4 Useful Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) Features

Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment

Why Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment?

As the workplace evolves, the technology supporting document management and printing will change with it. Today, mobile printing and cloud access are must-haves for businesses looking to maximize workplace efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, many businesses are dismayed either by the cost or the lack of all-in-one print software solutions available.

That’s where Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) comes in. ICE is a basic all-in-one solution to a number of modern office document management and printing needs. Below are four useful Ricoh features your office can put to use immediately.

Scan-to-Cloud

If your office is moving towards storing documents on the cloud, Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment offers a convenient scan-to-cloud feature. With it, you can quickly scan your documents from your MFP directly into cloud programs including Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Office 365, Evernote and SharePoint.

Optical Character Recognition

ICE’s optical character recognition feature is great for both companies with an extensive electronic document filing system already in place and those just looking to dip their toe into electronic document management. ICE’s optical character recognition feature will convert the text in your physical documents into searchable and editable digital documents, making it easier to manage, share, and secure these documents.

Secure Print Release

Ricoh ICE also provides basic secure printing without additional access cards or fobs. Simply email your documents to print@iceprintcloud.com and enter the release code you receive back into any Ricoh ICE printer. ICE’s secure print release feature is great for office’s looking to avoid printer waste or install a simple secure print solution.

Mobile Printing

The email method outlined above also allows you to easily print documents from any phone or laptop, even if you aren’t connected to your office’s network. Simply send these documents via email to the printer, and pick them up whenever you are ready. No need to worry about someone else taking your documents before you arrive.

Where to get Ricoh Integrated Cloud Environment

ICE’s features extend far beyond the four components outlined above. Ricoh also has designed specialized packages for numerous industries, like legal and education, that offer unique features needed in that field. For example, ICE can provide a Bates stamping function for law firms.

Are you ready to see how Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment can benefit your business? Contact our office technology experts today by filling out our contact form or call (612) 861-4000 for immediate assistance.

What is managed print services?

what is managed print services?

This is part one of our new managed print services blog series. Stay tuned as we answer questions about MPS, its benefits and some common MPS software solutions.

Whether you’ve heard of managed print services (MPS) before or are just learning about it for the first time, we promise our new MPS series will have something for you. In this introductory article we’ll define what managed print services are, their benefits and how you can get started with one.

What is managed print services?

Managed print services is a program designed to monitor and optimize your office’s printing environment. It accomplishes this through analysis of your current equipment, gathering information about your company’s needs and providing comprehensive strategies to improve overall efficiency.

Managed print services take a long-term approach by continuously monitoring your devices and their use. In doing so, your MPS provider maximizes productivity by taking control of your printing environment. They accomplish this by performing tasks like automatically delivering toner, providing routine maintenance and studying usage data. In short, having a managed print service means you’ll spend less time worrying about your printers and more time focused on your on core business.

Managed print services generally include:

  • Conducting an assessment of your current printing environment.
  • Monitoring and optimizing your devices.
  • Delivering supplies — like paper and toner — as needed.
  • Streamlining printer access.
  • Alerting you of potential issues and offering solutions.
  • Providing advanced data about equipment.
  • Training employees on equipment use.

To learn more about managed print, visit our MPS page.

Do I need a managed print service?

So now that you know what a managed print service is, how do you determine if you need one?
While almost every organization can benefit from print management, whether or not you need MPS is largely dependent on three factors:

1. Number of employees
2. Size of printer fleet
3. Document dependence

Organizations with a large number of employees and/or printers are most likely to see immediate substantial benefits from an MPS program. This is due to the difficulties these organizations often face trying to manage a large fleet and/or ensuring that their equipment is adequate enough to meet their staff’s needs. Both tasks are time-consuming and difficult to perform without imaging equipment expertise.

Additionally, organizations that work in document intensive fields, such as law firms and healthcare groups, are also more likely to benefit financially from MPS solutions. These organizations have extensive printing needs and downtime means lost profit. If you can’t afford downtime, managing your own equipment and supplies can be an unneeded headache that really could cost your business down the road.

At the very least, every institution can benefit from a managed print consultation. Most MPS providers will conduct one free of charge and it’s a great way to gain insight into your current printing environment. At the conclusion of a managed print study, the provider will present you with device usage data and strategies to reduce your printing expenses. Therefore, regardless of your industry, an MPS study is always worthwhile.

How much will a managed print service save me?

While the answer to this question depends on your organization’s unique situation, there are some general statistics that serve as a good baseline. A recent InfoTrends study found that organizations in the legal, healthcare and financial sectors slashed their printing costs by close to one-third. Here’s the breakdown by industry:

Legal – 41 percent.
Financial – 33 percent
Healthcare – 27 percent

How can I get started with MPS?

