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Print: the last bastion of cost cutting?

Print: the last bastion of cost cutting?

With most organisations' print and imaging budgets equalling their IT budgets, managed print services could provide CIOs the opportunity to further cut their organisation's costs

Print management services provide an excellent opportunity for CIOs to slash costs according to Andrew Rowsell-Jones, research vice president at Gartner’s CIO Research Group.

Speaking to CIO, Roswell Jones said that with the average print budget and IT budget both equalling six percent of revenues, CIOs wanting to help their organisations cut costs would do well take a closer look at print expenses -- despite print being an area that CIOs have traditionally had little to do with.

We over-manage IT and under-manage print

Andrew Rowsell-Jones, research vice president, Gartner’s CIO Research Group

“The interesting thing is that the total print budget is equal to the total IT budget, yet, culturally, we manage the hell out of IT but not this important cost (print),” he said. “We over-manage IT and under-manage print.”

This was even more the case given the fact that, despite bullish talk about the recession going away within Australia by 2010, the need for cost reduction within enterprises is unlikely to disappear till 2011 or beyond, Rowsell-Jones said.

“CIOs should quite rightly look to cut costs in IT and look to value add in their organisation, but they should also look to where the business is unnecessarily incurring costs,” he said. “Print may well be -- with some decent analysis -- a place to highlight some opportunities for further savings.”

John Johasky, vice president and general manager, worldwide solutions and services, Imaging & Printing Group at HP, said on average CIOs could expect to be able to realise a reduction in print-associated costs of between 15 and 30 percent through using managed print services and understanding the costs involved at the three layers of print: infrastructure, management and workflow.

“Those numbers can be dwarfed if you get in to the workflow layer and start to provide business process improvements relative to workflow; you can get far beyond that average,” he said. “In addition to the cost savings there is the contribution to an organisation’s sustainability goals.”

Leighton Contractors, a managed print services customer since 2006, had a reduction of 50 percent in its print power consumption, while other customers had experienced reductions in their print carbon footprint of about 70 percent, Johasky said.

In order to gain these kinds of benefits, however, some cultural adjustment would likely be required for CIOs if they were to move beyond IT to include print as part of their domain, Roswell Jones said.

“Most of the costs associated with print lie in the workflow layer, which few CIOs recognise as their problem,” he said. “Say you have to do some discovery process due to some fraud occurring; that cost is born by the audit committee, operations or finance -- the CIO wouldn’t think of it as their problem.

“But, in a world where information management becomes the role of the CIO -- not information technology, but where information is -- lifecycle management becomes part of that role. It’s in the workflow layer where that occurs, so the big cost of print becomes the responsibility of the CIO.”

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Tags HPGartnermanaged print services

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