How to Choose the Best Universal Print Driver for Your Mobile Work Force

The burgeoning mobile work force is on track to grow to more than 1 billion by the year 2011, with nearly 75 percent of the work force in the United States going mobile. The move to a virtual work environment can increase productivity and reduce overhead costs, but supporting these agile workers' printing needs can be a time-consuming challenge for IT staffs. By choosing the right Universal Print Driver solution for your mobile work force, Knowledge Center contributor Richie Michelon explains how you can better manage the print output of your enterprise's mobile work force.


Printing from the road, or even from a different floor in their own building, has been difficult for the traveling employee. When it comes to IT support for the mobile workforce, one often overlooked or low-prioritized area is print support. But with employees on the go, instant access to accurate, printed information is often critical to keeping business processes running smoothly. Employees who travel frequently, work from satellite offices or even move from place to place within one building often face big challenges when it comes to printing their documents.

Let's take a look at the three steps mobile workers need to take in order to print:

Step No. 1: Workers have to get up from their notebook computers and find a device capable of printing their documents. This involves finding the right device to print in color, duplex or use advanced finishing options.

Step No. 2: They then have to figure out how to connect to that device by determining its IP address, Domain Name System (DNS) name or print queue.

Step No. 3: Next, mobile workers must download and install a driver. Or they need to call IT, open a help ticket and wait for a support tech to come and install it so they can send their jobs to the printer.

With the need for multiple printer brands, models and devices within an organization to handle an assortment of printing needs, IT departments have become accustomed to supporting dozens, if not hundreds, of disparate printer drivers.

By deploying a Universal Print Driver (UPD) that provides users and network administrators with a single driver interface that communicates with multiple printers from different vendors, IT managers can reduce printer support requirements, install or upgrade printers in a fraction of the time, and reduce the labor and overhead needed to support network printing. This cuts overall printing costs for the organization and increases user satisfaction with IT's print services.