1 Sep 2010

AIB Group conducts a broad retail and commercial banking business in Ireland. In addition to having one of the largest branch networks, it conducts corporate lending and capital markets activities. AIB was one of the banks recapitalised by the Government as part of its initiative to stabilise the economy in the wake of the financial crisis.


Like many organisations, the bank’s printer, copier and fax fleet had grown over time; in AIB’s case it reached a point where there was one device for every four employees at its head office locations in Dublin. The printing and imaging systems came from multiple vendors, covered by numerous different contracts, and no single function within the business ‘owned’ print. “With this disparate environment we could not monitor costs or control our print budget. We needed to understand our print environment, get a handle on costs and optimise the infrastructure through standardisation,” said Harry Troute, head of managed services at AIB.


After examining its cost profile, AIB realised that it needed to manage the costs of its on-demand, office print environment more closely. Consequently, it commissioned independent research to assess the print environment, propose a solution and forecast potential cost savings. The research concluded that a managed print services (MPS) solution involving leased equipment and services via a single vendor was the correct approach. AIB therefore asked several major print providers to supply quotations for their individual MPS solutions. The bank evaluated several financial providers in Ireland and the UK where similar MPS arrangements were in place. Each option was assessed on several criteria, including improved service quality, lower costs and reduced operational risk.


HP was awarded the five-year deal and its MPS proposal involved standardising and consolidating the existing fleet moving, moving the device-to-staff ration from 1:4 to 1:12. By examining remote monitoring data, the bank hopes to increase this to 1:15 over time.

Printing, copying and faxing are carried out by HP LaserJet Multifunction Printing (MFP) devices, with additional print requirements handled by a selection of HP LaserJet 4250dtn and HP Color LaserJet 4700 dtn printers. SafeCom software helps AIB optimise its print infrastructure for improved management of its print environment and enables enhanced print security to reduce operational risk. Staff ID cards are needed to enable print jobs; each device is fitted with a badge reader that prints only when the person is physically beside the printer. A ‘pull printing’ facility lets users print on a device at a chosen location at a time of their choice. Print jobs are stored on a central print server until users walk up to a printer; they swipe their access card and select the job they want to print. Scheduled but unprinted print jobs are deleted automatically overnight.

Web Jetadmin management software was also deployed to automatically monitor the condition, status and availability of devices on AIB’s network.

The contract also provides management and support for AIB’s end-to-end print infrastructure and an on-site print manager to deal with print issues. HP is also providing all supplies and a ‘breakfix’ service over the contract lifetime.

AIB has developed, in-house, a management information system (MIS) which uses the information in the database held in the HP/Safecom system. This print, copy, scan and fax activity data covers individual user level, date, time and device. This information is linked to AIB’s ERP and HR system, allowing accurate costs to be allocated to various business units. This information is made available on the bank’s intranet with appropriate hierarchical access levels. This MIS allows AIB to track and trend the full cost of office and business application printing for all divisions, units and individuals over a rolling 15-month period.


The optimised printing and imaging infrastructure is more easily managed and more productive due to improved workflows. Reliability and security has been addressed, cost management is under control and service quality is much improved.

SafeCom software has enhanced security by providing confidential printing through a single swipe card. All devices are remotely monitored so that new consumables supplies are automatically ordered whenever a printer reaches a set threshold. This ensures devices are not left idle and results in high levels of uptime for the bank’s print fleet. Further cost savings are generated through controlling print volumes.

“The managed services and associated management information (MIS) allows us to better manage the total print environment, across all divisions, thus reducing risk, controlling costs and improving service quality, supporting our operational excellence agenda,” said David Mullins, AIB’s general manager of enterprise services.

Through the introduction of the HP MPS solution, AIB has seen a difference in how staff manage document workflows throughout the company, added Troute. “By utilising the scan features on the HP MFPs we have seen a marked change in the way employees approach document management cycles, leading to a more efficient output and also resulting in less paper used.”


Troute estimates AIB will have saved between 20 and 30pc of its costs by leasing the hardware and paying by consumption in a managed print service model. “We are also generating useful management information by monitoring print trends throughout the office and charging costs back to appropriate cost centres,” he said. Following an independent assessment, the MPS should result in lowering the carbon footprint of the printing facilities at AIB’s head office at Bankcentre by just over 50pc.

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic