The cloud is an amazing thing. It is making entirely new levels of productivity and achievement possible as more and more businesses embrace the many services available on it. However, as businesses use more cloud-based apps, the need for a solid management system increases. Cloud storage management helps keep data and infrastructure organized.

Businesses leverage cloud apps such as office suites, G Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, CRM software, and secure file sharing to transform their offices into productivity powerhouses. In fact, it is estimated that at least 77 percent of all businesses are using one or more cloud applications as part of their operational infrastructure. These services often exist in different clouds but must still integrate with one another seamlessly. Fortunately, cloud storage management assists with this, ensuring that businesses retain the accessibility and functionality they need.

What Is Cloud Storage?

According to Techopedia, “Cloud storage is a cloud computing model in which data is stored on remote servers accessed from the internet, or cloud”.  At the core, the same principles of client/server and peer-to-peer networks are used. However, it is how these principles are applied that makes the software and services more “cloudlike.”

Cloud storage is the use of a service which maintain, back up, and store data which is then made remotely available to users over a network. Users can access this storage from anywhere – on any device – as long as the correct credentials are entered, and you are connected to the internet.

Benefits of Using the Cloud

The cloud delivers a host of significant benefits. These include:

  • Lower cost. Users pay for what they need, and the service is delivered over the internet. No more acquiring physical infrastructure, constant utility usage, and staff to manage it all.
  • Speed. The cloud exists on demand and is accessible as quickly as the internet connection will allow.
  • Efficiency. Helps organizations become more efficient by allowing users to easily capture and exchange information in one central place.
  • Productivity. The cloud makes it easier for users to access the tools they need quickly.
  • Disaster recovery. Backups and data are stored offsite, making recovery easier in the event of a worst-case scenario.
  • Security. The cloud is secure, keeping data stored out of reach of cyber criminals.

The Cloud Facilitates Business Success

The biggest impact of utilizing cloud technology in today’s workplace is centered on the ease of capturing and exchanging information for the purpose of becoming more efficient. Simplifying the end user experience helps employees stay focused on work. Plus, enabling an employee to become more productive speaks directly to the bottom line. 

Likewise, the cloud combines well with other productivity strategies. Process automation utilized in a cloud environment can have a big impact on streamlining business processes. 

A good cloud storage management strategy further amplifies the efficiency created by using the cloud. Since data often occurs in and sometimes moves between different cloud platforms, there still exists a risk that data gets lost, accidentally deleted, or duplicated. Cloud data management helps prevent this by keeping the entire cloud environment visible, regardless of whether or not there is more than one cloud.

How to Choose a Provider

As more businesses move toward cloud computing, more service providers are springing up. Choosing between them can be a headache but working with an expert from RJ Young can help cut through the array of choices. The right set of tools and platforms depends on the individual business. However, there are still a few things that all good providers have in common. Look for:

  • An emphasis on efficiency. The moving of business processes and workflows to the cloud is designed to make the business more efficient. A good cloud provider supports this.
  • A commitment to regular updates. Regular updates and using the latest software reflect a vested interest in keeping data secure while providing users with the best possible experience.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Using the cloud helps organizations cut unnecessary costs and a good provider understands that. 
  • Accessibility and speed of access. Data and tools should be available on demand, at a speed which keeps pace with the organization’s workflow.
  • A focus on data security. Data is the most important element of a business. A good cloud provider takes steps to encrypt its cloud and keep it safe.
  • The ability to integrate cloud services with other business processes. One sign that a provider is set up to help a company manage its cloud storage or services lies in its ability to integrate disparate systems to achieve total visibility.

The cloud brings the best of both worlds: accessible, powerful capabilities in a secure environment. A good provider likewise makes cloud services easy to use and manage.

Cloud Storage Management with RJ Young

The use of cloud services is becoming a prominent business strategy and making a huge impact on businesses. Therefore, companies need better ways to manage the variety of services and platforms which their employees use. A solid cloud management strategy helps tie these services together into a cohesive workflow.

We live in a connected world. If your company is looking to make an impact with Cloud Storage Management then contact RJ Young today. Discover how cloud managed services can connect your organization and make your processes more efficient.

The United States has leveraged tariffs against Chinese imports in a bid to offset the trade deficit. Many sectors of the American economy – from seafood to retail – will feel the effects of higher prices, more scarcity, and a rush to find new sources. Promotional items with logos are just one of the industries which will feel the effects of tariffs. Below outlines all you need to know on the US-China Trade War and how the tariffs will impact the price of promotional items with logo.

The United States imports almost $560 billion worth of goods from China every year while exporting just a fraction of that amount. Since the end of last year, Americans have watched a trade war break out between the two largest powers in the world as the United States has attempted to change this.

With import tariffs in excess of 25 percent, Americans should expect to see higher prices for certain items. However, here is what it means for American businesses which rely on imported goods from China either to resell or for their marketing efforts, including promotional items.

How the Promo Item Industry Is Being Affected

It is no secret that many items are manufactured in and exported from China. According to the US Department of Commerce, most Chinese imports occur in the electronics, machinery, and furniture industries. Consumer goods account for a significantly smaller portion of these imported goods.

