Managed Print Services: Finding the Money

As a former help-desk technician, I have some strong opinions about managed print services (MPS). Channel chatter about the MPS market is growing louder. More MPS conferences are planned, more research is surfacing and our third-annual MSPmentor 100 survey reveals some interesting MPS trends. So where is managed print heading next? Here are some clues.

According to our ongoing MSPmentor 100 survey (deadline for entries is today, Dec. 11), nearly 29 percent of managed service providers say they offer managed print services. But MSPmentor raised the following question in November 2009:

Is the managed print market really that hot? Or are printer makers talking up the opportunity because their traditional printer sales are under intense pressure?

Making Their Pitch

No doubt, printer makers are stepping up their MPS educational efforts. According to a recent Quocirca survey (co-sponsored by Xerox), almost 70% of respondents said that better management of print infrastructure is a strategic imperative. The big push, of course, being cost savings. Even with a recession, the survey showed that 90% of people said they'd continue to deploy managed print services -- simply to reduce the cost of printing, sharing and updating documents.

Sometimes we're skeptical of sponsored research, but the report had some interesting figures:
  • 41 percent of respondents say printing accounts for more than 10 percent of their IT budget; in the financial services sector this number rises to 65 percent.
  • Nearly half of U.S. respondents expect to gain savings of more than 30 percent through an MPS contract.
  • 60 percent of current MPS users are satisfied with the cost savings achieved since implementing MPS, with an additional 25 percent indicating that the cost savings exceeded expectations.

Real-world Experience

Here's what caught my attention: As a former Help Desk Technician, I saw the disjointed effort of our IT team to manage numerous printers. We had a huge closet stocked full of printer cartridges for a multiude of printers across the company. Some were for executives' personal printers, others were for shared printers in departments. There was:
  • No consistency.
  • No rhyme or reason to when we ordered certain cartridges.
  • There was also the effort and time spent installing printer drivers, re-setting up printers for newly imaged computers, assigning the correct IP address for network printers, and of course, the physical setup of a new printer.
With all those challenges in mind, educational summits like the North American MPS conference are popping up. I haven't been to the conference previously so I can't give you a feel for its content. But I certainly endorse the concept of managed print education. The market seems ripe with opportunity...

Or am I falling for the hype?

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