PaperCut Summit 2022: Retain, Attract, and Improve

Outlining priorities for the year ahead

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03/01/2022

Andrew Unsworth

 

The PaperCut Partner Summit 2022 gave industry analysts, the company’s authorized resellers, and others with a vested interest the chance to see what goodies are forthcoming from the Australian software house. Keypoint Intelligence has long admired the perennially popular PaperCut solutions, so we relished the opportunity to attend virtually for the two hour event.

 

PaperCut’s Global Head of Go To Market Dave Farrell kicked off the event with a string of impressive stats signaling that PaperCut occupies the #1 position in the print management software space, that the company had onboarded 86,000 customers, welcomed 139M individual users (1 in 65 people in the world are PaperCut users), and performed 7M device installations. Those are impressive numbers that demonstrate PaperCut’s need to retain existing customers as much as recruit new ones; to do that, Farrell said the company needs to “get out of our concrete boots and think differently.”

 

Bombastic Balbontin

Ex-Lonely Planet executive (and the event’s keynote speaker) Gus Balbontin then impressed Farrell’s sentiment on those watching with an almost evangelical zeal. His energy and dynamism were like a shot of espresso and his speech set the theme of the event perfectly.

 

Balbontin stressed the need to be adaptable, to accept going off the beaten path in response to new events and technologies, and to battle complacency during the good times. He cited his time at Lonely Planet as an example, stating that it was one of the first companies to have a website and that its site was already well-established when TripAdvisor started up. However, TripAdvisor’s website proved more successful because it solved the customer’s problem of getting travel info, whereas the Lonely Planet website tried to solve the business problem of selling books. TripAdvisor meant that the customer could bypass the need to buy a book, which disrupted Lonely Planet’s business model. To survive, a business must adapt to meet the customer’s needs because, if it doesn’t, then a competitor will eventually disrupt it. 

 

Keynote speaker Gus Balbontin urged those watching to guard
against complacency and focus on solving customers’ problems.

 

 

Retention and Recruitment: The Hives and the Hive-Nots

PaperCut’s Solutions Architect Noah Wiemken stressed that customer retention was a key goal, and that means responding to the changing needs of businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the move from office to remote working, and Wiemken said PaperCut’s cloud-based products (like Hive) helped its customers handle issues around remote working, such as privacy, accurate accounting, and the need to protect sensitive data. Wiemken said that PaperCut Hive’s customers were thankful for the cloud print solution, and that products like Hive are ideal for distributed working because Hive is designed with that working style in mind.

 

Talk moved on to security, zero-trust networks and encryption, as well as how security was a paramount concern in an increasingly connected world. Hive has security built in from the start, while a zero-trust philosophy reduces vulnerability and encryption protects documents.

 

PaperCut’s Solutions Architect Noah Wiemken and Dave Farrell
discussed the coming evolution of PaperCut Hive.

 

Finding the Right Path: PaperCut’s 2022 Roadmap

Next up was a more general discussion about PaperCut’s future direction and product goals between PaperCut’s new head of PM Jules Boot and founder and CEO Chris Dance. It was fascinating to hear of the company’s humble origins; PaperCut started life 22 years ago as software that Dance wrote to prevent paper waste at the school he worked at as a network administrator.

 

A big theme of the summit was sustainability, and Dance pointed out that the company had traditionally planted a tree every time PaperCut was sold; a new initiative, however, would go further and make PaperCut’s customers “forest positive”. This new initiative is called PaperCut Grows and it lets customers quickly and easily plant trees to assuage print-based guilt. Badges can be placed on MFPs to show that they’re forest positive, and employees can help to decide where trees are planted. That said, this is something that customers must pay extra for to participate.

 

Dance said that PaperCut’s attention is focused on getting PaperCut Hive’s embedded applets of major brands completed so that all functionality is available, including scanning, and that PaperCut will work hard to support native drivers as well as the universalist global driver so that customers can then use the various finishing options of their devices.

 

PaperCut MF has recently been sold to huge corporate customers and Dance says that features created to support those customers will trickle down to the regular product—features such as Print Deploy, which will let customers push the “right driver to the right place at the right time.”

 

Other topics included the incorporation of mobile and other IoT devices into the hybrid working environment so that printing (and the need to manage and account for it) becomes easier. Dance reiterated the need for security, but said balancing increased security with increased ease of use is a difficulty the company is working to overcome.

 

PaperCut’s CEO outlines his vision for the solution to his new
Head of Product Development Jules Boot.

 

Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

What to make of the PaperCut Summit 2022? It’s easy to be cynical of PaperCut Grows—and I am, especially as customers have to pay for it. But those involved appear to have a genuine concern for print’s impact on the environment, and the initiative to plant trees is commendable. Besides, PaperCut Grows is sure to have a more positive effect on the environment than my bitter nihilism.

 

It’s also clear that PaperCut has a good grasp of customer desires and how to improve its products (as well as the motivation to introduce and strengthen features that customers need, even if some don’t know it) such as encryption, support for zero-trust networks, and behind-the-scenes security.

 

It would be easy for a company such as PaperCut to rest on its laurels and let the money roll in until its position is usurped and the money rolls away. But the inclusion of Gus Balbontin’s warning against complacency as the keynote speech shows that PaperCut knows it must seek new avenues, develop new ideas, and create new strategies.

 

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