As stewards of information technology and our environment, we naturally promote document solutions that favor PDFs, wikis, websites, email, and other paperless alternatives to printed hard copies. However, our students still have a significant need for printed materials.
To support this need, ITS launched UTprint in 2012 with 72 printers hosted at 35 departmental locations across campus, and handling all transactions with BevoBucks. UTprint peaked in 2015 with about 2.8 million pages printed, and though it has declined somewhat, the service is still widely used and is a great convenience for students.
In 2016, ITS began the process of revitalizing the entire service. This included software upgrades, reductions in printer lease costs, improved host relationships, better signage, and overall improved support. Those efforts were well received, but we felt more could be done. In January 2017, as part of the UTprint fleet refresh project, ITS contacted UT Libraries to gauge interest in consolidating print services and began collaborating in earnest in September 2017. The motives for consolidation were many, but primarily are customer driven – we wanted to provide users of print services with a single print solution, as opposed to a sometimes confusing set of two disparate solutions.
The result: A user who submits print jobs to the consolidated service now has the ability to seamlessly demand output at any printer in the system. UTprint also offers mobile printing services in parity with UT Libraries. Overall, we were able to add features and convenience while adding value for our student customers. Over the next year we will continue partnering with UT Libraries for co-branding of the service in signage and support information.
Initiatives such as these are fraught with complexities, but I am glad to note that UT Libraries IT staff and ITS have completed the print consolidation project. Kourt de Haas, the UTprint project leader, was a driving force behind this effort, with guidance and support from Scott Richardson and Susan Roy. Josh Hsu of ITS Systems deserves special mention for his database consolidation and migration. Special thanks to our UT Libraries IT partners, with support from Chris Carter, Jack Kidwell, and James Irwin. Steven English, our vendor representative from TRACSystems, was invaluable on consolidation day and helped make it all come together.
Awesome teamwork and thank you all for your efforts!