Enterprises looking for flexibility in their contracts, a better roadmap for innovation, and a clearer strategy for information management, wish to zero in on a solution provider, who demonstrates long-term viability and stability.
The new world of managed print services is defined by changing customer ambitions, new priorities, and a different set of challenges. As a consequence, organizations are looking for more flexibility in their MPS contracts, a better roadmap for innovation and a clearer strategy for information management. This is changing the value proposition for MPS. Whilst cost-saving expectations are assumed, a more important role is sought in helping organizations realize strategic growth plans. The past year has seen significant changes in the print industry with major vendors undergoing changes in organization. Although this has not impacted their market position, moving forward, customers will be looking for a solution provider that can demonstrate long-term viability and stability.
MPS has the opportunity to play an increasingly important role in business transformation. Whilst organizations remain reliant on printing to support many business activities, print is becoming more peripheral in today's digital and mobile culture. This is promoting the shift to digitization for both back office processing and front office customer interaction, meaning MPS providers need to expand their skills and solutions for digital workflow automation.
Meanwhile, cloud-based platforms are raising expectations not only for document sharing and collaboration but also for flexible service delivery. Consequently, customers have higher expectations, and expect MPS not only to deliver on cost and service promises but also deliver long-term business value. There is certainly opportunity for MPS providers to broaden their footprint - as the need is for a single provider for MPS and IT services or business process services. Organizations are ready, but do providers have the breadth and depth of skill and expertise to address the needs of today's more demanding enterprise?
The MPS Landscape
MPS market is characterized by a strong leadership group. Xerox leads a tightly packed group of leading providers including HP, Canon, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Konica Minolta. Xerox has built a credible and strong portfolio of services for organizations of all sizes, enhanced by an expanded range of workflow automation solutions. HP continues to enhance its MPS proposition, particularly around its workflow and security-led services. Ricoh has also added to its numerous service lines and is increasingly taking a more business-process-centric approach to MPS. Lexmark continues to stand out for its extensive software portfolio and industry expertise.
Konica Minolta has expanded its MPS footprint, moving into the leader's category. This has been boosted by continued investment in its information-management-led MPS offerings and its adjacent IT services capabilities.
Cost, security, and service are driving the MPS agenda. Whilst cost will always be a primary reason for adopting a managed print service, organizations are looking to achieve more than just cost savings to drive business value. Security remains top of the agenda. The need for secure print solutions and services is heightened given the fact that organizations report that print-related data breach is a common phenomenon.
MPS is delivering on cost-saving expectations, yet customers are not entirely satisfied with their existing MPS provider. Additionally, they feel that MPS is no longer just about achieving significant cost-reduction targets. It is also about moving to an optimized future state that drives business process efficiency. It is here that MPS providers are falling short of expectations - particularly in areas such as information management, flexible contract terms, and innovation. Overall, 30 percent of customers plan to switch MPS provider at renewal. Low satisfaction rates for service delivery, flexible contract terms, and analytics to improve operational performance are cited as main reasons.
MPS is an enabler for digital transformation. In a recent Quocirca survey, although over 80 percent of organizations viewed MPS as an important driver for digital transformation, just 27 percent were very satisfied with their MPS providers with regard to a clear information management strategy that incorporates paper and digital processes. This is more strongly the case in larger organizations. Although most MPS providers have access to an extensive workflow solutions portfolio, process automation demands a new breed of providers that can address the complex needs of larger organizations. Here, MPS is encroaching on the traditional business process outsourcing (BPO) space, and success may ultimately rely on better collaboration with specialist providers.
The road to business transformation. MPS providers have had a competitive advantage for some time given their mature expertise and infrastructure for assessment, device optimization, and service delivery. While they also have expertise for digital transformation, the successful MPS providers will be those that can bridge the gap between paper and digital and create a long-term road map for business transformation. Organizations need strong proof points on provider performance and capability as MPS evolves into a broader, more complex business-process-centric outsourcing engagement.
The MPS landscape includes printer/copier manufacturers, systems integrators, and software infrastructure vendors.
Printer/copier manufacturers: These vendors' programs are generally tied to their product offerings, although multi-vendor support is often offered. Service offerings include assessment, design, implementation, and support services. They may also offer MPS programs to their reseller partners. Vendors in this category include Canon, HP, Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Samsung, Sharp, Ricoh, Toshiba, and Xerox.
Systems integrators/resellers: These are a channel to market for some printer and copier vendors, and may offer MPS as part of a wider managed IT services offering.
Independent software vendors (ISVs): These provide software tools for use in the print environment. Examples include print management and secure printing products from companies including Nuance, Print Audit, ECiFM Audit, PrintFleet, and YSoft. MPS providers often use such third-party products to add value to a particular element of their MPS portfolio.
Building a Successful MPS Relationship
Technology advancements and innovations including cloud computing, big data, mobility and business process automation are changing the MPS game. This is raising expectations for improved service delivery and longer-term business efficiency. Therefore, organizations need to consider how the MPS provider is supporting their strategic goals. Quocirca recommends that organizations consider the following approach:
Think long-term: Organizations should work with MPS providers on a strategic, rather than transactional level. This will deliver better value, particularly from MPS providers that show a vision for adapting their proposition to encompass broader digital transformation. This means thinking long-term about business transformation and which providers are best equipped to provide the support needed. This decision should be based on industry knowledge and business process expertise. MPS providers need to make the transition from high-quality service delivery to innovative and proactive partnerships with their customers. As MPS enters the realms of business transformation, contracts will become increasingly complex and involve a wider range of stakeholders. Organizations will, therefore, need strong governance capabilities in place to enforce compliance and balance all stakeholder requirements.
Align MPS to business need: MPS has been successful at reducing the cost and complexity associated with an unmanaged printer fleet. However, as it moves beyond this key foundation, organizations should consider if the MPS provider is able to address their long-term needs around business process improvement. As the market develops, it may be that MPS providers will need to collaborate with service partners across IT services and business process services to deliver the most effective engagement.
Optimize the use of analytics: Analytics are now a critical technology differentiator for improving outcomes of MPS engagements. This not only improves operational performance on an on-going basis, but can also support long-term strategies for business efficiency improvement, through understanding existing document and business processes.
Organizations should demand strong analytical capabilities from their MPS provider, supported by strategic business reviews to ensure that the MPS contract continues to deliver on agreed service level expectations.
Consider flexible models that leverage the cloud: MPS providers face the challenge of delivering traditional MPS whilst meeting the growing demand from organizations that are migrating to cloud computing. Forward thinking MPS providers need to provide enhanced and differentiated service offerings around the cloud to deliver value-added services. This creates the potential for subscription-based contracts and "MPS in the cloud"- type offerings. MPS could potentially become an element of an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model which could open up new opportunities for MPS providers and cost efficiencies for customers.
Based on Managed Print Services Landscape, 2016 by Quocirca