, etc.) to the right printer. The user doesn’t have to think about it and the result is a completed print job with fewer chances for waste, mistakes and confusion. And say goodbye to those stacks of abandoned prints!

IPM systems are also designed with administrators in mind. All too often administering a network of printers is like being nibbled to death by ducks. The individual tasks aren’t that complicated, but the sheer volume of them is overwhelming. Of course, the more printers being managed, the greater the problem.

An IPM system such as HP’s provides web-based tools for managing an enterprise’s printer operations in an efficient manner. Administrators can create and change rules as well as monitor the results through easily generated reports. Because all of this is highly customized, it is easy for administrators to get just the right amount of information, but not so much they are buried in largely irrelevant data but enough of the right information so they can do their jobs effectively.

Most rules-based systems also collect data on printing to make it easier to develop rules tailor-made for your environment. This lets administrators constantly tune their printing environment to deal with changes in the way the enterprise functions.

Generally speaking, the larger and more complex the printing environment, the greater the benefits of advanced Intelligent Printer Management. Not only does IPM result in cost savings and greater security, it also makes life easier for the print administrators.

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