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Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

Business-critical application printing? Pick the right tool for the job

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“You do not use Microsoft WordPad that comes with Windows operating systems as your word processor; you buy Microsoft Word. For the same reasons, why would you use Windows Print Server software to handle output from your business-critical applications?”

Good question, right? It isn’t my question, however – it’s a quote from an LRS customer who is responsible for truly mission-critical printing at a prestigious university healthcare system. But just consider how many environments there are in which this exact thing is happening. Basic Windows Print Servers are managing document workflows coming from critical applications that are vital to enterprise operations in important situations.

So what happens if we have Windows Print Servers handling this output? Possibly nothing, as long as there are no system interruptions or errors. But obviously, that is not how printing works. Problems are a common occurrence in any small, medium or large enterprise. Frankly, the larger the organization, the more difficult it becomes to determine the cause of the problem. How do you pinpoint the problem in an environment with dozens or hundreds of print servers, printers and systems? Locating the bottleneck can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Furthermore, in the case where application output is handled by these Windows print servers, who gets the error message and investigates the issues? That would be the IT department. But if the problem originates with the application, then the dedicated application team will need to get involved as well. This can sometimes lead to finger-pointing between the various teams, and you can imagine how fast the costs and delays add up when this occurs.

But wait, there’s more. Despite the complexity of troubleshooting print problems, these Windows Print Servers are often seen as the cure for the pain that a large enterprise will typically experience. Printing not fast enough? Put in another Windows Print Server to improve throughput. Jobs get stuck in the print queue? Put in another Windows Print Server. Print jobs get lost? You guessed it: another Windows Print Server.

These are expensive machines and maintaining them takes time and money. As stated before, if you need to get specialized application support teams involved, the costs add up even faster. So, this ‘easy fix’ might look good as a short-term solution, but is it really what works best?

Getting back to the idea put forth by our thoughtful customer, don’t let your application output be managed by software that isn’t designed for it. Choose the smarter option. Let your application teams stay focused on what they were hired to do… optimize those applications and not worry about print output.

A single point of print management can ensure smooth data flow throughout the printing process and make it easy to diagnose, prevent, and fix any printing problems that do occur. That is how large enterprises ensure that everyone can concentrate on their actual jobs and that business processes continue as they should. Simply put, LRS software handles any application, any platform, and any printer. If documents are critical to your business, then so are the solutions that we provide.

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