Nonetheless, the trade war has shed light on the fact that most promotional items with logos are sourced in China, while few alternative sources are available. May’s new round of tariffs against Chinese imports affects nearly every promotional item across the board.

The promo item industry expects a general increase in prices for items sourced from China. For example, a pack of 12 stress balls might have previously been $2.66. With the tariffs in place, a 25 percent increase could raise this wholesale price to as much as $3.32 for that same pack.

What Items Are Included?

The latest rounds of tariff increases target some 5,000 items – everything from light bulbs to vodka and baby strollers. Among these include items that are more popular promotional items:

  • Ballpoint pens
  • Drinking and glassware products
  • Pen and pencil holders
  • Bags and totes

Expected Changes in the Industry

It is too early to tell how much the new tariffs will change the promo item industry. RJ Young is actively collecting information from suppliers and partner manufacturers. What is known:

  • Prices will fluctuate as tariffs are imposed, removed, and enforced. Both manufacturers and suppliers are dedicated to maintaining price stability as much as possible to avoid sudden and significant price hikes.
  • Both manufacturers and customers are interested in seeking alternative items, which may influence which promotional items with logos they choose.

What RJ Young Is Doing

1. Working with Manufacturers to Keep Prices Down

RJ Young is working tirelessly with manufacturers to get the best price and solution for customers. In many cases, this includes “next quantity” pricing strategy from some manufacturers.

In other words, this allows RJ Young to sell items at prices below the normal price for that quantity. For example, it may be possible to negotiate a price for 250 pieces as if a customer was buying 2,000 pieces.

2. Maintaining Speed and Quality of Delivery

RJ Young is analyzing supply chains and manufacturing logistics to ensure that the tariffs do not impact turnaround time for customers. Currently, there should be no delays in the delivery of promo items.

3. Researching Possible Alternatives

The reality that most promotional items come from China makes alternative sourcing difficult. However, RJ Young is working with manufacturers to identify suitable alternatives which meet the same quality and aesthetics as the original item. In such cases, the customer’s dedicated promo item specialist will reach out to discuss options.

In addition, RJ Young carries a selection of promotional products which are Made in the US. These items include Orca and Post-it® and may be found through selecting the Made in USA box in the search function on the online promotional store.

Promotional Items with Logos Remain an Excellent Marketing Strategy

Branded promotional items with logo(s) remain an excellent way to leave a company’s mark. Research shows that 71 percent of consumers will remember a brand that gave away a promotional product at a trade show. Likewise, brands which provided custom branded merchandise were likely to be seen more positively.

There is no doubt the trade war will affect the promo item industry. By working with RJ Young, they will communicate with manufacturers to secure the lowest prices and work with you to find alternative items.  A company’s promo items will remain a quintessential – and highly effective – part of a company’s marketing strategy.

RJ Young is committed to helping your company make a flawless impression. Do you have further questions about how we are handling our promotional item pricing and sourcing? Reach out and start a conversation today.

There are many printing services in Nashville for businesses to choose from when outsourcing major print jobs. Since printing is quintessential to businesses, the right (or wrong) choice can make (or break) an organization’s workflow. Therefore, it is critical to find a reputable printing service with demonstrated expertise, which also has the particular printing capabilities needed.

Finding the perfect match takes time, especially when services vary. Some companies offer a full line of outsourced print services, while others concentrate their expertise in a specialized way, such as digital printing or offset printing. However, all good printing companies exhibit a set of characteristics that set them apart from competitors. Here are six ways to know if a printing company is a good fit for your business.

1. The ability to print many types of jobs reliably

Some businesses outsource printing because they lack the printing capabilities to do a job themselves. Conversely, print specialists are experts in printing, and their equipment and methods should reflect this.

The right company uses modern, updated technology which is capable of handling a wide range of jobs. This ensures that the printing service will not only be able to print well, but also prints what your company needs. Commonly outsourced print jobs include:

  • Posters
  • Business cards
  • Letterheads, envelopes, folders, and labels
  • Banners (pop up and retractable banners)
  • Booklets, manuals, and magazines
  • High volume projects

Each requires a printer which can handle nontraditional paper sizes or quantities beyond what a typical office printer can handle. Likewise, these materials often represent the first contact a customer has with a brand. Therefore, a reliable printing service delivers on-demand printing, which meets due dates and quality expectations every single time.

2. Flexible and customized solutions

Not every business needs the same thing. The reality is that two companies, even in the same industry, may have different needs when it comes to printing. The right printing company recognizes this, and approaches print jobs from the perspective of providing solutions rather than just printed products, which are more or less the same across the board.

This also means that the right print service will emphasize the right solutions for you. Such an approach may involve recommending a client to a provider of a service or product which falls beyond the printing service’s scope.

3. Enhance an office workflow, not complicate it

Outsourcing printing is meant to save time and money for offices by simplifying their print environment. Therefore, an excellent printing service facilitates this by making the entire process as easy as possible.

Many print services also offer online services which make ordering documents and branded products easy. Still, others build customized online storefronts to reduce the number of steps it takes to print.

4. Follow legal compliance standards  

Discretion is part grit, part good business sense. Document security is critical in today’s world, where businesses handle loads of sensitive information regularly. Some of this may get outsourced, including batch invoices or even advertising materials not meant for the general public. 

An excellent print service recognizes the need to protect its clients’ information. Likewise, as printing experts, they will stay up to date on compliance regulations which govern the way such data is transmitted and stored. Companies should rest assured, knowing their sensitive information and trade secrets are safe.

5. Clear and straightforward costs

A good print service company prices its services in a manner which is clear and sensible. Transparent pricing reflects an understanding of the industry and what each job involves. There are many ways to price a job, including:

  • One flat fee
  • Per page
  • By volume for large jobs
  • Per month for ongoing or repeating tasks

Always look for clear pricing structures. The right print service will make sure clients understand how much a print job costs up front, rather than merely surprising them with a bill later.

6. They develop relationships with their clients

Printing is critically essential to the success of your business. The right printing company understands this and takes the time to develop a relationship with their clients. A pledge to develop a lasting relationship indicates that a company values its customers, and shows a willingness to understand a customer’s specific needs.


Premier Printing Services in Nashville

There are many printing services in Nashville, but only a handful with demonstrated skill and depth of expertise to adequately meet printing needs, whether through outsourced or managed print services. It is important to find a trusted print service provider with imaging experts who understand printing needs for a wide range of industries.

Start a conversation with a printing specialist today to learn what RJ Young can do for your company.

The demand for managed network services is skyrocketing. As the world grows more sophisticated technologically, businesses are being forced to keep up.

A managed network service, also known as managed IT services, is the use of a third-party provider to take care of a company’s IT and network infrastructure. This includes servers, cloud solutions, networks, telephone lines, and more. Each of these systems needs to be kept up-to-date, running, and secure. However, such a task can overwhelm even the most committed of IT departments.


4 Reasons Businesses Need Managed IT Services

Managed network services, or managed IT services, step in to provide much-needed support. Here are four reasons managed IT services are critical to any business.

1. There Are More Web-Connected Devices Everywhere

Internet-connected devices, also known as IoT, are everywhere – including in the workplace. This includes both personal devices and company devices such as:

  • Camera systems
  • Handheld devices
  • Laptops
  • Printers
  • Smartphones
  • Smart devices and wearables, like watches or activity trackers
  • Tablets
  • Smart speakers
  • TVs

While your IT department will be aware of company-provided devices, keeping track of the personal devices connected to the network represents a much harder task. However, this is critical to keeping your network secure.

More devices mean more opportunities for a breach to occur because there are more ways for malware or malicious actors to enter a network. It is like having more doors in a house. While each door may be locked, the chances increase that one of those locks will wear out unnoticed, or a door will accidentally remain unlocked, or a key will end up in the wrong hands.

2. Compliance and Security Are More Important Than Ever

As the amount of data swells, there is more focus on keeping it all secure. More legislation is being introduced and passed which governs how companies may or may not use personal data. In 2019, the US federal government has introduced a bill to increase the protection of user data on the internet.

Businesses, no matter how large or small, are expected to stay up-to-date with these shifting compliance requirements. They are also expected to conform to the latest security best practices in order to keep consumer and company data safe. However, just keeping up with the latest trends in cybersecurity is a challenge – hackers are continually targeting small businesses with creative tactics. 

Keeping up with all of this is a full-time job. Fortunately, managed network service providers are dedicated to doing just that.

3. Managed Services Deliver Lower Cost Expertise 

Though startups and small businesses may struggle with network functions or security challenges, there are few things seasoned IT professionals have never seen. Managed IT services mean access to experts and professionals who can help guide a company to better processes, stronger networks, and more effective uses of IT resources.

Managed IT services can help businesses sidestep the acquisition cost of the robust IT infrastructure and professional staffing that they need. Recruiting, hiring, training, and running an internal IT department can quickly increase a budget. For small businesses, the cost might prevent hiring more than just one lone professional. However, a managed network service provider makes sure that a company has the IT support it needs without the risk of burnout or overwork.

4. Internal IT Staff Are Needed Elsewhere

Managing a network involves a lot of rote tasks. Software needs updating. Servers need patching. Antiviruses need to be run. Occasionally, hardware needs to be replaced. These tasks are low-impact, laborious and boring. However, not doing them quickly leads to outdated infrastructure which will cause much bigger problems down the road. Businesses need up-to-date IT infrastructure in order to remain competitive and responsive to market changes.

A managed network service provider takes care of all of the daily tasks which go into keeping a network monitored and maintained. This helps keep internal IT staff focused on higher-level initiatives and bigger projects which help the business grow.


Let RJ Young Provide Managed IT Services for Your Business

Managed IT services, or managed network services, are critical to modern businesses. The high degree of digitization which is sweeping through the business world means that companies are dealing with more sophisticated technology and infrastructure. As digital processes which handle tremendous amounts of data become the status quo, security and compliance are taking an ever more central position of importance in businesses.

