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April 8, 2020

What a Sys Admin Wants Sys Admins to Know About Printing

My name is Nick, and I am a Sales Engineer with Tricerat. Coming to Tricerat with a Systems Administrator background has given me a valuable perspective when looking at Tricerat’s functionality. One of the main talking points for print management is the pain points of dealing with printing in virtual environments. Over the last 7 years that I have been a Systems Administrator, I’ve gotten to know those all too well.

My previous company had a fairly mobile workforce and the occasional company-wide remote situation, for weather-related closings, etc. With folks working from home, they of course expected to be able to print to their home printers while they were working on one of our RDS servers. After speaking to the user and finding out exactly what kind of printer they had, we had to hunt down a driver that matched it and was also compatible with Windows server OS’s. While the majority of these were straight forward, if we had known about the ScrewDrivers software, it would have saved some valuable IT resources and time. Since Screwdrivers doesn’t need any drivers installed on the terminal server, this would have made our task of managing those print drivers non-existent.

With a total of 7 locations in the MD/DC/VA area, our workforce was very mobile between the various locations. Whether it was a project manager going to the DC office to help with a project, or the director of design traveling between locations to meet with his various designer teams, we needed a solution that made it easy for those folks to find the printers that they needed based on where they were. So how do we handle that? The most obvious way, and the most commonly used solution was to just call IT and have them remote in and map the printers that are needed for that location. And while this worked, it still ate up IT resources with constant calls. The way that I wound up resolving this, was to use a custom app that the Director of IT developed that ran updates for the industry specific applications we used.

I was able to add some drop-down menus that had the main MFP for the office, as well as the main design plotter for the office. This update app was on every user’s desktop, so all they had to do was to open it up as usual and select a printer from the drop down. No more help desk calls right? Well kind of. While some folks took advantage of this and followed the instructions that IT communicated to them, others were still calling in for us to map printers. If I’d known that Tricerat software had functionality to completely resolve this concern I would have jumped at the chance to try it.

Tricerat offers IP Address range assignments, so I could have assigned the 1 MFP at each office to different ranges of IP’s, and since each location had its own range, this would have been ideal. With this functionality, a salesperson could have walked into the DC office, connected to the office Wi-Fi, and Tricerat’s software would detect that they are logging in from that range, and assigned printers accordingly. No need to call IT, no need to launch any custom apps, it just works.

Now these are just a few pain points I had with print environments that I managed, but they are not the only ones. Having been in internal IT and coming to Tricerat, it really shined a light on the value that our software brings to the customer. Printing was never my main concern, or main source of helpdesk tickets for my company, but eliminating that source of tickets would have helped me stay focused on various other projects that we had going on, and more importantly the end user experience would have been greatly improved. With Tricerat’s solutions, users don’t have to call IT before they start working, they just get to it.

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