Managed Print Services: What Comes Next?

Peter Sheahan, author of  FL!P" and "Generation Y, spoke at the Managed Print Services Conference this week in Orlando, Fla. Sheahan's premise: Business markets and industries are changing faster than ever. And that includes managed print services. So how can channel partners stay ahead of the curve? Sheahan offered a few ideas.

"Your greatest weakness is collective experience," said Sheahan, explaining that as soon as you have success, and as soon as you know how to replicate that, it immediately becomes what could destroy you. Sheahan suggested that this was one of the key challenges within the managed print industry. Vendors, service providers and end-users alike needed to shift away from what the traditional managed print definition, and look at how it can be successful from a different angle. For example, the 'old' MPS model is largely felt to be vendors selling boxes, and companies selling toner and paper. The 'new' way is providing a customer with a comprehensive relationship that looks at printing behavior and analytics to save money and increase efficiencies.

By looking at big companies like Sony, Kodak, Apple, and Progressive, Sheahan described where companies turned traditional 'success' on its head to out-innovate and move ahead, or cases where they completely failed to innovate, and got stuck in the mud.

  • Kodak: Sheahan said that Kodak's current revenue come from litigation outcomes, not products or services, since Kodak failed to ride the digital camera wave at the right time.
  • Sony: The company's lack of cross-department dialogue resulted in Apple beating Sony at their own game.
  • Progressive: The insurance company found that by trusting their customers when they file insurance claims, they could make more money, instead of spending money on lawyers to battle their customers' claims.
So how does one continue to out-innovate and build a life beyond MPS or whatever MPS evolves into? Sheahan says that the secret is in "stitching" or "parallel production." Instead of stringing together product development through each department in a company, all the departments should be involved in development at the same time. Not only is it more efficient, but it can mitigate issues that would happen later on down the line. That multiple perspective approach is a way to arrive at new paradigms of success, too.

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