A managed network service provider helps companies overcome the challenges presented by these features. A company can get started on the right foot the first time around with the tools and infrastructure it needs to succeed.

RJ Young is thrilled to provide managed IT services to businesses in the Birmingham, AL, Huntsville, AL, Chattanooga, TN, and Nashville, TN areas. Start a conversation with a specialist today.

Workplace automation. It is the next big trend in the modern office as more and more businesses recognize the value of strategically deploying this powerful tool. Automation will have a significant impact on document workflow solutions in the future workplace. Process automation means more time spent focusing on high-value business activities, a reduction of errors in a workflow, and an increased ability to nimbly handle the massive amounts of data and documents which are a reality for the modern business.

In other words, process automation amplifies office productivity. RJ Young is excited to help businesses leverage automation in document workflow solutions to drive efficiency and achievement. 

Drive Productivity in Critical Processes

Process automation is the use of technology to automate day-to-day business tasks. It amplifies office efficiency by taking over laborious, but nonetheless, critical tasks. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Highly repetitive and cyclical tasks, such as data entry or payroll. 
  • Precision tasks where volume prohibits the ability to look over each instance, such as print quality control.
  • Document delivery, such as mailing.
  • Low-skill labor, such as document capture and archival. 
  • Tasks which must occur in real-time beyond regular business hours.
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity activities. 

Process automation makes workflow processes faster, smoother, and more efficient. It makes sure critical but often invisible processes – such as backups or patches – do not get overlooked. Moreover, it drives productivity in daily office workflows. 

Process Automation Makes Document Workflow Solutions Effortless

Process automation is especially useful in areas where an office must handle large amounts of data without error, such as in the case of document workflows. Documents and digital files are the lifeblood of many businesses. The modern business is expected to handle reports and data rapidly, and to do it with professionalism and poise. 

Fortunately, process automation makes document workflows effortless through an array of different strategies. Increase productivity by leveraging automation at any point of the document life cycle, including:   

1. Document Capture and Processing

Automated document capture means that forms and communications are routed directly to relevant personnel. This means no more vital pieces of information or contracts disappearing in an inbox or on a cluttered desk. Instead, information gets delivered to the right people, at the right time.

2. Transmission and Distribution

Automated electronic data interchanges handle the transmission or distribution of invoices or other documents automatically. Likewise, process automation can integrate with other parts of an office workflow to automatically deliver documents to servers, specific individuals, or even the printer. 

3. Data Collation

Collation refers to the assembly of information into a standardized format. In other words, it is a way of organizing a body of documents into a uniform, searchable format. For example, offices may employ automated collation to standardize document file names prior to classification. By doing this it makes it easier to find in the future. This feature helps Accounts Payable departments to capture and validate data, categorize invoices, and match and validate invoices to specific accounts.

4. Archival and Storage   

Document archival and storage constitute one of the most common areas in which process automation is employed in the document workflow. A solid automated document workflow helps keep records in order so that employees do not need to spend time searching – or reprinting – a misplaced document. HR departments benefit immensely from this. They are able to easily store and archive employee benefits and information, track timesheets, and complete employee payroll with no issues.

5. Document Security 

Automated workflow solutions assist a business in maintaining a secure document environment. Consumers have a zero-tolerance for errors, especially when those errors result in consumer data being exposed in a breach. Errors such as misfiling, printing the wrong items, or sending a document to the wrong person are all but eliminated with process automation. Employees and clients can enjoy faster delivery, with fewer errors, and the assurance that their data remains secure.

Get Next-Generation Document Workflow Solutions with RJ Young

The future of the workplace as a whole does indeed lie in automation. Manual processes are increasingly outdated and will hamper an organization’s ability to respond swiftly and adequately to new information or shifting markets. Thoughtfully deployed process automation will inspire new levels of productivity and innovation.

Document workflow solutions represent one area where modern offices are keen to apply process automation because of the tremendous time and cost-savings benefits it confers. Say goodbye to lost documents, forgotten attachments, and a lack of standardization among file names which makes the archives impossible to search. Process automation is driving greater efficiency, organization, and security in document management. 

Interested in discovering how process automation can augment your office workflow? Contact RJ Young todayto explore the next generation of document management. 

Proper mainstream support for Windows 7 ended shortly before the release of Windows 10 in July of 2015. Although Microsoft has kept up extended support for the organizations which continued to use Windows 7 on their machines, they have now announced that this will end on January 14, 2020. This leaves just a little under eight months for companies running the operating system to update to Windows 10. Organizations currently using Windows 7 will have to make a choice: upgrade to the latest Microsoft operating system or pay to update Windows 7. It is strongly recommended that companies upgrade now. Technicians who maintain Microsoft Certified Professional certificates for Windows 7, 8, and 10 will help ensure a smooth upgrade.

What Does End of Life Mean?

End of life means that a vendor no longer markets, sells, or supports a product or service. In other words, the service or product is obsolete. Windows 7 will continue to work on machines it has been installed on. However, users who choose to continue with this product do so at their own risk. Technical support, security patches, or system updates no longer exist for this particular service.

