The rumors are back: After beta testing some managed print services with partners in 2009, Dell might be ready to officially enter the managed print services market. There's nothing 100% official yet, but there's plenty of chatter in the market. Here's the update.
Rewind to March 2009. At the time, Dell disclosed to MSPmentor that they company was testing managed print services with a handful of MSPs. As part of the effort, Dell vowed to support third-party printers -- everyone from HP to Xerox devices.
Fast forward to the present and Dell seems ready to make some official moves. The latest speculation surfaced on PCWorld, which reported:
[Dell] is laying down the framework to enter the market by releasing enterprise printer hardware around which it could provide services, said Donald Heath, senior product manager in Dell's printing and imaging division. The company's next step would be to unify printing hardware and provide managed services to reduce the cost per page printed, Heath said.Dell's interest in the managed services market is well-documented. The company acquired Silverback Technologies and Everdream in 2007 as part of a push to remotely manage customer systems. Dell's more recent buyout of Perot Systems has helped the company to accelerate its enterprise managed services efforts.
Next up, PCWorld reports:
"Dell in the coming months will release a software package to unify printer infrastructures in enterprises and will also incorporate OpenManage Printer Manager software into the Dell Management Console, which brings device and task management in server environments under a single application."There's also word that Java capabilities are being embedded in the printers, so custom software can be implemented.
No doubt, plenty of vendors have jumped on the managed print services bandwagon -- though there seems to be plenty of room for growth. Less than 30 percent of MSPmentor 100 survey participants offer managed print services to their end customers, according to our 2010 report. To help grow the market, Photizo Group has launched a series of managed print services conferences.
Direct or Indirect?Meanwhile, Dell's managed print strategy faces a few questions. For starters, most of the PCWorld article focused on direct-oriented sales, rather than MSP-led engagements.
Dell in recent months has taken steps to reinforce its partner messaging to MSPs, but rivals like Nimsoft (now owned by CA Inc.) claim more and more MSPs are abandoning Dell in favor of Nimsoft's software.
We've got an email into Dell to see if they have any additional managed print details to share with MSPs.
Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com.