directprint.io aims to shake up the U.S. independent dealer channel with its cloud-based print management solution.
Does the independent dealer channel need another print management solution? The answer is an obvious no for those who feel there are already too many choices in the space. After reading our exclusive interview with David Jenkins, CEO of directprint.io, we think you might change your mind. Jenkins offers an in-depth look at the company’s cloud-based, SaaS (software-as-a-service) print management solution. Despite being a relatively new entrant to the print industry, the platform already has more than a half million users in the U.S., and Jenkins is now looking to expand its reach further in the U.S. dealer channel.
CR: Many of our readers many not be familiar with your solution. What can you tell them about it?
Jenkins: directprint.io is a cost-effective, feature-rich, print-management solution that allows users to quickly and effectively deploy, secure, control, and track print in the cloud. It is a true SaaS solution with ‘real human’ support, providing cloud scalability and accessibility with the reassurance of expert remote installation and operational support. We are a relatively new entrant to the print industry, but through aggressive roadmap delivery and rapid take-up of our service, we have quickly become a significant player in cloud-based print management.
CR: And this is a vendor-agnostic solution, correct?
Jenkins: Yes, we are an agile, innovative, disruptive ISV [independent software vendor], offering a truly vendor-agnostic solution. We support all major print manufacturers, and our unique universal driver includes advanced finishing options for over 5,000 printer makes and models. So, whether a partner is pitching a single-vendor solution or needs a platform that can co-exist with customers’ legacy multivendor fleets, we’ve got it covered. Importantly, directprint.io provides a consistent print experience across all devices and platforms— whether Chromebooks, macOS, Windows, or a mix of the three. The platform also supports receipt point of sale (POS) and label printers.
CR: How does security play into the solution?
Jenkins: Security is built in. directprint.io ensures security and compliance by keeping print jobs local. Local network printing ensures print jobs never leave the customer’s network. Features like Edge Print enable secure remote printing at the edge of an organization, and Secure Print allows IT administrators to apply print policies to groups, individuals, and specific devices for added security in the workplace.
CR: We keep hearing how the pandemic and the shift to a hybrid workforce have created interest in cloud-based solutions, but it has also created some issues for some organizations’ IT departments. What’s your take on that?
Jenkins: Hybrid working has become the biggest accelerator of change in businesses across the globe, forcing firms to fast-track digital transformation and leverage the cloud to keep businesses moving. Managing print via an on-premise server-based infrastructure has long been a drain on an IT’s lead time and the bottom line. Fixing print-related issues—whether juggling high availability or load balancing to lessen the burden of heavy print data traffic on the network and finding a workaround when offline printing—isn’t possible due to network failures or managing a constant stream of security updates to fix vulnerabilities. This aged approach can be inefficient and complex to manage.
CR: We’ve been hearing a lot about digital transformation (DX), and the cloud often comes up in those DX discussions. How can your channel partners use your product to help with their customers’ DX to the cloud?
Jenkins: Our adoption cycle and migration path are easy, painless, and automated. Customers can eliminate expensive-to-maintain on-premise infrastructure, streamline printer management, reduce the time spent troubleshooting printer issues, and refocus their attention elsewhere. Another benefit of our solution is predictable printing. We offer parity in terms of the feature-set and functionality compared to on-premise solutions and an intuitive end-user experience. Our freshly designed UI [user interface] has a consistent look and feel across Chrome, Chromebook, Windows, and macOS devices.
CR: Why should a dealer partner with directprint.io?
Jenkins: Now, more than ever, channel vendors need to differentiate across bundled offerings, features, and price to ensure they stand out from the crowd. Next-generation MPS, copier sales, and leasing engagements are no longer hardware-centric. They must support customers’ mobility, security, cloud, and digitization needs. With hardware margins squeezed, the real value-add is having the ability to package a flexible solution that supports customers’ needs today, which provides the ability to flex and grow with future demand. directprint.io allows dealers to create a differentiated hardware/software bundle. Whether leasing, sales, or full MPS deals, directprint.io will allow dealers’ sales teams to draw clear differentiation based on value, features, and innovation.
We’re also really easy to do business with, and we’re well-positioned to support partners in winning new business. The directprint.io partner portal enables partners to easily manage licensing for their customers, track activity, and administer accounts (if required).
CR: One of your partners is Sharp. Tell us about that partnership and what that means to Sharp dealers.
Jenkins: directprint.io was recently certified as a Sharp-compatible software product, and we have joined the Sharp Partner Program, which introduces software designed to enhance the use of and function seamlessly with Sharp MFPs. Our cloud-based admin console and universal print driver provide a seamless interface between Sharp’s printing devices and the cloud-based print management platform, enabling Sharp-native features such as secure print; advanced finishing options (stapling, hole punching, booklet creation, etc.); and accounting codes to be seamlessly enabled and deployed. directprint.io is now available to Sharp’s channel partners, pre-configured for over 500 Sharp models.
Partnerships with the OEMs to build custom integrations that will deliver value-add to our channel partners and their end customers are a key part of our strategy, and we will have more announcements to make in the near future.
CR: We know dealers and MPS providers love recurring revenue, and that’s one of the benefits of your solution, correct?
Jenkins: That’s right. The SaaS model increases customer stickiness, removes the risk of losing a deal due to the high cost of entry, and delivers recurring revenue streams rather than a one-time sale. We also offer generous dealer and MPS margins to help keep our partners’ salespeople motivated.
CR: Tell us about your relationship with Google and why that is important to your solution.
Jenkins: We’re a Google Cloud Partner and our solution is Chrome Enterprise Recommended, and we offer full directory-based integration with Google Workspace. Our solution acts as an alternative to Google Cloud Print and ensures a reliable printing experience for users within the Google ecosystem. All of that has enabled us to gain a strong foothold in the U.S. K–12 education sector. We count some of the biggest school districts in the country among our customer base.
We’ve also brought all the benefits of our deep integration with Google to the Microsoft ecosystem. directprint.io is available via the Azure Marketplace. We cover all three major operating systems—Windows, Chromebooks, and Mac, and we support the two major cloud productivity suite providers—Google Workspace and Microsoft 365—helping us expand our reach within SMBs.
CR: Where can a dealer find more information about partnering with directprint.io?
Jenkins: Visit https://directprint.io. We offer a free 30-day trial and full assistance to dealers and MPS providers in getting customers up and running with directprint.io.
CR: What message do you want to leave with our readers about directprint.io?
Jenkins: directprint.io is a well-established, proven, feature-rich platform and the most cost-effective solution on the market—the price point is a key differentiator. And as directprint.io is certified as a Sharp-compatible software product, we’re keen to engage with Sharp dealers in particular.