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Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

Decluttering – at home and away

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A couple of months ago, we ran a blog article questioning what lessons we might learn as we paused during the COVID pandemic. The externally imposed pause was an opportunity to take stock and do some cleaning up before things started moving forward again.

This was and is the case for both our personal and professional lives. On the personal side, many of us spent some time getting rid of things that were no longer needed. Organizing the house, garden, shed, etc. turned out to be in the top three COVID-19 activities (after gardening and painting/redecorating).

The show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”  ranked high in the most watched shows in many countries, and people queued up for hours at waste disposal sites. In some ways, that paints a nice picture of a new attitude: if you don’t need it, get rid of it! And what’s true at home can also be said for our offices. Let’s take a look at some things we really don’t need there anymore.

1. Print servers

Those good old print servers… still seen by some as a solution rather than a problem. But the benefits Windows print servers offer are miniscule compared to the headaches they have been causing for decades —  especially in complex environments with SAP and other backend applications. Is printing not working properly? Put in another server. Still not quick enough or not working as it should? Add another one! Sound familiar? The real result is added cost and growing complexity.

A far better solution is to go serverless, either by moving print management to the Cloud or by implementing a direct IP printing solution. This leaves you with an organized, structured, cost efficient, and fully managed print infrastructure with none of the pain that comes with a multitude of Windows print servers.

2. Mainframe Archives

Perhaps it’s the fear of losing data that makes most organizations so protective of their mainframe archives. While many companies intend to retain their mainframe applications, accessing data stored there is a real challenge. Some feel a sense of security knowing all that data is still right where it has always been. But when a document from the mainframe is needed, that opens a can of worms. Mobile devices and laptops read data in PDF and other modern file formats, not the legacy formats in which the documents were originally generated.

An archive modernization effort can bridge the gap between legacy applications and modern IT systems. Once a modernization effort is complete, any and all documents can be retrieved, shared, printed and stored within minutes on any device. In fact, archive modernization may be the biggest “clean up” opportunity on this list, closely followed by print server elimination. Both are complex undertakings but represent significant potential savings.

3. USB printers

A few of these little printing devices have managed to survive the first and second generation of MPS rollouts. Some people are so determined to keep a personal device that they simply cannot part with them. But these printers have nothing over the advanced network printers with their low per-page costs and multitude of functions. If you run across a USB printer in your office, please donate it to a local museum as they will very soon be extinct.  

4. Faxing devices

They are still around. It actually wasn’t that long ago that many solution providers supported the use of fax machines. But since most multifunction printers also comes with fax functionality, there really is zero need for standalone faxing devices. What’s more, there is a growing number of solutions that make faxing redundant in even those industries that used to heavily depend on this technology (healthcare, legal, logistics, manufacturing). The fax machine is quickly becoming obsolete, just like USB printers are.

It feels good to get organized and get rid of things that are no longer needed. Somehow in the office environment, we held on to legacy products and solutions simply because they were there. But just like those blue jeans that haven’t fit you since you were in your twenties, you have probably outgrown your mainframe archive, print server, USB printer, or fax machine. If you still have them, get rid of them. Your bottom line will thank you!

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