The printer fleet is an important part of any business’ IT requirements and, considering cost-per-print, consumables, routine maintenance and service, it can be a significant business cost.
In today’s marketplace, over 75% of enterprise businesses have an existing managed print services (MPS) contract. The opportunity for channel partners is with the SMB mid market, with only 5% of SMBs having an MPS contract in place.
SMBs are faced with limited resources, expertise and budget when it comes to managing their printing needs. In addition to cost, dealing with printer problems and ordering supplies can be a productivity drain.
It is therefore not surprising that SMB interest in MPS is gaining momentum. Photizo market research predicts the Asia Pacific MPS market will grow by more than 60% in the coming year and most of the growth will occur through the SMB market. This is faster than any other region in the world and six of the top 10 fastest growing markets for MPS are in Asia Pacific. The Photizo conference, held in Sydney this month, was aptly entitled ‘The Year of the Channel’, representing the opportunities which the MPS sector provides for channel partners.
SMBs are moving away from buying printers and are looking to invest in efficient and cost effective printing solutions. They are investing in tools and technologies that offer a predictable costing structure, increased productivity and allow users to make better business decisions.
MPS presents opportunities for both channel partners and the end customer. Businesses are offered high service levels, reduced and predictable costs, automated supplies ordering, visibility into print activity and usage and improved staff productivity. By adopting MPS, businesses can spend less time dealing with printing issues and focus on their core business and profit-driving activities.
MPS can also help channel partners compete more strongly in a changing marketplace, offering them the opportunity to move from a transactional customer relationship to a lasting, contractual agreement. This can also help channel partners tap into guaranteed revenue streams from consumables and maintenance contracts.
Skills and tools
To help resellers capitalise on the opportunity that MPS offers, it will be important for them to gain the same skills and access the same tools that vendors have been using to sell MPS to larger enterprises for the last decade. MPS also requires that the channel undergoes a significant mind-shift in how printing is sold. It’s not about the box anymore.
MPS training programmes can help resellers gain the confidence required to effectively engage with a customer and close a deal. A good programme will assist with lead generation and customer assessment, as well as programme design, implementation and ongoing management.
Clever software is now available which makes it easier than ever for resellers to analyse customer work environments. For example, tools are available which can create visual maps of a floor plan to show how printers and copiers are used throughout an office. By understanding usage patterns, resellers can then advise on the most efficient way to manage devices and overall print-related costs, in turn working directly with customers to develop a customised MPS programs.
In today’s economy, when the focus is on cost cutting and improving staff productivity, printing is often an unexplored opportunity for savings. Although it is estimated that a business’ total document output could be as high as 6% of total annual revenue, many businesses actually have no idea or their printing costs. Demonstrating the predictability and visibility of costs will be essential for channel partners in helping their customers make the transition to MPS.