For the third time in recent weeks, MSP software providers are pushing the managed print services (MPS) market forward. The latest example comes from Level Platforms, which offers managed print and cloud management capabilities in the new Managed Workplace 2011 R3 release. Somewhat similarly, LabTech Software and N-able Technologies have also been talking up managed print services in recent weeks. After several false starts, MSPmentor believes the managed print services market is finally poised for considerable channel growth. Here's why.
Generally speaking, I think all of the major RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers are introducing managed print capabilities. Level Platforms claims its latest release, Managed Workplace 2011 R3, allows MSPs to:
"comprehensively monitor and manage printing and imaging assets, optimizing the return on investment of their customers’ document production processes through increased printer uptime, reduced costs and new programs including just-in-time supply replenishment and Cost-per-Copy programs."
Software Companies Back Managed Print ServicesThe new Level Platforms release debuts a few weeks after the IT Nation conference, where ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini demonstrated managed print services integrated with LabTech and ConnectWise software. Also, N-able and its technology partners heavily promoted managed print services during the N-able Partner Summit in October 2011.
Bottom line: Perhaps the managed print services market is beginning to reach a tipping point in the channel. Over the past two years or so, printer companies have increasingly promoted managed print services. Xerox continues to evangelize its PagePack and eConcierge services. And Konica Minolta is planning a partner conference in January 2011 to further the managed print discussion.
Managed Print Services' Steady RiseHere's the challenge: Many of those printer companies don't have deep relationships with MSPs. In 2010, only about 20 percent of top MSPs offered managed print services, according to last year's MSPmentor 100 survey. But this year's MSPmentor 100 survey -- which continues through Dec. 23, 2011 -- indicates that nearly 30 percent of MSPs offer managed print services, according to preliminary survey data.
What's behind the uptick? I believe RMM software providers deserve the credit, pulling printer companies into their conferences and helping MSPs to find potential recurring revenues that they've previously overlooked. Photizo Group also deserves some credit; the company has organized a range of managed print services conferences and continually bangs the drum for MPS.
Still, I'm not suggesting managed print services will become a widespread service for MSPs. Plenty of MSPs have tried managed print services, only to abandon the model because of sales, pricing and support challenges.