Channel partners need to start investing now for the move to managed print services, according to Hewlett-Packard New Zealand Imaging and Print Group manager, Hamish Alexander.
"One observation I’ve made is that we’re seeing channel partners not making the investment to be successful in this area.”
Alexander says he has seen some consolidation around the imaging and printing channel in the past year, with more specialist partners investing in the area. "But some of the channel are not looking at the real future, which is managed print services, where instead of buying a box and toner, they are offered managed print services (MPS) and are charged by the amount of prints.”
Alexander says many who are traditionally good at selling transactional services – selling a box and toner to the end-user – are struggling to take MPS to end users. "We’re still seeing a very large proportion selling transactional services and being very happy to do so.”
However, he says end customers are increasingly demanding managed print services. "If you look at direct vendors today, that’s all they do. You’ll still have customers who want the box and toner, but more and more if partners want to compete with direct vendors they will have to offer managed print services.”
Alexander says while mid-market customers are leading the charge and viewing MPS as ‘a compelling way to save money in printing’, enterprise and government organisations are also putting it on the agenda and learning and understanding more about the value of the service. "Though that’s not to say they’re all across it and actively buying into it,” he says.
"[Channel partners] need to put a stake in the ground. They need to really put their hands up and say they’re going to focus on doing really well in this area and to invest in infrastructure, resources and expertise.
"It does require a level of investment to have a compelling offering and to upskill your current sales people to be confident in selling the services.”
Alexander says managed print services are an increasing focus for Hewlett Packard ‘and we’ll certainly be supporting the channel to enable them to grow’.
Alexander’s role at HP New Zealand was recently expanded to include management of the managed enterprise solutions business for the country. The role sees Alexander working to implement HP’s enterprise print solutions around managed print services, with a particular focus on supporting HP’s role on the New Zealand government’s all-of-government panel. The company was selected as the panel print supplier for the all-of-government contract earlier this year.