December 12, 2012, 11:43 AM — Low-end printers do one thing: print. High-capacity printers do that one thing much faster. But the demands of the modern office require a device that specializes not only in output, but input as well. Say hello to the modern Multifunction Printer (MFP).
Today's MFP may surprise you. Imagine the high-capacity and high output of your large printers, along with all the input capabilities of your best dedicated scanner. Put an interactive, customizable touch-screen perfect for the app-hungry modern employee as the front-end, along with security to control user access to any and all of the printer features. Support mobile devices to handle the BYOD crowd. Connect to the cloud for documents, drive collaboration with document workflow solutions, and wrap it all in modern printer management software. That's the printer the modern office needs today.
Users who just need a copier will find the document feeder easy to use, and one button will make black and white or color copies. Users who just need a basic printer can click print from within their applications, choose the printer from the menu, and print just like they always have.
But modern workers tend to do modern things and expect the printer to help them. The right printer even lets you customize the control display by putting your logo onscreen to impress users. The right printer will let you customize the number and layout of process buttons on the large LCD touchscreen so you can modify printers to better serve the needs of their particular departments. And, of course, the display and client software will allow them to print single or double sided, collate, choose the number of copies, dictate which paper tray to feed from, and even let them route to the best printer for that particular print job.
Modern companies with modern software such as Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com, and other popular packages expect their modern printer to integrate with all the above. Ready to configure your document-intensive workflows and processes inside your software so your MFP will be the hub of your middleware platform? With the right printer, all these things are possible.
Of course, an unmanaged printer is an expensive-to-operate printer, so demand your print vendor nave enterprise-level printer monitoring and management software available. One central console will monitor all printers, and be able to configure, update, and even adjust all printers remotely. Software can't refill the paper trays for you yet, but it will tell you when to expect the trays to run out of paper.
A watched pot may never boil, but a monitored and managed printer from the right vendor really cooks.