Alright, so you’ve decided to take the next step and start shopping for print management partner; what steps should you take to get started? The first step is to contact an MPS company to gain additional insight into your printing needs. If you were to contact Metro Sales, for example, we would perform a comprehensive print study of your organization. We would do so by installing non-invasive software to monitor your device usage and gain a better understanding of where your inefficiencies lie. From there, we’d recommend devices and strategies to help reduce printing costs and improve office productivity.

What should I look for when choosing a managed print services provider?

While cost is obviously important, you should also consider many other factors when choosing an MPS solutions provider. Remember, managed print is really a partnership between two organizations; you’re trusting the MPS company to monitor usage and keep your equipment running smoothly. As such, it’s paramount that you truly feel comfortable with your MPS partner.

To that effect, we recommend that you learn as much about the MPS company as possible. Ask for their relevant industry experience and industry specific references. In this way, you can get an accurate read on how well suited they are to deal with your sector’s unique demands.

Finally, consider any additional solutions you may wish to enact. Government organizations, for example, often desire secure printing solutions. Print quotas, meanwhile, are very popular among educators. Take some time to study some of the more common software options and make a list of the features you’d like to implement. This will definitely help streamline the shopping process.

Curious about what managed print services could do for your organization? We’re offering a free office technology consultation to help you find out. Request one today by calling us at 612-861-4000 or filling out our consultation form. Thanks for reading and we’re looking forward to helping you improve your office!

Have a question you’d like us to answer about MPS? Leave a comment below and we’ll gladly provide an answer.

6 Questions to Ask When Shopping for a New Copier

new copier shopping guide

Choosing a new copier can be intimidating and dealers don’t always make the process easier. With a litany of technical terms and the overemphasis some dealers place on selling certain models, it’s no wonder that organizations dread shopping for copiers and printers.

However, choosing a new copier doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it’s actually a breeze if you know the right questions to ask. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of six questions to consider when shopping for a new machine. Answering these queries ahead of time will help remove a lot of the unnecessary stress from the shopping process.

How many copies will I make?

While obvious, the first question you should ask is how many copies you’ll be making per month. If you think your organization will have very light usage, then you can probably get by with a personal machine. If, however, you plan on making thousands of copies monthly, you’re going to need something a little more powerful. Below are some general recommendations from Office Depot based on your average number of monthly copies:

2,000: personal copier
2,000-25,000: business model
25,000-75,000: commercial copier

While these guidelines aren’t perfect, they do provide a good baseline to start the conversation.

Do I need a color copier?

Next, you should ask yourself if you really need a color copier. Black and white copiers can be significantly less expensive than their color counterparts and could save you some money. If you make little to no color copies, a black and white machine will save you from paying for an unneeded feature.

Alternatively, if you do have some color copying needs, consider whether these jobs could be outsourced. For example, customers who perform one or two big color jobs a year, like an annual report, could easily send these projects to a dedicated document services provider. Some dealers, like Metro Sales, even have their own document services division to make this option more convenient for customers.

Do I need managed print?

While technical specifications are commonly the focal point of discussion, you shouldn’t forget about software. Print management software is a powerful tool that can be used across industries to achieve a multitude of goals. For example, print management is often employed in the education sector to track usage and assign print quotas by department. Government groups, meanwhile, rely on user restriction features to keep sensitive documents secure.

Make sure to let your consultant or sales representative know if you’re looking for advanced managed print capabilities. Doing so could save you from having to backtrack down the road. While most modern commercial copiers are compatible with standard print management software, there are some limitations. PaperCut, case in point, works better with certain print languages.

Even if you aren’t considering managed print software at this point, it’s still worth bringing it up. Discussing your options when buying your copier puts you in a better position in the future should you decide to add print management. This is due to the fact that some machines are better suited for certain software solutions and not all dealers offer the same options. Make sure your copier and vendor can handle the software solution you would choose if you added a managed print service. Otherwise, you could end up disappointed when you realize your dealer doesn’t offer your preferred solution.

What graphic capabilities does my machine need?

If you’re going to be doing a lot of color printing and need precise color reproduction, then the graphic capabilities of your printer are going to play a crucial role in your decision. In this case, you should make sure you ask your vendor about maximum print resolution and color control. Production printers generally offer the greatest graphic capabilities and five-color management. Drivers can also influence quality, so ask your consultant about these as well.

How fast should my copier print?

While not important to every organization, print speed can be a major factor within certain industries. If you’re making copies for customers, for example, you’re going to want a copier that’s quick and easy to use. If, on the other hand, you’re getting a copier primarily for office use, an average speed copier will likely do the job just fine.

As always, however, the right solution depends on your individual situation. If you’d like additional help or simply want to gather more information, contact our team of knowledgeable office technology consultants. We’ll happily answer any queries and will even perform an equipment consultation at no charge!

Call us today at 612-861-4000 or contact your local copier dealer.