A review of Managed Print Services (MPS) programmes for SMBs and midmarket organisations
Quocirca believes that the use of managed print services (MPS) in the midmarket will increase significantly as more printer and copier manufacturers launch packaged services for channel partners that enable them to capture on-going revenue opportunities. Midmarket businesses are just as likely as their larger counterparts to struggle with escalating print costs, along with loss of productivity as a result of time spent on dealing with printer downtime and manual ordering processes for supplies. Fortunately, there are a wide range of simple and flexible managed print services offerings that midmarket businesses can take advantage of, depending on the scope of their printing needs.
- Midmarket organisations must take a fresh look at their print environment
Unmanaged print environments represent a huge cost and productivity drain to an organisation, particularly when a mix of old and new technology is used that often requires different service contracts and consumables. This can be an administration headache for any business, with time often being spent dealing with printer problems and ad-hoc, inefficient supplies ordering.
- The availability of channel-led MPS offerings continues to evolve from established enterprise MPS vendors
The MPS concept has emerged as a way of replicating the copier service delivery model, which is based on per-page pricing provided with service and support. Many vendors, including HP, Lexmark, Oki, Ricoh and Xerox, have developed similar services to create a recurring revenue stream to augment or replace the transactional approach to buying printer hardware and supplies on an ad-hoc basis.
- The benefits of MPS extend beyond simple cost-per-page contracts
Like any utility service pricing approach, MPS contracts are based on a cost-per-page, which requires volume commitments. A recurring charge includes consumables and service and the more sophisticated services use remote monitoring to alert providers to device failure or when consumables are running low. Such proactive support can significantly improve device uptime, supplies administration and reduce the pressure on strained IT resources, as the MPS provider takes care of installing, supporting and maintaining printing devices.
- Lease-based MPS contracts eliminate the need to purchase new hardware
Often the biggest barrier for many companies signing a new service agreement is the need for capital expenditure to purchase new hardware. Lease-based MPS agreements, such as HP QuickPage, overcome this issue by including a lease rental agreement. Therefore, the monthly cost includes the cost of the hardware, meaning capital expenditure is eliminated and the new hardware doesn't appear as a depreciating asset on company accounts.
- Xerox currently offers the most established set of MPS offerings for channel partners
Xerox has a broad channel MPS portfolio, from basic maintenance and supplies contracts, such as PagePack, to its multivendor services for the channel, Xerox Partner Print Services (XPPS). In March 2010 Xerox extended its XPPS service and support to offer click-based, cost-per-page contracts on non-Xerox devices. XPPS now has 22 new partners, spread across 13 countries, including six accredited partners in the UK. XPPS has been well received by multi-brand resellers due to the comprehensive set of tools and infrastructure that Xerox hosts. HP's QuickPage fills a gap in its current range of services by providing a simple packaged service for resellers with limited or no experience of MPS HP QuickPage is designed to help SMBs with a contractual agreement that covers hardware, installation, supplies and support of HP devices. The InCommand portal enables both resellers and customers to track usage and manage contracts. As yet, third party devices are not supported, but this is expected to be the next stage in the development of HP's QuickPage offerings. HP hopes that QuickPage will be particularly attractive to IT resellers who have limited skills and infrastructure to manage MPS contracts. The success of MPS in the SMB market relies on the strength of channel services Undoubtedly, the SMB market represents a huge opportunity for manufacturers and resellers alike to capture incremental revenue opportunities. In the face of continued hardware commoditisation and shrinking margins, resellers must make the transition from transactional to services-led approaches. While resellers require simple and flexible tools that limit the infrastructure investment, they must invest in the human resources necessary to take their MPS business forward.
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