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5 Reasons Why I Like Print Audit Best Over PaperCut

Ask yourself, "why are traditional copier dealers making the move to offering managed services & IT offerings".  For those of us that answered, "because we can own the network", well that would be the right answer. 
Thus, if one of our customers is interested in a new imaging system, we would be the first choice. One stop shopping!! 
Which leads me to the first and most profound reason why I like Print Audit best over PaperCut.
1) Outdated Business Model
PaperCut offers the standard vendor-reseller business model for solutions sales.  This traditional model reserves the largest share of benefits for the end user customers and the software vendor. Not much is left to the office equipment dealer except for the margin on the initial sale, which is often sacrificed to overcome competition from other dealers offering the same solution. Missing in this reseller model is access to ongoing, recurring revenue, pricing control and flexibility in licensing, and most importantly solution stickiness ie. the customer can leave the dealer and take the PaperCut solution with them.
Print Audit Premier Dealers control the software, and can offer many different finance models to the their customers. Some dealers are using a monthly cost per page model, others a monthly cost per seat model, and others that include "x" amount of licenses in with the lease.  The point is that you the dealer can be creative with your offerings while always retaining ownership of the licenses.

2) Limitations in functionality (for some important verticals and business objectives)  


PaperCut does not offer a strong feature set in the area of pre-sales (MPS) assesment, cost recovery for professional service firms, and rules based print for small, medium and enterprise sized business & organizations.  These represent a substantial portion of the average office equipment dealers requirements and potential business. PaperCut's strengths are centered on the pay for print services used in many higher education environments as well as Secure Print Release.  The latter, which is often refered to as "pull" printing can be viewed as a relatively blunt mechanism with a substantial but indiscriminate impact on print volumes and workflow in most environments it is introduced.


3) Server Based Architecture


PaperCut is a server based solution which can only track printing that is routed through a print server. Direct to IP printing is not an option for this solution. Also, tracking of local print requires the full installation of the server software on each desktop that hosts a local printer.  This would not appear to be a future friendly system given the fact that most printers are now being networked individually and therefore print server dependence is diminishing.  Also, PaperCut is dependent on Active Directory being utilized in the environment.


4) Hidden Costs


PaperCut NG is a very inexpensive solution on the face of it.  However, the standard NG capability is designed for reporting of print activity only.  Most of the functionality required to actually manage printing is considered additional to the NG version and is therefore charged separately. This includes Release Station functionality, Advanced client Licensing, Implementation Pack, Web Tools, Payment Gateway, and of course any SQL scripting support required for customizing the print management solution to the end user needs.  Also, when embedded tracking capabilities are required, users must upgrade to PaperCut MF solution which is priced substantially higher then the NG version, but includes the capabilities mentioned above (except for the scripting support).


Another hidden cost is the potential for unanticipated and undesirable impacts to page volumes and productivity in the end user environment.  Given the somewhat blunt nature of PaperCut's Pull print and the relatively inflexible rules based capabilities (12 pre-defined rules) which come standard to that solution, the introduction of print management using this tool set can have significant but unanticipated negative results to both the customer and the dealer in terms of cost, revenue and productivity.

5) Technical Support
PaperCut's Maintenance program offers email support only, direct from the manufacturer of the software.  Telephone support is handled by a North American distributor acting as a middle man for PaperCut's support services. This is relevant since most of the advanced integrations and functionality that PaperCut claims as part of their solution, requires scripting and non-standardized programming of the software in order to meet the specific needs of the customer environment. 
Support, without it, why sell it. Most of us have Authorized Dealerships, which means we get support from the manufacturer for technical, sales, pre-sales, supplies.  Can you imagine if your manufacturer notified you that you could only contact them in the future by email, and if you wanted to speak to someone you would have to now go through a third party!
Special thanx to the Print4Pay Hotel members that helped me with this!  Also, yes, Print Audit is a sponsor the Print4Pay Hotel.  However, from someone who owned a copier dealership for 12 years, and 33 years of down the street sales allows me the see the value of Print Audit Premier.
-=Good Selling=-

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Comments (2)

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Great Article!  Of course I am a bit biased...

I'm not sure if the reader who commented is familiar with the standard rules available in Print Audit 6/PCS Director.  They exist under the Printer Profiles section and can be implemented across the board with a click of the mouse. These basic rules address color usage, duplex print as well as limits on pages of print. By definition the basic rules apply across to board to all printing (subject to that Printer Profile).  These rules are also MUCH easier to apply than those in the "Advanced Rules" engine and I'm guessing would be similar to the "out of box" rules available in Papercut. However, most of our dealers and customers don't use these basic rules because they tend to be too broad based and intrusive. Our dealers seem to get much better use out of the Advanced Rules configurations which do not require any scripting, but can be easily customized to create virtually any combination of specific criteria for rules.  Customized selections are available for both determining what print behavior is flagged, and what actions are taken when a rule is violated. This ability to be more granular makes the Print Audit 6 Rules less intrusive and more appropriate for each circumstance that would give rise to the need for a rule in the first place .  This ensures that only specific behaviors cause a rule to be invoked.  It also allows the action/response to be customized to the circumstances.  This is critical if rules are to be used successfully and once again, no programming or scripting skills are required.

FYI - Print Audit also has MAC OSX tracking and embedded tracking for most of the Major OEM products available.    

I do like the control that the dealer has with Print Audit as well as the pre-sale MPS tools if you are one of their Premier dealers.  But, turning on various rules in PaperCut is MUCH easier than in Print Audit/PCS Director or other similar products in our industry.  Additionally, it works extremely well in environments in which Mac workstations are present, & their embedded (PaperCut MF) software works with most product lines which makes it easy to integrate if a client has a mixed environment.

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