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When Microsoft Asks You To Collaborate

Product Marketing Director
Everybody knows something about Microsoft 365 and the Azure Cloud, right?  Productivity apps in the cloud, check. Video team meetings via cloud, check. Data storage and analysis in the cloud, check.This is our story on how we are making Universal Print, a feature in Microsoft 365, work on in-market printers.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit planet earth, Microsoft 365 is used more than ever in every market sector—Home, Business, Enterprise and Education. So when they get in touch to say, How about those printers, well, you take the call.

Universal Print is an infrastructure revolution delivered as a service

Moving print infrastructure to the Cloud has been high on every IT person’s wish list for a long time. It’s a burden servicing print servers on-site, installing print drivers, making sure every client device is able to print, then managing print queues and such.

Microsoft took up the challenge and developed something they christened Universal Print, a holistic solution that solves those problems by virtualizing print management infrastructure and moving it off premises and into the cloud. Delivered as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription, Universal Print offers security groups for printer access, location-based printer discovery, and a new, improved management experience. Maybe even more radical is the fact that Microsoft is not selling Universal Print as a product but including it as a feature of the latest version of Microsoft 365.

Printing is a Tier One business application

In an increasingly digital world, the primacy of print is somewhat diminished, sure, but the paper trail remains a crucial artifact of human progress and interaction, of all instruments the one that doesn’t become obsolete when the next new thing hits the marketplace. Print matters and so does the security of document content. In fact, at many of the world’s biggest corporations, printing remains a Tier One, Class A application that requires five nines uptime. Universal Print guarantees printing’s relevance by making it easier to accomplish and to support.

But there remains the challenge of how best to actually print things on printers that are already deployed but far from worn out.

Help us bring Universal Print to in-market printers

That’s why Microsoft came to us with an ask. In a struggling economy, most companies aren’t likely to rush out and buy new printers just because they’re Universal Print-enabled. Help us figure out how to make Universal Print work with printers that are already in service, new or nearly new, far from retirement. The business problem came down to how to sell the latest, greatest software without requiring the latest greatest printers right away. Microsoft persuaded us—they have more than 200,000 Microsoft 365 subscribers and a 50% annual growth rate— and those figures just CANNOT be ignored. Lucky for us, we were already close to the solution Microsoft was looking for.

YSoft OMNI Series collaboration with Microsoft

Meet YSoft OMNI Series

YSoft OMNI Series is part hardware, YSoft OMNI Bridge, and part software, YSoft OMNI Apps. We call it OMNI Bridge because it’s a serverless edge device that provides your printers with high availability, failover and load-balancing features. The YSoft OMNI UP365 app provides the connection to Universal Print functionality in your company’s Microsoft 365 subscription. YSoft OMNI Bridge running YSoft OMNI UP365 stands in the corner, connected to your local area network and Shazam!—turns your older printer into a Universal Print-enabled one. Our existing family of edge devices have always enabled print management at the network edge, so we have a wealth of experience with this kind of hardware.
When we did the math, a monthly OMNI UP365 subscription fee and an OMNI Bridge device will cost your company just cents per person per month to get your print infrastructure out of your office and into the cloud, along with the rest of your business applications.
It turns out that a problem tackled with Microsoft is a problem well-solved.
Bruce Leistikow
Bruce Leistikow comes to Y Soft with 25 years Hi-Tech industry experience serving in a variety of roles from software engineering to business related functions including management and marketing. Prior to joining Y Soft’s Marketing team, he served as a Y Soft Solution Consultant designing Print Management architectures for the largest global brands.
View all posts by Bruce Leistikow

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