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Opportunities in print management

Roger Stocker, CEO of business intelligence software developer Intuitive, explains how analytics can help MPS providers to differentiate

Intuitive was the brainchild of two former competitors, Roger Stocker and Tony Bray, who had both sold their respective IT reseller businesses and were looking to do something new. Having recognised the value of analytics, the duo spent 18 months looking to invest in a company, when they realised one didn’t exist, they set up Intuitive with the aim of creating a different type of business intelligence (BI) solution, that would enable partners to differentiate, identify cost savings for their customers and add value.

“Our solutions enable partners to differentiate their offerings in what is now a very mature market,” Stocker said. “There are lots of people selling printers and ECM solutions, but often they seem to operate in isolation. Print data is really valuable in that it can show you where the opportunities lie – for example, if you look deeper into the reasons why an individual user is printing lots, you often find that there are a lot of manual processes associated with that behaviour; armed with that knowledge, a reseller is able to sell a customer a solution from a position of strength.”

The Intuitive dashboards for print management can help dealers add revenue and profit to deals. They are a simple add-on to PaperCut and SafeQ print management software and also help solution providers to initiate discussions around areas for process automation such as accounts payable and HR.

BI Intuitive
BI Intuitive

Visual representation
Intuitive for print management dashboards make it easy to manage the cost of printing, better understand print demand within an organisation, and communicate the environmental impact. They show the latest available usage data for all multifunction devices, providing shorter and more effective decision cycles. The dashboards also show the volume of CO2 produced as well as the paper and electricity consumed by printing, so are ideal for communicating environmental impact to all print users.

Intuitive dashboards give an immediate visual representation of data that is generated by the software both from a user and a device perspective. “There are two key reasons why it works in the print industry – the first is that the implementation process is very simple, it can be installed in less than half a day. And the other key thing is that print produces masses of data, almost too much for people to interpret, what we do is take all of that data and organise it, so it’s really easy to understand,” Stocker explained.

The dashboards can help to identify areas for cost savings very quickly. “You can analyse user behaviour, identify which departments incur the highest cost per employee, look at printing patterns, how much colour vs. how much black and white; right down to the types of documents being printed by each employee,” he added. “If you analyse data at a device level, you can see which devices are being over- or under-utilised for example, which then allows for the print estate to be reconfigured more efficiently or rationalised to reduce costs. MPS providers can also use the data to highlight issues and focus on where print policies can be reviewed to make cost management more effective.”

Global expansion
Intuitive formed a relationship with PaperCut two years ago and is working in partnership to make Intuitive dashboards available through PaperCut Authorised Solution Centres globally. These distributors will then supply and support resellers with the pre-integrated business intelligence solution which is delivered with a complete set of standard configurations.

Intuitive for PaperCut is a pre-integrated BI solution designed specifically for PaperCut MF. The latest version takes advantage of the new data integration features of the PaperCut 2.0 release. This means that users can launch the print management dashboards from the data integration tab within PaperCut MF, without having to switch applications.

Key features include the ability to specify how much historic data you wish to upload into the dashboards. In addition, the information to build the dashboards is retrieved in a standard way, however your version of PaperCut MF is set up, allowing organisations to use different databases and operating systems.

The company has also partnered with OEMs including Konica Minolta and Kyocera to resell Intuitive dashboards.

Automated fleet reporting
MPS providers typically pull data to compile reports for customer quarterly reviews, as these reports are manually intensive to produce, many dealers tend to only do this for their biggest customers. Intuitive argues that the information provided delivers limited value. The reports capture a moment in time and present static data; they invariably arrive too late to react to and can even contain errors causing doubt and unknown risk to the organisation. Moreover, the data behind the reports is rarely accessible making it impossible to ask questions or change the way it is presented.

Using Intuitive dashboards ensures that the right data is made available to the right people with minimal effort. “We’ve built the solution so that every customer can look at their statistics online in real-time. So they can roll out that service to all of their customers cost-effectively. So, rather than pull the data and manually manipulate it once a quarter, a dealer can literally log in every day, this reduces cost and increases stickiness,” Stocker said.

“In the current market, dealers have to differentiate. Print has become commoditised and if you keep focusing on price, growth is going to get harder and harder. You have to change the conversation and build more value to secure new revenue streams,” he added.

Process management
Intuitive also delivers a range of pre-integrated dashboard solutions that work across a range of process management systems. Like the print management solutions, the dashboards are delivered with a complete set of standard configurations, enabling customers to get up and running straight away with minimal set up time and configuration.

Unlike traditional business intelligence tools, which are over complex, Intuitive dashboards can be installed and set up in hours not weeks. There is no need to run monthly reports for different users, as with the dashboards these are all fully automated and personalised with no effort.

Intuitive partners deliver standard dashboards for accounts payable automation, human resources and finance budget management. In addition, dashboards can be tailored to deliver visual information across a wide range of other process management systems.

“We have a range of solutions around HR, and accounts payable for example, what we’re looking to do is to work with the partners we have acquired and through the PaperCut relationship to help them broaden their solutions portfolio, leveraging our out of the box BI solutions for all business areas, ” Stocker said.

He continued: “I think what we’ve shown is that BI is valuable, but the real value comes from all the data preparation and ensuring ease of implementation, because people don’t want to spend weeks and weeks and weeks, implementing a reporting system.”

Intuitive BI is an enabler to sell digital services. Stocker said: “The system will show the cost of print per by department, but that in itself doesn’t really tell you much. So what we’ll do is take that data and enhance it so we’re looking at the average cost per employee within a department, which is far more meaningful because it allows you to get to the real problem. Looking at an individual’s usage behaviour, you may spot a spike in printing on the third Thursday of the month, you can then use that information to go and investigate why there’s a massive spike, it’s usually because there’s a big manual process which you can then go and automate. That’s where you can add real value to your customers.”

In conclusion Stocker said that in the two years since it entered the print sector, the company has gone from zero to 200 customers in the UK alone. “We have grown really really quickly and that is set to accelerate as we look to replicate that success globally through our relationship with PaperCut.”