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The evolving MPS landscape
European vendor analysis 2009
By: Quocirca
Published: October 2009
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Managed print services (MPS) offer organisations the opportunity to control costs, reduce the complexity of managing a heterogeneous infrastructure and improve business processes. With many organisations striving to do more with less, MPS can cut both capital and operational expenses. Now is the time to tackle the huge cost and productivity drain represented by an unmanaged print environment. MPS passes control of this complex infrastructure to the experts leaving an organisation to focus on its core business competencies.

Quocirca believes that the use of managed print services (MPS) will increase significantly over the next two years as organisations of all sizes focus on reducing the cost, complexity and risk associated with an unmanaged print environment. MPS is growing in adoption, particularly in larger organisations, and is increasingly characterised by out-tasked engagements where flexible services are tailored to business needs. Yet there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and for any organisation tackling spiralling print costs a multitude of considerations must be borne in mind before committing to, and developing, an MPS strategy.

  • Organisations must undertake MPS as part of a strategy to lower costs, manage complexity and reduce the risks associated with unmanaged multi-vendor environments Unmanaged print environments represent a huge cost drain and are characterised by fragmented ownership, device sprawl and a mix of old and new technology. This results in poor visibility and control over what is printed, leading to excessive consumption of paper, toner and ink. MPS rationalises the print environment by minimising device proliferation through reducing user-to-device ratios. This simplifies management tasks, provides economies of scale in respect to managing supplies and maximises business uptime through proactive monitoring.
  • HP and Xerox dominate the MPS market and continue to reshape their MPS strategy A maturing and consolidating market has increased manufacturers' focus on services as a vehicle to increase margins and long-term revenue opportunities. Xerox's recent acquisition of ACS, a BPO provider, is reflective of a market that is expanding to include business process transformation, and positions it well to offer a wider service portfolio to enterprises looking to automate paper dependent processes. Meanwhile HP has filled gaps in its product portfolio through its strategic alliance with Canon, enabling it to give MPS customers access to a broader range of devices. Much of HP's success has drawn on leveraging its strong relationships with IT decision makers, particularly in enterprises looking to outsource both their IT and print environments. Quocirca expects both vendors will strive to differentiate their offerings as the market becomes increasingly competitive.
  • Environmental assessments are increasing in popularity Assessments which measure the environmental impact of an organisation's printing infrastructure are playing a larger part in many MPS tenders, with HP, Ricoh and Xerox all offering this type of assessment. While this is not always a primary motivator for investing in MPS, device consolidation and document workflow solutions can offer major reductions in energy and paper consumption.
  • Organisations should evaluate whether a single or multi-vendor strategy may deliver the best outcome With little standardisation between software platforms and devices between manufacturers, a single vendor strategy will simplify management, streamline vendor relationship management and reduce the number of support contracts. However, there are inherent risks associated with using one service provider and a single vendor may not have the product range, specialisation or domain knowledge to handle all the requirements of an organisation. This can be addressed through a multi-vendor best-of-breed approach where an MPS provider may complement their own devices and solutions with those of competitors.
  • The benefits of MPS extend beyond office printing to improving business processes Although significant and rapid cost savings can be made from rationalising office printing, consideration should also be to leverage existing investments in multifunction products (MFPs) which offer sophisticated document capture, management and archiving integration capabilities.
  • Despite cost-cutting success, organisations must ensure that they are not compromising on flexibility and innovation While organisations will continue to find the value propositions of guaranteed cost reduction and access to skills compelling, they must ensure that contracts also allow for market shifts and changing business and customer needs. Long term MPS contracts need the flexibility to integrate with new technology to meet changing market and business demands.

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