End of Life Means No More Patches and Fixes—Unless the Company Pays

Windows 7 remains a popular operating system, with 35 percent of Windows users still refraining from upgrading to the latest Microsoft operating system. Companies — which cannot or will not upgrade — have the choice of paying for further extended support through 2023. However, Microsoft is making this option purposefully unattractive to encourage users to update to the latest – and most secure – version of Windows:

  • The price is per device, making it quite expensive for companies running more than one or two computers with Windows 7.
  • The price doubles each year until 2023. The highest tier is $200 per device.
  • Extended security update purchases in years two and three can only occur if the company has purchased these updates in years prior.

Critically, the paid extended security updates are not available to the general public. Personal users who resist upgrading will be left without support after January 2020.

Why Upgrade to Windows 10?

End of Life for Windows 7 will make machines vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Regular security patches and updates occur because hackers and malware programmers are persistent. Data is valuable. Even if firewalls and antiviruses are kept up to date, these measures are useless if malicious codes by hackers find a way through the operating system and the antivirus does not recognize it is there. This constitutes an unacceptable level of risk for businesses.

Windows 8 and 8.1 Will Also Reach End of Life

Microsoft has suggested that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows. Microsoft will update and maintain Windows 10 from this point, and all other versions of the operating system will find their way into obsolescence as well.

Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008R2 Will Also Reach End of Life

Soon companies will be losing another popular Microsoft standby –Server 2008R2. January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be officially ending its support for Windows Server 2008 R2 (including all editions Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Hyper-V role). If your company is running Hyper-V on a Windows Server 2008R2 platform you need to start strategizing now if you want to ensure your company is protected and your infrastructure is secure moving forward.

  • No Support Leaves Your Operating System at Risk

Once a product reaches its end-of-life no new features or fixes are releases leaving the operating system open and exposed to outside infiltration because future security gaps will no longer be plugged by software updates.

The year 2020 will be here before you know it, therefore, updating an IT infrastructure is a large task

How to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life

Companies can still avoid costly security updates and office chaos by beginning the upgrade to Windows 10 now. Each machine may take several hours to upgrade as this may require reinstalling programs and reconfiguring each device. However, through a systematic and organized approach, even a single Microsoft Certified Professional technician can enhance a company’s computer fleet over the coming months.

1. Identify Machines Which Require the Update and Ones Which Can’t be Updated

Conduct a full audit of company computers and devices running Microsoft operating systems. Machines which cannot be updated due to software compatibilities will require special attention to maintain security beyond End of Life.

Take extra care to inventory embedded devices on a network. These are electronics with a purpose-specific computing system, and they are commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. They often run a special version of Windows called Windows IoT, which was released alongside each Windows version.

Devices at risk for running outdated Windows IoT versions usually have user interfaces, such as point of sales devices, kiosk computer systems, ATMs, and handheld barcode scanners. For instance, it is estimated that 1.5 million mobile healthcare devices are running this version of Windows 7.

2. Identify Software Which is not Compatible with Windows 10

Windows 7 had a compatibility feature to run software designed for Windows XP. This feature does not exist in Windows 10, and some older programs will not run properly. These should be replaced with modern software.

3. Optional: Research Alternative Operating Systems

Companies which are strongly opposed to Windows 10 may wish to look into alternative operating systems including those by Mac and Linux. However, consider whether this involves replacing entire machines rather than merely the operating system.

4. Develop a Timeline and Budget

Upgrading will be time-consuming, but it can be done piece by piece. Develop a timeline which minimizes disruption to employees and prepare a budget which adequately addresses this process.

5. Plan for Employee Training on the new System and Updated Software

Windows 10 uses an intuitive interface, but employee training will help foster confidence and reduce frustration, especially if new software is involved.

Upgrade with a Microsoft Certified Professional

It’s time to move forward and embrace the reality that Windows 10 will be the final, and only, version of Windows which Microsoft supports. However, continuing to procrastinate can lead to unnecessary stress and headaches. Get help from Microsoft Certified Professionals to streamline and simplify the upgrade to Windows 10.

RJ Young’s trained and certified technicians are standing by to assist with the transition to Microsoft 10. Contact us today to get connected with a Microsoft Certified Professional and learn more about upgrading your operating system.

Printing technology displays a fantastic breadth of capabilities which range from the ability to print on different surfaces, to the use of specialty inks to produce amazing visual effects. However, printing also serves many industries in practical and critical ways. Nowhere has this been truer than with wide format printers and their closely related cousins, the wide format plotters.

Wide format plotters are not nearly as common as they once were, but it is a term which still occasionally appears. Discover what a wide format plotter is and the role it plays in printing today.

What Is a Wide Format Plotter?

A wide format plotter is a very specialized type of printer which generates printed documents ranging from two to six feet wide. Businesses which design or construct things have historically used a plotter rather than a traditional printer because only plotters were capable of unparalleled degrees of precision. Today, wide format printing has caught up technologically, making plotters less common than they used to be.

