A lesson in simplicity
Raj Wadhwa, Industry Marketing Manager, Xerox Canada
Great technology isn’t enough. Technology has to fit into people’s lives and adapt to their habits and priorities. And service providers who design solutions around that concept will be the big winners in 2013, according to Fast Company.
The business media company recommends focusing on simplicity — on what can be removed rather than added. Simplicity can be applied by structuring teams so they’re leaner and more effective. And mobile, in particular, is a primary tool to drive simplicity across products and services.
The principle of simplicity applies across all sectors, but it’s particularly relevant in education, where technology sprawl is all too common, as are tight budgets.
This year Xerox partnered with McGill University, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected universities. McGill’s printing infrastructure, however, was spread out over 170 buildings, resulting in a hard-to-manage environment with escalating costs.
McGill’s public printing devices were also operated by an antiquated coin-based system, which was understandably unpopular with students — but also caused back-office billing and reconciliation reporting headaches.
Xerox was able to streamline this environment with what McGill has dubbed uPrint, which allows any student or staff member to send a print job to the cloud and release that job at any device on campus. Software tracks usage and costs, while waste is kept to a minimum and privacy is protected (through post-print hard drive overwrite). Simple.
What many people don’t realize is that Xerox offers many of the same services for smaller institutions. St. John’s-Ravenscourt School — an independent university preparatory school in Winnipeg — is much smaller than McGill, but was facing similar challenges.
SJR was looking for ways to streamline its mixed fleet and control costs, but at the same time create an easy-to-manage solution that would allow teachers to print in the classroom.
Using Xerox’s Streamline Process, SJR has consolidated its fleet (previously 10 different brands and 42 different models) to 65 leased units. Now teachers have access to affordable colour printing in each classroom and the IT department can turn to Xerox for support and maintenance.
Students consume digital content on a daily basis, but they’re also increasingly creating it — often on their smartphones and tablets. SJR’s solution sets a foundation for the future by providing an option for mobile print to students, all while reducing overall costs.
The biggest benefit? Institutions of higher learning are able to focus on education, instead of technology. And colour can help in the classroom, too. A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts found that “thinking visually in colour promotes long-term meaningful learning and problem-solving achievement.”
And in a recent Harris Interactive survey, 77 per cent of students say colour documents boost their focus, interest and memory, while 85 per cent believe colour makes it easier to understand charts and graphs. And while 58 per cent of educators say colour improves learning and retention, 85 per cent say it’s also easier to gain budget for devices that impact learning.
It’s simple, really. “Leaders in simplification will continue to disrupt and transform,” says Fast Company. “As choices and options multiply, companies with solutions that can guide users through the mess will have an opportunity to become trusted advisers.”