Cash In on the ‘Ripple Effects’ of Managed Print

Managed-print opportunities often go far beyond the initial revenue streams of the services themselves. In fact, these ripple effects can be far-reaching for companies that also provide IT hardware and software sales, networking and security services, and consulting expertise.

On the flip side, VARs can leverage existing IT customers that are using related services to gain new sales opportunities for managed print services.

It’s a fact of business life that Rick Kreiser, president of Carney’s Business Technology, knows well. “Our goal is to get a bigger market share of machine populations so we can be more integrated into [customers'] environments,” he says.

Growth Track

The Bakersfield, Calif., company provides managed networks, IT project support, managed print, and backup and disaster recovery. It entered the managed print services business in earnest about three years ago. Carney’s had been manually collecting clicks on analog copiers and printers at customer sites as far back as 1991, but launched a more formal managed print services offering more recently, Kreiser says.

Managed print services and supplies now accounts for about 20 percent of Carney’s overall revenues, and they’re growing in sales at a rate of 10 percent to 15 percent each year.

Most of the analysis tools the company uses are tied in with the multiple services it provides, Kreiser says. In addition, Carney’s breadth of IT expertise gives it an advantage over other managed print service providers when it comes to offering a more complete array of services to customers.

“We can talk about security, storage, backup and all the other tools that the general print guys [usually] can’t,” Kreiser says. Managed print is “where we may start, but it quickly turns into a deeper conversation” about other types of offerings, he adds. “We can make suggestions they may not have thought of. It offers us an opportunity to play a more important role in our client’s business.”

For example, after Carney’s delivered managed print services to one customer in the health insurance industry, the VAR began discussing an equipment refresh with new multifunction devices. That turned into a discussion about digital document scanning, which was a new requirement for the firm, and Carney’s began supporting that environment as well.

“Then it came to how are they going to back this stuff up, so [we offered] off-site backup and disaster recovery,” Kreiser says. “We are now a much bigger player than just the printer guy.”

Two-Way Street

The reverse is also true. Carney’s gains new managed print services engagements from its customers of network management services. “If we’re monitoring their network it makes sense to have us support their print environment” as well, Kreiser says. “It’s a two-way street for us; we find it’s complementary.”

Existing network management customers understand that Carney’s has the knowledge, skill sets and experience needed to manage networked printers.

“Generally speaking, we’re already a trusted adviser of a sort, and we’re always having conversations at different levels than just the IT staff,” Kreiser says. “Those conversations are generally at the CFO level if it’s a large company, or ownership if it’s a small business. We’re able to know things and ask questions [about print] that are generally overlooked” by other providers that don’t offer managed print. “We can make suggestions as to where else we can provide services for that client,” including print, he says.

The Right Tools

Carney’s Business Technology has taken advantage of Xerox resources such as Xerox PagePack® and Xerox eConcierge™ to expand its managed print business. PagePack “is a critical piece for us because we are able to underwrite our own risk by buying clicks wholesale from Xerox and selling them, hopefully, at a reasonable margin to clients,” Kreiser says. “We can leverage Xerox field service folks and that gives us another set of hands in markets we don’t ordinarily cover.”

The company leverages Xerox eConcierge “as much as we can” and has seen revenue grow every month, Kreiser says. He says the platform is a great fit for many clients “that just want a good, convenient way to order supplies. The biggest value to that offering is the service entitlement. With the service entitlement it’s a no-brainer.”