A managed print services feeding frenzy has started. The latest examples: Xerox Corp. has acquired NewField IT and Hewlett-Packard has acquired Printelligent. Xerox has publicly stated its commitment to VARs and MSPs in the managed print market. And in a wise move, HP is now taking similar channel-centric steps with its managed print services efforts. Here's why.
First, let's take a look at each deal:
Xerox acquired NewField IT -- a U.K.-based print consultant and software solution company -- in an effort to expand its managed print services (MPS) portfolio. NewField IT develops the Asset DB Suite, which allows businesses of all sizes to create maps and digital floor plans that display how copiers, printers and other MPS devices are used throughout an office. According to Xerox Corp. President of Global Document Outsourcing Stephen Cronin:
"NewField IT’s Asset DB is a user-friendly software, which speeds up some MPS implementations by up to four times. This will accelerate the return on the MPS investment for all our clients, helping boost business growth as they reinvest the costs savings into other areas of the business."Call it an educated guess, but we expect Xerox to make the Asset DB Suite available to VARs and MSPs via the Xerox PagePack managed print services partner program.
HP Makes AcquisitionMeanwhile, HP has acquired Printelligent, a managed print services specialist. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Here's the really interesting part: HP specifically mentioned midmarket channel partners as part of the news announcement. According to a prepared statement:
"The infrastructure, software and trained workforce of Printelligent, combined with HP’s channel relationships, experience and broad base of services and solutions will strengthen HP’s leadership in MPS. This acquisition, combined with HP’s current assets, also will help HP’s channel partners extend their customer relationships while recognizing new revenue streams. The greatest opportunity for MPS worldwide will be in midsize companies, with five-year projected compound annual growth rates of 14 to 23 percent..."Ironically, Printelligent acquired a managed print business from DirectPointe in early 2011.
Lots of Strategic MovesThe managed print services market has seen multiple competitive moves in recent months. Among the milestones worth noting:
- Xerox commands about half of the international MPS market, according to a late 2010 report.
- Hewlett-Packard amended its PartnerOne program so that it could start rewarding its own MSPs and VARs for promoting HP MPS services.
- Xerox inked a partnership with Office Depot in March 2011 through which Office Depot began offering Xerox MPS services in Europe. Xerox's latest acquisition of NewField IT is further proof of Xerox's plan to enter the European Market.
- Xerox has also partnered with Cisco to offer cloud-based IT and managed print services.
- Konica Minolta acquired All Covered, a U.S.-based MSP with national reach, in early 2011.
Remaining ChallengesDespite all the managed print activity, only about 20 percent of MSPmentor 100 companies offer managed print services to their end-customers. Generally speaking, I think printer manufacturers have spent too much time selling managed print services direct and too little time engaging VARs and MSPs in the process. But that appears to be changing.
A prime example: OKI Printing Solutions sponsored Autotask Community Live earlier this week, promoting managed print services to several hundred VARs and MSPs that attended the conference. And printer companies have been rallying around managed print conferences hosted by Photizo Group.
Additional reporting by Nicholas Mukhar. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.