How one man (and Mobility Print) saved a Canadian school district
“If we’re talking work wise, stress wise, life – I love you. I love you, okay?”
I wish all feedback was as warm and fuzzy as Rob Cover’s. But then again, not everyone’s got a job like Rob – one that tasks him with heroically coordinating oodles of student and staff printing every day.
So it figures any sort of help is hugely appreciated. But what’s got him so grateful? Well, I’d say it’s mostly because he’s a downright lovely guy.
But if you ask him, PaperCut’s Mobility Print might have a bit to do with it.
124,000 students, one spirited manager
That number isn’t a typo. Though Rob might wish it was, given he’s the Assistant Manager of School Technology Operations at the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) in Ontario, Canada.
It basically means he heads up a team responsible for implementing all things tech, and making sure they’re working smoothly.
YRDSB also boasts 15,000 employees, 177 elementary schools, and 33 secondary schools. So needless to say, his job’s an absolute doozy at the best of times.
It’s a huge testament to the passion and character that oozes from him as you chat about his beloved job and district – and I’d say you’re in good stead with him in your problem-solving corner.
YRDSB’s problems prior to PaperCut
Too many different devices in the kitchen
Naturally, with that many users, setting up mobile printing isn’t a simple task – especially with everyone bringing a bunch of different devices and brands to the table.
“It was a ‘Wild West’ show with everybody buying their own printer – it was just absolutely nuts,” Rob says.
And as he discovered, it was something that proved far too much for their solution before PaperCut.
“We tried like hell to manage mobile printing for devices like Chromebooks. With our old system, services would fall off a domain, we’d lose printers, we’d have to re-establish printers… It was a hard job keeping that going.”
Sunk costs, and using what you’ve got
Identical devices could’ve been brought in for every user, but that would’ve been far from sensible, let alone feasible. Not to mention, the YRDSB board understandably has a sensitivity to costs.
“We can’t afford to buy laptops for all the kids, so we’re leveraging iPads, Android tablets, Chromebooks, and everything else they’ve already brought in themselves.”
Then there were your more “creative” kids who’d worked out how to bypass the quota system altogether, further straining the district’s print infrastructure budget.
“They’d figure out a way to print directly to a printer… They’d circumvent any kind of charging mechanism.”
With so much already invested by the district and students alike, a clean device slate or similar simply wasn’t realistic.
A new solution that actually worked was necessary.
How Mobility Print cut costs and just worked
Device neutral + device native = no problems
“All these mobile devices we’d invested tons of money in we couldn’t use. Along comes Mobility Print, and bada-boom: our problems are gone.”
Implementing Mobility Print at YRDSB was nothing short of a godsend to Rob. Being incredibly easy to roll out and manage was just a bonus on top of its ease of use and compatibility.
“Once we went to rollout, it was literally 25 minutes – run a script and done. Simple. I’d say that 90% of printer-related issues we had before no longer exist because of PaperCut.”
It also gave him a lot less to sweat on the upkeep front:
“I really like the fact that it automatically updates. So once you put that Mobility Print client on the secondary server, it updates itself – I don’t have to go and manage it.”
Perhaps what’s most telling is how often Rob finds himself wanting to showcase Mobility Print in an everyday setting.
“Every time I can demonstrate this [Mobility Print] to them, I go up to them and say, ‘Hey, have you got your iPad? Let’s go right now’. They love it.”
Tracking, auditing, and reporting for days
BYOD printing wasn’t the only thing solved by Mobility Print. Rather, it also surfaced some nifty reporting and behavior-change capabilities included in the PaperCut package.
“The software’s great in that I can deliver all kinds of sophisticated reporting to local schools. We send an executive summary of printer use to each school’s principal to highlight any misuse or problem users.”
It’s also become an invaluable tool for convincing his peers and management to do things more cost-effectively, and less wastefully.
“I’m trying to help them understand: maybe it’s time to remove those [printers] altogether and get copiers instead, which cost only 0.4 cents a side. PaperCut gives me great visibility to help me with those challenges.”
Rob, YRDSB, and PaperCut today
Nowadays, Rob and YRDSB are doing all they can to leverage the PaperCut solution – like having recently implemented a charge-back system in the secondary schools.
As for Rob on a more personal level?
“I can’t stress how well PaperCut has matched – it’s the best decision we’ve made. Before it was all kinds of headaches, but my gosh, it’s made my life so much easier.”
You deserve it, mate!