2013: The Year of Managed Print Services (Really; Here's Why)

2013: The Year of Managed Print Services (Really; Here's Why)

I'm beginning to believe managed print services (MPS) will gain mainstream success with managed services providers (MSPs) in 2013. In some ways that's a change of heart for me. I've always believed in managed print services but I wasn't sure when we'd see truly mass adoption. I think 2013 is the year. Here's why...

... based on five emerging trends:

1. On the Agenda: The managed print services chatter started at conferences hosted by Photizo Group. But now the dialog is spilling over into MSP-centric conferences hosted by software companies. Most demos show RMM (remote monitoring and management) software platforms now managing a range of printers from all of the major printer manufacturers.

2. On One Dashboard: MSPs didn't want Yet Another Dashboard for managed print; they wanted it integrated with RMM and PSA (professional services automation) software and dashboards. That's been happening over the past few months. And I've heard from Kaseya, LabTech Software, Level Platforms and N-able Technologies regarding managed print over the last week weeks.

3. On the Network - As Endpoints: The other big MPS motivator: Amid all the questions about on-premises vs. cloud computing, endpoint devices like multi-function printers are never, ever going away. (At least not as far as I can tell...)

4. On the Emerging Market List: Yes, you can join managed print partner programs from specific printer manufacturers. But startups, with no particular printer preference, are beginning to help MSPs with managed print services.

  • One example is DocuWise, which makes a proprietary managed print platform called PESO (Print Environment System Organization). DocuWise CEO Ron Harris attended Kaseya Connect 2012 last week in Las Vegas, and DocuWise claims to integrate with most of the major help desk and accounting systems.
  • Another example is UniPrint, a Citrix Systems virtualization partner is promoting a managed print solution that links any device, while leveraging PDF technology rather than manufacturers' print drivers.
5. On the M&A Agenda: I'm aware of at least one major MSP with managed print services expertise that will soon be acquired. I believe 15 percent of the MSP's revenues come from managed print services, but that 15 percent is the most valuable revenue stream, according to the potential buyer.

MPS Adoption Stats

Admittedly, managed print services (MPS) is still an emerging market for many MSPs. Back in 2010, only about 20 percent of MSPs completing our annual MSPmentor 100 survey said they offered managed print services. By late 2011, that figure jumped to 30 percent.

My best guess: The figure will jump sharply again when we launch the sixth-annual MSPmentor 100 survey in October 2012. And then, perhaps 2013 will finally be the year of managed print services.

If I'm wrong I'll eat crow in 2013. In the meantime, I think managed print services are nearing a tipping point with MSPs.
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