Q&A With David Brown: Evolutions in Fleet Management

One of the questions we’ve heard most frequently over the last year or so is “is managed print still relevant?” The pandemic and subsequent work-from-home/hybrid office models have raised some questions about print’s place in the office while also driving more organizations to turn to cloud-hosted software models and users to take advantage of mobile solutions like laptops and tablets. With all that in mind, we wondered what place fleet management software had in the workforce, whether managed print software providers had needed to make any adjustments, and how much the MPS landscape has changed over the years.

To start, we spoke with David Brown, manager of KPAX Business Services at ACDI. A veteran in the MPS space, we wanted to get his thoughts on the current market, as well as some more information on the KPAX solution.

So what exactly is KPAX?

KPAX is a printer fleet management solution designed for today’s customer environments.  Whether the clients are large enterprises or small office/home office customers, KPAX has a deployment solution that fits.

Was KPAX designed to solve specific pain points? Has it evolved beyond its original intent?  

KPAX is designed to make printer fleet management simple and to eliminate the growing hassle of disconnected customers.  Where KPAX has solved a particularly problematic pain point is with disconnected DCAs (Data Collection Agents) or agents.  Most printer fleet management software solutions continue to deploy their agents to customer workstations or servers.  For a growing number of customers, this is no longer adequate.  KPAX offers the Liberty Agent, which is a standalone box, for difficult-to-manage environments (for example, no server, users with low IT skills, etc.)

What is printer fleet management in 2021? It’s not what it was in 2001 – how have you seen it evolve?  

In 2021, we’re still looking to do many of the same things we were doing back in the early 2000’s—get actionable information from customers’ print devices to provide print as a service.  That said, customer environments have evolved dramatically.  Instead of customers opting to host business applications onsite, many are moving to cloud-hosted models. At the same time, their employees are now using laptops and tablets.  The natural outcome is that there are fewer opportunities to install a software-based agent or DCA.  If you can’t install an agent or, as is more likely the case, the agent is installed where it will soon lose connection, the environment cannot be managed.  This has been the evolution of fleet management.  Laptops and the cloud are rendering the traditional solutions ineffective and obsolete.

Where does print management fit in a hybrid work world? How does KPAX fit?  

We’re seeing more and more organizations adopt some sort of hybrid or flexible working model.  As a result, managing small offices and work from home environments for customers is becoming increasingly more essential for service providers.  Having diversity in deployment of the solution is a necessity.  KPAX meets the need for deployment diversification with flexible and smart software agents and with the Liberty agent.

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