The following was written by Louella Fernandes of Quocirca
The managed print services (MPS) market continues to evolve beyond the core services of device consolidation towards driving improved business efficiency around paper-dependent processes. While many organisations are still at the early stages of their MPS journey, Quocirca estimates that around 20% have moved to next generation contracts that incorporate document workflow and additional services such as business process services (BPS) and IT services (ITS). Industry expertise remains a key differentiator as providers expand their business process automation capabilities.
Leaders possess a strong balance of capability, strategy and market presence
Xerox heads a closely packed group of leaders. In addition to Xerox, market leaders also include HP, Ricoh, Lexmark and Canon. Xerox currently offers the broadest service portfolio across office, mobile, production and off-site commercial environments. HP’s MPS offerings are differentiated by an extensive solutions portfolio with a mature vision for the cloud, mobility and security. Lexmark continues to expand its ECM credentials through acquisition and its workflow automation capabilities are also bolstered by mature industry expertise. Ricoh continues to expand its MPS footprint with enhanced ITS and BPS capabilities while Canon is working to strengthen its BPO capabilities.
Strong performers provide complementary strengths
Konica Minolta and Kyocera lead the strong performers’ category. While possessing significant strengths, these suppliers may lack the global reach or market presence of more established MPS competitors. Konica Minolta’s sweet spot is mid-size organisations, which has helped contribute to significant growth in 2013. It is particularly focusing on growth through IT services, where it is working to unify acquired service providers. Kyocera is emerging as a credible player in the market with its MDS proposition, which is primarily delivered through its dealer network.
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Predictable costs is the top driver for MPS
Notably, gaining predictable costs was the top reason for moving to a managed print service (average score of 4.3 out of 5), above improved service quality (3.9) and reducing consumables costs (3.8). The cloud is certainly helping to drive interest in managed services, offering similar benefits of predictable expenses and services that can be scaled up or down as business needs change. Predictable and transparent pricing is a key tenet of an MPS model and can help businesses reduce costs and gain the financial flexibility to structure OPEX and CAPEX, and potentially fund transformation programmes.
MPS is a platform for increased business efficiency
The most effective MPS engagements have moved beyond a hardware-centric model for device consolidation and optimisation to a business process-centric approach. With the majority of enterprises looking to increase their digitisation efforts, MPS is proving an effective approach to the integration of a digital workflow. Over half of MPS users are confident that they are effectively integrating paper-based information with digital workflows, compared to less than 10% of non-MPS users. Better integration with broader ECM platforms will be a key differentiator for MPS providers over the coming year.
Supporting enterprise mobility and security is a key need
Document security is cited as the top print management challenge amongst enterprises, particularly as more move to a shared MFP environment where devices, and therefore uncollected output, can be exposed to many users. Yet many are still failing to protect their print infrastructure, with almost 90% of enterprises indicating that they have suffered at least one data loss through unsecured printing. With the financial and legal ramifications of a data breach, not to mention the brand damage, the print security gap must be closed. More MPS providers are offering comprehensive security assessments that recommend the implementation of an integrated ‘pull-printing’ platform.
Key success criteria for MPS providers
Businesses looking to start or extend their MPS journey should look for an MPS provider that can have a truly transformative business impact. Employees are demanding access to the latest technologies that enable them to work flexibly and productively. Meanwhile, customer expectations are changing, meaning organisations must interact in more dynamic, agile ways to maintain competitive advantage. This demands a new kind of MPS provider that can tame the complexity of the print infrastructure, removing the IT burden, whilst helping them focus on innovation and employee and customer satisfaction.
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About the Author
With over 20 years’ experience in the print industry, Louella Fernandes is a respected and globally recognised analyst focusing on the evolution of business printing. Louella is currently Associate Director for Print Services and Solutions at Quocirca.