Printing with a Pen

Inkjet printers use drops of ink mixed on the paper. While laser printers use static electricity and heat to fuse toner to pages. Plotters do neither – historically, they used an actual pen to draw the output. This pen was attached to a metal arm which moved according to a set of hyper-accurate coordinates given by a computer running CAD software. This made it capable of producing sophisticated drawings with a high degree of accuracy.

Vector Not Raster

The nature of pen plotting meant that it rendered drawings in a vector file format rather than the pixelized raster, or bitmap, which is common in digital graphics today. Pen plotters made dots along coordinates which were then connected with a line. The result was a highly scalable image which did not lose clarity or detail as it was enlarged — this is a critical advantage of vector. Industries which demand precision need to be able to print in vector.

Who Uses Plotters

Plotters emphasize accuracy and clarity over beautiful, highly saturated images. Therefore, they have traditionally been common in industries which design or construct things. It might still be possible to find a plotter in:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Product design
  • Mapmaking
  • Manufacturing
  • Some craftsmanship

Choosing Precision with Modern Technology

Pen plotters did have a few drawbacks, which led to their ultimate demise. First, the pen needed to be capable of drawing the entire output in a single session. If the pen ran out of ink, the drawing had to be redone. Second, pen plotters were notoriously slow and had an almost nonexistent ability to fill solid areas, create gradients or different line shades. Pen plotters have primarily disappeared today as a result of these deficiencies, although it is still possible to find them.

Additionally, printing technology has evolved to the point where laser printers can deliver the same precision. Indeed, modern plotters take advantage of laser printing technology to produce printed documents at higher speeds. Wide format plotters and printers have gradually begun to look more alike — to the point where many firms, which may have once used a plotter, now opt to use a wide format printer instead.

Wide Format Printing

Today, wide format printing delivers the same high-precision printing that architecture  and manufacturing industries rely on to build accurate, sound products. Furthermore, wide format printing introduces greater flexibility because it is capable of running other print jobs as well.

This makes a wide format printer much more valuable in the day-to-day operations of an office. Not only can a wide format printer produce the blueprints which drive creation, but it can also bring a greater range of printing needs back in-house.

Wide Format Printing for the Next Generation

Wide format printing is not optional for businesses which produce blueprints, layouts, or any other highly technical document which governs manufacturing or construction. Historically, these industries have relied upon devices known as plotters because they were able to deliver the precision needed to ensure stable, accurate development.

However, advances in printing technology in the last decade mean that wide format laser printers rival plotters in their ability to deliver high-quality blueprints. Plotters have been gradually replaced in favor of this faster, reliable, and more flexible technology.

RJ Young specializes in helping architecture and engineering firms select the best wide format printer for their unique needs. Contact an imaging specialist today to get started.

A Multi-Function Printer print, scan, copy, fax, and even edit documents from one convenient hub. This has made them an office staple, leaving few reasons for an office to continue to purchase discrete devices for each activity.

Companies embrace multi-function devices because they increase device impact while decreasing their physical footprint. Multi-Function Printers increase company-wide productivity and revenue when strategically deployed in a printing fleet. Read on to learn how upgrading a company’s printer fleet to include these multi-function devices transforms productivity and profitability in the office.

How to Better Understand a Multi-Function Printer

There are many different terms for the device known as the multi-function printer. No standardized language exists, therefore the manufacturers are free to refer to their products as they like. In other words, there are several terms which appear in reference to MPS or similar devices:

  • All-In-One (AIO): A device which has a full array of document management options. This includes printing, scanning, faxing, copying, document editing, storage, and conversion.
  • Multi-function Device (MFD): May or may not be a printer, but likely has printing capabilities.
  • Multi-function Peripheral or Product (MFP): Shares the acronym MFP with multi-function printer, but it may have different capabilities entirely. Read the product description carefully.
  • 4-in-1 Printer: Typically refers to the main four functionalities: printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
  • Small Office/Home Office (SOHO): These printers are typically multi-function because their manufacturers assume that smaller operations have less space.

Upgraded Fleets Save Money and Increase Productivity

A printer is no small investment. Professional models run easily into the thousands of dollars, which may represent a significant expense for a business. It might be tempting to hold onto an outdated model as a result, but that could be augmenting operating expenses in the long run. Upgraded fleets save money and increase productivity because they:

1. Decrease Consumable Cost and Use

The older the printer, the more expensive consumables like ink and specialized paper stocks tend to get. This is partly because they get harder to find, and partly because manufacturers discontinue parts and supplies to encourage upgrading. Likewise, modern printers use toner and ink more efficiently. They also support duplex printing and support the option to print only in black and white.

2. Cost Less to Maintain

A single multi-function device is much easier to maintain than a horde of specialized devices. Additionally, multi-function printers are so common that most technicians will have likely seen the model before, making it easier to get a device serviced.

3. Supports Increased Integration

Most modern multi-function printers support Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables integration with other office devices. Users can easily access all of the device’s functionalities without ever leaving their computer. Likewise, mobile printing adds a new layer of flexibility and mobility to the workflow.

4. Modern Multi-Function Printer Features Make Printing Easy

Multi-function printers are notoriously easy to use. The users do not have to go digging around in complicated interfaces to find the print button. Intuitive color touchscreens direct users to exactly where they need to go. Automatic document feeders eliminate the need to fiddle with the machine.

