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Michelle Ryder caught up with David Jenkins, CEO of directprint.io to find out how the company has broadened the appeal of its SaaS cloud print management platform outside of the Google-centric ecosystem
Michelle Ryder (MR): It’s been twelve months since we spoke about your plans to capitalise on opportunity in the Microsoft space – how have you expanded the feature-set and functionality of the directprint.io platform to date?
David Jenkins (DJ): directprint.io was originally designed to make enterprise- grade Chromebook printing a reality and, in that respect, we achieved Google Technology and Chrome Enterprise Recommended Partner status within 18 months of launching the product. Our cloud-native approach provided a strong basis for expanding into the Microsoft ecosystem and enabled rapid integration.
We’ve enjoyed significant success particularly within the US education sector as well as the SMB space, but the past year has seen us focus heavily on bringing feature parity to our Microsoft integration in support of our growth plans.
We have expanded our services, adding additional support for Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365. directprint.io is now available to users via the Azure AD Marketplace and offers full integration with Azure AD. Full integration with Microsoft’s enterprise identity service helps improve organisations’ security posture, enabling directprint.io users to implement single sign-on and multi- factor authentication methods to better protect their print infrastructure and wider network from cyber threats. This integration also allows customers to assign specific users to specific printers, easily deploy and remove new printers to end-users, and adopt a Group Policy to manage printers from a single console for improved security and control.
Our platform now supports over 5,000 printer models via Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 across Windows 10 and 11, Mac and Chrome operating systems.
MR: You also introduced a new feature called Edge Print – what does that do?
DJ: Edge Print was originally designed to support customers formerly using Google Cloud Print to print remotely over the internet. Put simply, Edge Print enables users to securely print when they are not on the same network as the printer. Printers remain on a secure network and cannot be exposed to vulnerabilities that are common with personal devices and home networks, while print jobs are kept within an organisation’s approved infrastructure, ensuring information remains safe and secure. Earlier this year we released Edge Print for Microsoft Azure which extended the same capabilities to Microsoft Azure customers.
MR: directprint.io is built around a universal ‘hybrid-cloud’ print driver, you’ve also made some changes to the user interface, what was the driver behind that update?
DJ: We actually redesigned directprint.io’s universal print driver in direct response to customer feedback. We built a fresh client application (UI) which features a logical split between devices, printer settings, and print queues, and has a consistent look and feel across Chrome, Chromebook, Windows and macOS devices.
This upgrade also paves the way for us to build in additional innovative features to deliver an intuitive, seamless and straightforward customer experience, for example, we plan to release a new, easy- to-navigate UI for mobile devices soon.
MR: Channel partnerships are key to your growth plan, what new alliances have you forged over the past year?
DJ: In March we announced a global partnership with Pro Cloud SaaS which expanded our channel reach into the UK, Australia, Brussels, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Qatar, the US and Zambia.
We have also signed a new distribution agreement with a premier IT solutions and services provider with a strong heritage working with organisations of all sizes in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and will shortly expand our presence into Southeast Asia with another tier-one partner.
Additionally, directprint.io’s SaaS print management solution has earned full validation as a Sharp Compatible software product, and we have joined the Sharp Partner Program. directprint.io is now pre-configured for over 500 Sharp models. Our cloud-based admin console and universal print driver provide a seamless interface between Sharp’s printing devices and the cloud-based print management platform, enabling Sharp-native features such as secure print, advanced finishing options, and accounting codes, to be seamlessly enabled and deployed.
MR: What can a dealer expect by partnering with directprint.io?
DJ: We have developed a transparent, scalable, single service offering built on a predictable pricing model that is giving our partners a competitive advantage and helping them to win new business. directprint.io is feature- rich, compatible with all leading printer manufacturers and delivers a consistent print experience across all devices and platforms.
We’re easy to do business with and we’re committed to helping our partners to grow their business in the cloud. We can offer unparalleled levels of support as well as healthy recurring revenue streams, and we’d love to talk to dealers who are looking to offer cloud print as a value-add service.