Whatever is happening, you should be paying attention.
In 1999, managed print services were all about software. Well, that’s at least what I was doing for Ricoh Europe back then when it was adding Equitrac to its portfolio and opening up a can of services options for the OEM and its resellers.
In 2023, managed print services were still all about software. But, of course, we’re now talking about much more sophisticated software solutions and services.
MPS is nothing special anymore. It should come naturally to anyone selling document input/output hardware. And every service offered and executed should be charged for.
Then there was the conversation about how printers and MFPs must be A4 and A3. I still remember the funny fold we used to do to make the A3 sheets fit into our A4 binders. Now, I can’t recall when I printed last, never mind on A3. The evolution of the digital workplace, the second screen, and tablets made printing obsolete.
Oh, and then, the billing-model discussions: flat, seat, toner, paper, click… too many to remember them all. And MPS survived them all. Or did it?
There are still hundreds, thousands of copier salespeople out there. And I can’t help but wonder, is this still a job title? Are we still talking about selling copiers? Shouldn’t we have long moved on to selling workplace solutions that may or may not include a copier, printer, or MFP, but most certainly include software solutions and paid services, such as installation, training, support, and ongoing maintenance?
I know, I know; only some people need it. But not everyone even knows that they could need something else beyond just a copier/printer.
In recent years, many managed print services providers expanded beyond usual MPS offerings, including new, completely different hardware, software, and services going far beyond what we could imagine in the ‘90s, for example, facilities management, electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, furniture, network infrastructure, access control, managed IT, managed cloud, and managed security services.
Are Managed Print Services Still Evolving?
But back to my initial question: Are managed print services still evolving? First, let’s see how Gartner defines MPS: “Managed print services (MPS) are services offered by an external provider to optimize or manage a company’s document output. The main components provided are needs assessment, selective or general replacement of hardware, and the service, parts, and supplies needed to operate the new and/or existing hardware (including existing third-party equipment if this is required by the customer). The provider also tracks how the printer, fax, copier and MFP fleet is being used, the problems, and the user’s satisfaction.”
I hope in 2023, we can check the boxes on assessment, hardware, software, and tracking usage as doing/done. But what about user satisfaction? Are happy users on top of the list? And what about automation?
I like how most OEMs and some of the larger dealerships are packaging MPS. They promote a holistic approach to optimizing organizations’ document and content processes, including automation, digital transformation, security, cloud, analytics, and sustainability. And I hear you; running a small reseller business with only a handful of specialists looking after a customer base consisting of equally small businesses and their requirements can be significantly simpler than those of larger companies.
Nevertheless, you should be as much on top of the latest security challenges and workflow trends as the “big boys” and share these insights with your customers. After all, it is your expertise they rely on to keep their businesses running. And their success, in turn, is your success (see Gartner’s definition of success and “user’s satisfaction”).
Let’s wrap it up and conclude that even as managed print services aren’t evolving so much, your skills and business must do to keep your customers’ satisfaction.