Earlier this year, managed print services (MPS) providers got a wake-up call in the shape of Quocirca’s Global Print 2025 study. It alerted them to the fact that they are about to overtake printer manufacturers as the biggest influencers in the market, having the deepest relationship with end-user organisations. It also predicted that to do so successfully, MPS providers have to be innovative, software-centric and embracing of open partnerships.
This is largely because the printer market has reached maturity, so MPS providers have to differentiate themselves if they’re going to step up and own the end-customer relationship.
In this article we identify 5 trends and opportunities for 2019 that will help MPS providers to do that.
We know that printing isn’t going anywhere. Global Print 2025 revealed that printing remains important to the daily business of 78% of end-user organisations and 64% expect it to still be so in 2025. Other recent studies have consistently shown that the paperless office is unrealistic and undesirable.
At the same time, the increasing digitisation of work means that print volumes will continue to decline in 2019 as businesses become less reliant on paper. Experts are predicting a peaceful coexistence between hard and soft copies: a paperlite office, rather than a paperless one.
These means MPS providers who still rely on product-based sales will need to adjust their strategy. Many vendors are already doing this, shifting from high-turnover, low-margin sales to consultative sales, which deliver greater value to customers and are ultimately more rewarding for vendors. Central to this model is changing how printers in the office are viewed.
Dylan Haworth of Oki Europe (UK and Ireland), says, “These devices no longer just sit in the corner to be used occasionally to print the odd document — they are an integral part of a document workflow, managing and storing these documents with the help of integrated computing systems.”
In other words, print vendors have to think less about products on their own and more about products as part of a broader service or solution.
A 2018 report by Envision Intelligence revealed that the global MPS market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 8.5% from $28.99 billion in 2017 to $55.68 billion by 2025. The numerous individual factors propelling this growth can be consolidated into a need to improve operational efficiency and productivity and reduce paper wastage, which is exactly what digital transformation is all about.
According to Quocirca’s Managed Print Services Landscape 2018, MPS is expected to play a “very important” role in digital transformation in the next two years. In the past, digital transformation has been the exclusive domain of larger companies. However, a more recent Quocirca study, Print 2025 Spotlight Report: Digitisation — The Key to SMB Success, highlights the increasing potential of MPS to digitally transform small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well.
According to the study, while most SMBs are still dependent on paper, more and more are seeking to accelerate digitisation initiatives to control print-related costs and improve their efficiency, agility and productivity.
This is driving a preference among SMBs for print-as-a-service, rather than ownership of devices. It is also causing them to explore increasingly affordable ‘as-a-service’ digital workflow technologies as a replacement for paper-based processes. They are looking at tools for assembling and collaborating on electronic documents, too.
The need for digitisation along with the more specialised role of paper present MPS providers with an incredible opportunity to step up and be exactly what SMBs need them to be.
Although MPS is seen as a key enabler of digital transformation, MPS providers that offer the basic service without broadening their competencies and services in other areas will fall by the wayside.
Since core MPS has become commoditised, providers should look at addressing wider business concerns such as workflow automation, security and electronic document assembly and collaboration. To do this, they need to deepen their competencies in software, mobility, security and the IoT and invest in service management software that enhances their value proposition in these areas, such as Evatic.
This will not only deliver new revenue streams to MPS providers in an increasingly competitive market, but deeper relationships with end-user organisations.
MPS providers seeking to develop solutions and services beyond their core business cannot do it alone. Through 2019, print vendors will look at establishing new technology partnerships to build competence in new areas and diversify their offerings. Global Print 2025 has predicted that the print industry will become a much more open ecosystem in the next few years, in which vendors are empowered by their collaboration with others.
Konica Minolta has already taken steps towards a more collaborative landscape, partnering with Hewlett Packard to create its Workplace Hub Pro platform. Smaller MPS providers have the chance to follow suit, partnering with solutions providers such as Asolvi, who will help them become trusted facilitators of digital transformation and workplace improvement.
The security of printed documents is a top concern for all businesses, particularly SMBs who are still heavily reliant on paper. Quocirca’s Managed Print Services Landscape 2018 reveals that security is at the forefront of the MPS agenda, with many providers expanding their capabilities in print and document security and monitoring services.
Adding managed security services (MSS) to their portfolio is another way for MPS providers to expand their core offerings and secure their future profitability and influence. However, providers need to make sure their MSS goes beyond device monitoring and includes incident detection and response. To that end they should partner with security technology providers who have the requisite tools and skills to offer integrated print and IT security services.
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