Top marks for print management at Oxfordshire school

Editorial Type: Case Study Date: 2021-02-01 Views: 472 Tags: Document, Print management, Education, Workflow, Management, Cloud, PaperCut PDF Version:
The key thing about using PaperCut print management software at Holton's Wheatley Park School is that it is simple to deploy, and even more crucially, 'it just works'

Wheatley Park School, situated in Holton, Oxfordshire, is one of the UK's Google reference schools. The 1,150-pupil school pioneered the 1:1 Chromebook program in the UK. Running for five years now, the program draws visitors from around the world to observe Google Workspace and Chromebook integrations in education.

After using PaperCut in conjunction with Google Cloud Print for years, the impending deprecation of Google Cloud Print at the end of 2020 meant that the school needed a robust replacement. Sourcing one fell under the responsibility of Roger Nixon, Director of IT for the River Learning Trust (RLT) - a multi-academy trust responsible for 20 schools. Roger is based at Wheatley Park, one of the schools under RLT's purview, where he also teaches Chemistry.

Roger stated: "Wheatley Park is a Google reference school. We have a one-to-one Chromebook program that we've had running for four or five years. We essentially pioneered that program in the UK. We have people come and visit the school from across the UK and also from other countries - well, prior to COVID-19 we did! Our visitors see how we do things with Google Workspace and Chromebook and other integrations that we've built. We also show them some of the things we do with PaperCut as they are always interested in printing solutions with Chromebooks."

Talking about why he choose PaperCut, Roger explained: "We've been using PaperCut for a decade or more. Prior to that, there was no printing solution at the schools. So when charming students printed a hundred pictures and sent them to a classroom printer you'd get all this garbage appearing at the printer. Or you would find piles of other people's printing when you went to pick up your printing. We thought there had to be a better way of doing this and that was when we went to PaperCut.

“Over the years we have developed and built on our use of PaperCut especially as we've had lots and lots more Chromebooks. It's now the default print solution that we roll out in schools."

Like many, Roger had to consider his options when the time came to replace Google Cloud Print. "We run a one-to-one staff and students with Chromebook program, so we needed something that was quite robust printing-wise. We used Google Cloud Print for a number of years - it's been fine and had a lot of good points but also had the occasional trip up and failover which meant you needed to restart stuff. Mobility Print is generally very solid.

Cloud Print is being killed off by Google so it's really no longer an option. In terms of a managed print solution for Chromebook, Mobility Print is the obvious choice. We have looked at other print solutions but none of them work as well as Mobility Print."

Making the transition from Google Cloud Print to Mobility Print was made simple by how easy it is to use, as Roger explains: "You install it, pick your printers, push it out on the Google console and that's it. It takes minutes. There isn't anything to it. It's one of the simplest things I do. It just works. I have to deal with lots of technology companies and I have two categories of technology companies - those that I can trust that 'just work' and are no hassle, then there are those that I have to hassle all the time to make things work. PaperCut, fortunately, falls into the first category where things generally just work and if they don't, you fix it pretty quickly. We do have some complicated deployments at the bigger schools where you have a gazillion accounts and it does take a bit of set-up and management but even then, it isn't that difficult to set up once you've done it a couple of times."

Like many in a similar professional position to his, Roger has strong view on IT: "From my perspective, printers are one of the most hateful things in the known universe - they are the bane of my life. Mobility Print takes a little bit of that hate of printers away."

He commented that printers are just mechanical things that go wrong and cause hassle. If there is anything that can take some of that hassle away at least in terms of deploying printers , then that simplifies his life considerably. "That's what Mobility Print brings to the table," Roger stated. "If I had to try and deploy printers to lots of different devices and we didn't use Mobility Print, it would be a complicated technical challenge and it would be different for every site. Whereas with Mobility Print, you just install and away you go. You can be pretty much certain it's just going to work."

Roger has been reassured by the dependability of the Cloud Print feature, knowing that "This comes down to the simplicity of deployment, and just knowing it's going to work - because at the end of the day, people just want to be able to print without any hassle."

He added that: "Mobility Print's Cloud Print is really good because teachers can send a load of print jobs at home the night before and collect them in the morning without having to spend time in the day onsite doing it."

Roger is also encouraged by the feedback from users; or, rather, the lack of it: "You mainly hear when people can't print. That's the way it goes with IT. If everything is quiet that's a good thing, you can sit back and have a cup of tea. It's when printers don't work you have endless issues. Sometimes we get some feedback that it's nice to be able to scan to Google drive which we put on the copiers that support that and that works really well. The school business manager also wants to be able to follow up with someone over why they've printed so much. And they can do that because I give them a login to the backend and they can review the reports and cost centres and they can actually see that."

The real proof, though, is whether Roger would recommend PaperCut MF and Mobility Print to other schools. Already within the trust, it is the default printing solution. For any site that gets taken on, PaperCut is used. Only a couple, with a very good reason not to, don't have it - e.g. if a school doesn't have a physical server or is very small. "Whenever anyone asks me about print management solutions, it's PaperCut I would suggest. In education in the UK, it's pretty much the go-to solution. If you go on one of the forums like EduGeek and you ask 'What print management software should I use?' you will have about 10 replies all saying PaperCut. There may be some others that people mention occasionally but generally speaking, it's PaperCut that's recommended."

And it looks like it will remain that way for some time, thanks to PaperCut having 'a product that just works', as Roger concludes: "PaperCut is one of the things that just does what it says it does."

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