If recent research by Dataquest is anything to go by, network printing is poised to replace telephone usage as the largest business service expense.
The 1997 research found network printing volumes had doubled since 1993, mainly due to the practice of multiple original printing or "mopying".
Encouraged by hardware manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard in order to promote their mopying products, the practice involves printing multiple document copies on a desktop printer and results in the increase in printer consumables expenditure and the decline in shared network productivity.
With this in mind, it is surprising that network printing management is an administrative "discipline" still in its infancy.
Not so for Sydney-based cost control systems developer Billback Systems, whose team realised the market potential for a network printing management application early enough to start developing its Network Print Control (NPC) software three years ago.
"What we delivered is a quality software solution for a problem that has plagued managers for years - how to identify, allocate and reduce the cost of network printing," Daniel West, Billback's manager for market development, told ARN.
According to West, Billback's Windows-based application "manages access to local area network-connected print devices and captures details of all print jobs", such as page count, file name, network login, date and time. It then sends all the information to the NPC manager, allowing administrators to generate reports that are crucial to understanding and minimising printing costs, as well as allocating and redistributing network print hardware in an organisation.
Seeing network printing management as a "high-growth segment of the expense management market", Billback is now offering resellers an opportunity to "sell both Network Print Control and associated services into their existing client base".
Eldean Ward, general manager at Billback, explained that the company's reseller channel will be organised in two tiers.
"The top tier will consist of systems integrators that would be able to go out, sell the product as a part of their overall solution and provide service," Ward said.
Billback's tier two, aimed at companies with no technical sales ability, will act as agents for NPC, referring their leads to the top tier.
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