Install Print Tracking Software

Upgrading the printer itself is only one way to save money and boost productivity. Offices which already have a reasonably modern printer may wish to implement another strategy to boost productivity and reduce costs: print tracking software.

Print tracking software, such as PaperCut or uniFLOW helps businesses get a better handle on their expenses and printing habits. Print tracking software allows businesses to:

  • Automate reporting which makes tracking seamless
  • Gain total visibility of the printing costs for an organization
  • Highlight areas of improvement for optimizing fleets and individual printer use
  • Manage consumables to help reduce costs
  • Restrict access to the print environment so only the people who need to print can do so

Upgrade Your Printing Environment Today With A Multi-Function Printer

Modern businesses frequently operate on razor-thin margins, making any cost reduction potentially valuable. An optimized office print environment helps boost productivity, while reducing costs.

PaperKarma estimates that the average office worker uses close to 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. That is the equivalent of 20 reams of standard office paper, or about 100 pounds of paper worth close to $200 per year. This article has outlined many of the ways that occur and has provided strategies to begin the optimization process.

Through the thoughtful deployment of modern printing devices, plus print tracking software, businesses can reduce this cost. Contact RJ Young today to begin strategizing your next-generation printing fleet which cuts costs while boosting productivity.

Forget projectors, ink-smudged fingers, and dry erase markers that run dry halfway through a sentence. Offices and educational institutions should enjoy the ability to create stunning visuals which deliver impactful and motivating presentations. Additionally, interactive whiteboards are a fantastic and modern way to motivate teams, inspire collaboration, and drive engagement in audiences.

RJ Young works with Ricoh to provide state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards for a variety of clients, industries, and educational institutions. Read on to learn how interactive whiteboards can revolutionize participation in a classroom or office.

Features of Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards

Ranging from 30 to 80 inches wide, Ricoh’s line of high-quality interactive whiteboards can meet the needs of large and small establishments. In addition, every device comes equipped with productivity amplifying features.

Users can enjoy the following features:

1. Workflow and Connectivity

Each whiteboard display supports an interactive experience by using touchscreen annotations. They also use apps to streamline productivity and connectivity with other platforms. As a result, enjoy full integration with Microsoft Office and connect with all devices to keep the workflow smooth and uninhibited.

2. Collaborative Capabilities

Create annotations and share screen images with remote users in real time to enhance the collaborative powers of a team. Leverage Ricoh’s Intelligent Workplace Services to create a comprehensive digital collaboration environment, which drives productivity and innovation.

3. Open Architecture

Additionally, all whiteboards come with Ricoh’s Embedded Software Architecture — this software helps maintain application compatibility across devices that many offices may use. The open nature of this software means numerous third-party solutions can also integrate flawlessly with Ricoh devices.

What To Consider When Choosing an Interactive Whiteboard Solution

The power and versatility of interactive displays have made them widely popular, leading to a vast array of offerings on the market. When choosing an interactive whiteboard solution for a classroom or business, consider the following:

  • Audience size. Consider how many people will need to interact with it. Undoubtedly, devices which support multiple simultaneous functions enable more collaboration.
  • Connectivity. The ability to link to numerous devices at once allows the audience to watch the presentation on their own devices. This benefits large lecture halls, or meeting rooms where everyone wants to take their own notes.
  • Space size. Interactive whiteboards range from 30 to 80 inches wide. In other words, this impacts how far it can be viewed from, and where viewers should – or should not – sit.
  • Software and apps. A classroom will require different apps and programs than an office. On the other hand, an office might find the ability to integrate with other document management platforms advantageous.
  • Durability. Above all, interactive whiteboards in a classroom setting must be durable to withstand student use. In other words, higher-end interactive whiteboards will find a better home in offices that want to wow clients.

RICOH Interactive Whiteboards Amplify Learning and Teaching

Interactive whiteboards in the classroom bring a variety of benefits to students, teachers, and schools. Here are three reasons why classrooms should embrace this modern technology:

1. Facilitate Active Learning

Students who are engaged with the material learn better. Furthermore, interactive learning encourages students to take an active role in the classroom. This is scientifically shown to increase learning and knowledge retention.

2. Encourage a Technological Culture

Technology in the classroom is a contentious topic. However, it is a healthy disagreement about whether or not it belongs there between teachers and students. Nonetheless, the presence of an interactive whiteboard in a classroom sends the message that an educational institution embraces technology. Interactive whiteboards also create a forward-thinking and modern culture which reflect the expectations of students.  

3. Assist with Lesson Structure

It is not just businesses who can leverage the app and connectivity capabilities of the whiteboards. Teachers can also put these tools to use to create new and exciting lessons — faster, and for less work.

