Apps, just like the ones on your smartphone, are a major reason for the revolutionizing of printers from simple machines to advanced technological investments.
No longer are printers simple machines that do exactly what their name implies; they are now modernized to the point that they can almost count as another employee in the workplace.
This is thanks, in large part, to applications that can be downloaded and used as needed, to increase productivity in the workplace.
As a print vendor that partners with Xerox, which maintains an App Gallery with over 70 applications, we’ve become intrinsically familiar with the pros and cons of printer apps and want to share that insider knowledge to help you figure out whether apps may be a good investment for your situation.
Because apps are just that, investments, which means the majority of them will cost money and should be vetted out before purchasing.
The truth is apps are a beneficial tool for the office---but only if you need their features and will use them regularly. If you won’t frequently use apps, then they will not be worth investing in for your workplace.
As a disclosure, we will be providing examples from Xerox’s App Gallery because that’s where our expertise lies, but many brands include apps as an option.
Even if you don’t have a Xerox machine, the same logic from this article will still apply, you just might not have the specific apps on your non-Xerox machine that will be used as examples in this article.
With that being said, let’s dive into the pros and cons of printer apps to help you decide whether they are something that could be worth investing in for your business.
3 Pros of Printer Apps
Let’s first look at the benefits of printer applications and what they can do for your company:
Increase Office Productivity
The number one thing printer apps can do for your business is increase general office productivity and streamline document processes.
What does this mean, exactly?
Well, by downloading apps designed to make simple office tasks, like printing copying and scanning, quicker, it subsequently increases productivity in the workplace by cutting down on the time it takes to do regular office chores.
An example in the Xerox App Gallery is Scan to Cloud Email, which is a free application that grants you the ability to scan hardcopy documents and send them to the desired email addresses.
A more robust productivity app would be the Xerox Note Converter, which converts handwritten notes into a Microsoft Word document. Because it’s more intricate, the app costs money, with its price ranging from $5 a month, $49 a year or $119 for three years.
Some applications are built to serve specific industries, which means they are made to aid the daily processes of specific work environments, such as legal, healthcare and education.
For more information on industry-specific applications, read these blogs:
Remove Manual Data Entry
Another pro to investing in printer apps is the ability to decrease manual data entry, and thus, free up more time to do revenue-generating tasks.
The “Connect” apps in the Xerox App Gallery represent good examples of the elimination of typical human-driven tasks in businesses, such as manually entering data or conducting expense reporting.
Some of the “Connect” applications listed in the Xerox App Gallery:
For instance, if you use Salesforce as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, the Connect for Salesforce app reduces the need to manually enter data into the CRM by digitizing documents instantly and organizing them accordingly.
Other apps such as Connect for Sage Accounting and QuickBooks Online speed up the expense reporting process that would normally have to be done manually.
Automating Basic Human Tasks
As you can likely postulate from the previous two pros, printer apps make office life easier by automating the mundane tasks that define most work environments.
These can range from summarizing large documents using AI technology, to combining scanning and printing in one app to translating documents directly from the printer into a language of choice.
A few examples in the Xerox App Gallery include:
Xerox Auto-Redaction, which allows you to select Personally Identifiable Information, or custom words and phrases, and redact it while keeping the rest of the document intact, thus ensuring that sensitive information is not compromised.
Remark Test Grading, which gives teachers the ability to scan completed answer sheets for tests to automate the grading process.
Touchless Access, which is a free application that allows you to scan a QR code from the printer’s user interface with your mobile device, affording you the ability to control the machine from your phone
Freeing up time for employees to work on more pertinent tasks is a major benefit of having apps that automate office tasks to make them more time-efficient.
For an overview of the top Xerox apps, read our blog on the top 10 Xerox printer apps for a list of the best apps in the company’s App Gallery.
3 Cons of Printer Apps
Now that we’ve gone through the benefits of printer apps, let’s look at a few of the drawbacks to investing in applications for your printer:
The Majority of Apps Cost Money
The catch with apps for your printer is the catch for most everything in life: it will likely cost you money to download, although it’s usually not a significant amount.
While there are free applications on the Xerox App Gallery, such as Auto Copy, Quick Link and all the “Mobile Solutions” apps, the majority of the apps cost money, and it is likely that way across all brands that offer apps as a feature.
On the Xerox App Gallery, there is usually a choice to either opt-in on a monthly, yearly or multi-year basis, with prices varying accordingly.
For example, Xerox has many cloud-based applications, such as Connect for Microsoft 365 and Connect for Dropbox, that let you collect, store, print and scan documents in the cloud.
Most of Xerox’s cloud-based apps are priced per device at a rate of $10 a month, $99 a year or $208 for three years.
Notice that the cloud-based apps are priced per device. A lot of the apps in the App Gallery are also priced per Xerox device, which means you would have to buy the app on every Xerox machine you want to include the app on. There are exceptions to this, however.
Some apps can be priced by volume, as well. Connect for Concur is an example of this, as it is priced according to the number of receipts you account for in a month (i.e. 1,000, 5,000, 10,000).