Quocirca has updated its 2012 report on mobile printing within enterprises. Here, we present some key extracts from The Mobile Print Enterprise, 2015. The full report by Louella Fernandes and Rob Bamforth can be downloaded from www.quocirca.com
Mobile devices are transforming business productivity. For many, the workplace is no longer defined by the traditional office; employees are now accessing corporate applications, data and services from multiple devices and locations every day.
With a highly mobile workforce, organisations need to ensure employees have the same access to corporate applications as they would from the desktop, while protecting sensitive data. One area in need of better control, which has yet to catch up with the desktop experience, is printing.
Due to a diversity of mobile platforms and printer and MFP (multifunction peripheral) devices, mobile printing is often viewed as cumbersome and inflexible. The mix of proprietary approaches from each vendor, together with a range of third party solutions, has created a rather complex market.
Although the Mopria alliance is seeking to redress the balance by developing standards around mobile printing (see box on page 32), there is still progress to be made in creating an intuitive mobile print experience. Only when mobile printing is as simple as desktop printing (and doesn’t attract a premium) will it become more widely adopted.
At the moment, interest in mobile printing is growing but adoption levels are still low. Quocirca research indicates that while 83% of organisations are interested in mobile print capabilities, only 14% have deployed a mobile print solution (up from 5% in 2012).
This reflects not only the lower priority assigned to mobile printing, but also a potential lack of understanding on what solution best meets the business need. It also highlights the growth potential that exists for resellers, as 35% of organisations say they plan to implement mobile printing within the next 12 months.As the Quocirca report points out below, the business case for doing so is clear.
Without an approved approach to mobile printing, the rise of shadow IT means that employees will bypass IT and use alternative consumer printing apps. These solutions may not offer sufficient protection and will prevent organisations from tracking and controlling print usage.
The risk of unsecured mobile printing cannot be overlooked. With recent Quocirca research revealing that 70% of organisations have experienced one or more accidental data breaches through printing, organisations need tighter controls on printing as mobile devices proliferate in the organisation.
Many organisations are already addressing the complexity, cost and risk of their print environments through effective print management and secure ‘pull printing’ that can mitigate the risks of confidential information being exposed to unauthorised users by only releasing print jobs upon user authentication with a swipe card or PIN code.
They now need to take the next step and encompass mobile printing within their strategy to enhance employee and business productivity.
A fragmented market
One major obstacle to wider adoption of mobile printing, according to the report, is the diversity of mobile platforms and printer hardware, which has produced a fragmented market characterised by an array of hardware, software and cloudbased mobile printing services.The mobile printing ecosystem is broadly populated by printer/copier manufacturers and independent software vendors (ISVs).
These vendors offer a mobile printing portfolio comprising hardware, software and services. Printers may be cloud or webenabled, as in the case of HP’s ePrint or Ricoh’s HotSpot range of printers, which allows them to be registered to the vendor’s cloud printing services. Most hardware-centric mobile print solutions are brand-specific, although some do offer multi-vendor support.
Vendors that offer some form of mobile printing solution or service include Canon, HP, Lexmark, Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Xerox. Most also offer mobile printing services as part of a managed print service (MPS), enabling organisations to manage printing across desktop and mobile environments.
ISVs: These vendors include Breezy, EFI, Cortado, PrinterOn and Pcounter, all of which offer vendor-agnostic mobile print solutions. These are particularly suitable for organisations operating a mixed fleet, as they avoid the need to implement multiple solutions for each mobile platform and printer or MFP. In many cases, hardware vendors will partner with ISVs to deliver multi-vendor support where appropriate.
Operating system vendors:Printing support is available through Apple’s AirPrint, which is built into most popular printer models. AirPrint features include easy discovery, automatic media selection and enterprise-class finishing options.
Google Cloud Print offers printing to cloud-enabled printers from smartphones or tablets with Gmail for mobile, Google Docs for mobile and other supported apps. Google Cloud Print Ready printers register themselves directly with the Google Cloud Print service.
Given the fragmented nature of the market, there is no silver bullet for mobile printing, and organisations will need to develop a policy framework that balances business value and risk mitigation.
Those already operating a managed print environment may find this process easier, as they can leverage the experience of their provider to determine how best to support mobile printing. For those that are not using MPS, the task is more challenging and they should seek to rationalise their existing fleet before introducing mobile print capabilities.
Capabilities to look for include:
Support for multiple mobile platforms.
Users should have the ability to submit print jobs via a variety of methods, such as email, a web browser or a smartphone application. Investigate what document formats can be printed and whether driver settings can be modified to customise print jobs.
Any mobile printing platform must offer secure job release features that are consistent with any access control and authentication methods used for desktop printing. Limiting access to printers and MFPs to known users is a crucial step in safeguarding confidential or sensitive information. The most common authentication mechanisms include passwords, smartcards, and two-factor authentication, such as a combination of a password and card access. Authentication can be implemented via an external authentication server, via authentication features embedded within a device, or by installing software that works with the MFP on a PC or workstation.
This form of access control is also known as ‘pull-printing’. Look for solutions that offer auditing and tracking of print jobs across desktop and mobile environments to ensure a holistic view and control of all printing activity.
Hardwarecentric solutions may be best suited to organisations operating a standardised fleet environment. In reality, most organisations use a range of printers and MFPs from different manufacturers.
To address the need for mobile printing across a mixed fleet, third party solutions should be considered, including those from EFI, Cortado, Nuance and Ringdale.
Hardware vendors also typically offer multivendor mobile print solutions. Quocirca recommends that organisations consider solutions that use a universal driver, which enables print jobs to be printed to any printer and users to preview print jobs and change finishing options before a job is printed.
Cost control and accounting.
Look for restrictions and controls to prevent users from printing to more expensive printers or exceeding print quotas. If cost control and accounting is not integrated in the mobile printing platform, look for compatibility with leading cost recovery tools such as Equitrac and Print Audit.
Private or public cloud print services.
As corporate network access opens up, applications, storage and infrastructure are moving to the cloud.
The shift towards cloud computing and the mobile consumption of information through applications such as Google Apps and Office 365 open up wider opportunities to print. Enterprises and public sector organisations may prefer a private cloud deployment that lives within the firewall, to ensure the security of sensitive data. Many organisations are now looking to hybrid clouds that blend the benefits of private and public clouds, and solutions such as HP ePrint and Cortado’s offering provide deployment options for both types of deployment.
The benefits of integrating MPS with mobile printing support should not be underestimated. A managed print service reduces the cost, complexity and risk of operating an unmanaged print infrastructure. This is achieved through a process of fleet assessment, device consolidation, implementation of document workflow tools and continuous management. If an organisation is using MPS and does not extend its coverage to include mobile printing, it is essentially opening its print infrastructure to escalating costs and security risks.
Ensure that an MPS provider can provide integrated control of desktop and mobile printing.
Consider Mopria-certified models to ensure mobile print compatibility. Many vendors have committed to addressing standardisation around mobile printing. Many next generation printers will support the Mopria Print Service for Android. Meanwhile, for printing from Apple devices, the de facto standard remains AirPrint, which is now widely supported by most manufacturers.
To download the full version of The Mobile Print Enterprise, 2015, including comparisons of the different market offerings, please visit www.quocirca.com.