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Analysis

Xerox Enterprise Print Services: From the desktop to the in-house print centre
Louella Fernandes By: Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca
Published: 9th November 2009
Copyright Quocirca © 2009
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Xerox's move to widen the scope of its MPS offerings across the enterprise addresses the need to manage and control printing as it occurs in several parts of the organisation—at the desktop, in the home or other remote locations, or in internal print-rooms. In itself, the office environment represents a significant source of paper output and is characterised by a range of printers, copiers and multifunction peripherals (MFPs). This environment can be a huge cost drain due to the lack of control many organisations have on who is printing what, when and where. Ineffective printing practices not only lead to excessive paper wastage, but can also pose document security risks, while equipment failure can impact user productivity and put pressure on already stretched IT support resources.

While some organisations are turning to using an external managed print services (MPS) provider to take control of the office print environment, few have recognised the further cost savings to be gained by improving efficiencies around the processes for printing material to either in-house print rooms or to external print shops. Meanwhile, as enterprise mobility continues to grow, these decentralised workers need the same support and device access as any office worker to ensure productivity levels are not impacted.

Through optimisation of the print infrastructure, enterprises stand to gain direct cost savings of up to 30%, and can also further improve productivity, business continuity and boost environmental credentials. With Xerox Enterprise Print Services, Xerox is now looking to extend these cost savings across the enterprise—bringing the management and control of office, production and virtual environments together. Xerox has already been delivering MPS for over seven years, managing 1.5 million devices, just over 50% of which are other vendors' devices. Xerox has built its market-leading position on delivering MPS for heterogeneous environments on a global scale.

Some of the capabilities of Xerox's EPS offering include:

  • Office workers can submit complex print-jobs to the print-room from the desktop. This uses the Xerox Job Ticket web-based submission tool and enables users to specify printing/copying/finishing options as well as track job requests. Intelligent print routing can also identify the most cost effective or efficient devices to print to.
  • External print procurement: The sourcing of print services from external print shops can often be a fragmented, manual and time consuming process. As a result, costs can go unchecked leaving organisations with little visibility into how much they are spending across the enterprise on external printed material. Xerox's external print sourcing capabilities provide an organisation with centralised control, and leverage economies of scale to control print expenditure.
  • Support for home and virtual printing: Xerox monitors off-site devices and reaches out via phone, e-mail or Web-based support sessions to provide technical assistance. Universal print drivers give mobile workers easy access to print output devices when working in corporate offices.

Xerox has long had the ability to deliver extended services such as central reprographics departments (CRDs) and mailroom outsourcing, document process optimisation and print room staffing, so EPS is essentially a re-positioning of its services for the enterprise under one umbrella. Yet Quocirca's research shows that few organisations use a single provider to manage the office and print room together. This is primarily due to the different stakeholders involved in managing print rooms and mailrooms and, as such, MPS engagements largely focus on the office environment. Even if the print room is included in the scope of an MPS contract, it may often be subcontracted to a separate third party provider.

Nevertheless, the strategy to manage both the print room and office environment together is a sound one. Other competitors such as Ricoh and Canon are moving in the same direction. Canon, in particular, already offers tools to manage production workflow in the form of Helix, with functionality such as job ticketing and reporting and billing. Notably, Helix Production Workflow also integrates with Canon's print management tool for the office environment, uniFLOW Output Manager, meaning that enterprises can gain visibility across both office and print room costs. For Canon, around 30% of its large MPS deals include the print room and management of this environment is likely to be a feature of its new Managed Document Services (MDS) global proposition.

For many organisations, the office environment will remain the first port of call when it comes to tackling escalating print costs. However, for those organisations operating internal print centres or using external print shops, a holistic approach to managing print across the enterprise is vital to gain visibility into all print costs. However, the fragmented approach that has led to these environments being managed separately also means that there is no single stakeholder that owns this problem. This remains a challenge for any provider trying to sell a large enterprise MPS deal that transcends office and production printing. Similarly, large enterprises may not have the appetite for such large scale enterprise MPS deals, and are likely to prefer to start an MPS engagement in a piecemeal fashion.

Xerox is already offering EPS to companies such as The Dow Chemical Company, EMC, Procter and Gamble and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It is likely that those organisations most receptive to the EPS message will be those that wish to build on success gained from existing office MPS engagements and also those which are reliant on materials printed either internally or using external print shops. MPS will never be a "one-size-fits-all" approach, so Xerox's first step should therefore be to take existing MPS customers to the EPS environment, and then create a set of roadmaps for other organisations to illustrate how best to move from their current position to a suitable next step along the road to EPS. This for instance could be a more simple MPS offering as a starting point. Ultimately the end point would be a full EPS service, but the route to this will differ depending on an organisation's current level of control of their print environment.

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