Interactive Whiteboards Drive Productivity at Work

It’s not just students who get bored with one-way communication and lackluster dry erase scribbles. Interactive whiteboards bring many of the same benefits to the workplace, with the additional benefit of supporting current workflow processes which are already in place. Thoughtfully deployed interactive whiteboards in the workplace are beneficial in the following ways:  

  • Transforms lectures into brainstorming sessions that involve all participants
  • Keeps everyone on the same page with real-time file sharing
  • Supports annotations to help prevent details from slipping through the cracks
  • Connects with mobile devices and laptops to fit seamlessly into a workflow
  • Improves the quality of meetings and training sessions
  • Puts an impressive foot forward with current and future clients

Interactive Whiteboards: Technology for 21st Century Presentations

In conclusion, Interactive whiteboards are a low-disruption, high-impact update for offices and lecture halls. Create an atmosphere of motivation and forward-thinking by using an interactive display to transform presentations.

RJ Young helps businesses and educational institutions make the best selections for all of their technology solutions. Contact an expert today to start a discussion on how interactive whiteboards can benefit you.

What are Cloud Solutions?

Cloud Solutions promise it all: unbridled computing capabilities, access from anywhere at any time, and storage capacities to handle massive amounts of data modern businesses are expected to manage. It is easy to get starry-eyed about the potentials of this technology, especially when cloud computing has become so wildly popular.

Public clouds pose several risks that may make this technology inappropriate for businesses. Cloud services are amazing, but they are not a cure-all for improving business efficiency and productivity.

The Hidden Risks of Cloud Solutions

Cloud solutions are known for reducing costs, improving accessibility, and allowing companies to perform data computing tasks beyond what their native current infrastructure allows.

However, with these advantages come risks which are sometimes not obvious or carefully considered.

1. Latency and server problems will impact business operations – Companies choose cloud-based services because outsourcing infrastructure is less of a headache. However, this also means downtime and latency are outside of a company’s control. This becomes more of a problem when a company shares space with other operations on a public cloud. Just like when someone ties up bandwidth by downloading massive files, other users on the public cloud can throttle accessibility for everyone. In addition, bandwidth restrictions can throttle access to the cloud, limiting accessibility and productivity.

2. Big data has big questions about ownership – Lack of visibility with cloud services is another major factor that companies should consider. This also includes where data resides once it has been put on the cloud and exactly who owns this data.

Most contracts from major vendors indicate that whoever uploads the data owns it. However, that will not stop vendors from locking companies into contracts and rendering them dependent on the services. It also does not mean that data created on the cloud will necessarily belong to the company and not the vendor.

3. Anticipating needs and Budgets is harder than it looks – Although companies choose cloud services because of scalability, scalability in the cloud is hard to understand.

Cloud service vendors enjoy large fee structures, costs of services, and what is or is not included at each price tier. Combine these factors with a miscalculation about what a company needs and many businesses end up paying for too much or end up paying for the wrong service.

4. Compliance Requirements can get Complicated – The healthcare industry, financial services, and other similar industries have strict compliance guidelines that they are required to follow. Using cloud infrastructure in these industries can become more trouble than it is worth if not addressed correctly. A shift in the cloud infrastructure may cause a company to become noncompliant without realizing it. Therefore, companies will need to implement new compliance measures that were not previously thought of before.

Companies can also have compliance issues when they only think about the cloud compliance. In order to stay compliant, organizations must not only maintain compliance on any device used to access the cloud resource.

Concealed Costs

The other major risk associated with cloud services involves unexpected costs. Businesses are sometimes hit with unexpectedly large bills because they do not understand what they are purchasing or what their business truly needs. These unexpected bills can occur:

  • During egress from the cloud.
  • By signing up for “free” services that are, in fact, trials.
  • Through paying for potential capacity, not actual capacity.
  • By requesting services or features which cost extra.
  • As a result of bugs or glitches, which spike server traffic.
  • From rogue cloud resource usage by employees.

The true cost of cloud computing is rarely visible unless focused planning and proper governance occur. Avoid these costs through:

  • Turning services off when they are not being used.
  • Using cloud computing strategically, and not for everything.
  • Restricting access to cloud solutions on a need-to basis.

Benefits of Keeping Data Private

It may be more appropriate from a business standpoint to build dedicated infrastructure rather than relying on a public cloud or cloud service. Some of these business needs may include:

1. Control of Data – Organizations such as those handling personal health insurance need to retain full control of data storage, transmission, and use.

2. Resource Dedication – Dedicated cloud computing capabilities do not suffer from downtime or latency problems caused by neighbors on the cloud.

3. Cost Visibility – Operating private infrastructure prevents expensive mishaps such as paying for unanticipated — but needed — equipment, purchasing too much storage, or requesting support that is not included in the purchased package.

4. Better CustomizationCustomization often drives up the cost of cloud computing services. Organizations requiring customized cloud solutions may consider looking into building their own.

Do Not Stay Foggy About Cloud Solutions

Cloud solutions are a powerful, flexible way to bring new capabilities to a business and there are many instances where such technology is appropriate. However, the hype around cloud infrastructure sometimes blinds users to the risks associated, especially the concealed costs.

Avoid getting caught off guard with an unmanageable bill by taking the time to understand the nature of cloud infrastructure and the services it offers. Contact an expert at RJ Young today to learn what is right for your organization.