CompTIA Breakaway: Managed Print Services Reality Check?

Call me surprised: Managed print services (MPS) seems to be an obvious recurring revenue opportunity for VARs and MSPs. But so far, fewer than 30 percent of top MSPs offer managed print services to their end-customers, according to our MSPmentor 100 report (2010 edition). Will more MSPs embrace the managed print opportunity? Or is there something inherently wrong with the MPS market? We could get some answers during the CompTIA Breakaway conference (San Antonio, Aug. 9-12). Here's why.

During CompTIA Breakway, it's safe to expect some MPS market analysis from Photizo Group, which hosts its own MPS-related conferences. Also of note: Strategy Development, a consulting firm in the MPS market, will be on hand to help VARs and MSPs with MPS business planning, sales structure and process, back office operations, and break fix service ideas.

Photizo Group predicts the MPS market will reach $26.7 billion across North American and Western Europe by 2012. I'm always skeptical of such figures -- especially when it's impossible to say how many of those dollars will potentially flow into channel partners' wallets.

Still, there are two other interesting points to note:

  • Photizo Group claims MPS will account for 35 percent of the total imaging market in 2012, up from 14 percent in 2007 -- so there seems to be a clear industry shift toward managed print. Photizo Group COO David Cameron is expected to share more insights at Breakaway.
  • And perhaps most interestingly, ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini recently made the case that managed print services will never, ever go away -- essentially providing a perpetual revenue stream for MSPs. It makes me wonder if CharTec -- a ConnectWise Capital company -- will next focus its hardware as a service (HaaS) expertise on MPS opportunities.
In retrospect, Bellini's MPS point seems obvious. But if it's so obvious how come most folks have somehow overlooked the point?

CompTIA's Position

Clearly, CompTIA also sees MPS as an opportunity for channel partners. The association already offers a basic entry-level, vendor-neutral certification (called CompTIA PDI+) for printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines.

But break-fix expertise is the legacy part of the MPS discussion. What VARs and MSPs really need is sales education, pricing strategies and other real-world information to help pitch managed print to end customers.

I suspect those points will surface during Photizo Group's session at CompTIA Breakaway, and during briefings with Strategy Development. I'm curious to hear how attendees respond.

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