State of Managed Print – A Reality Check

What’s the current state of managed print services?

There are two ways we need to look at it: The state of the market, and the state of those VARs currently working in it.

As for the market itself, one word: Greenfield. More than 90 percent (yes, that’s not a typo) of all business printers are currently operating unmanaged, with no managed print services being delivered to them. This means customers are buying toner and printer supplies randomly, and with a great deal of overlap and waste. And the reason for this dearth of managed print services in field has everything to do with a traditional view of printers and copiers as “not being part of the IT network.”

But when a VAR does deliver managed print services, the return is not just savings for their customers, but significant services revenue for the VAR. In fact, for every $1 in managed print services rendered, VARs are generating $3 in additional services revenue, according to new research by the Institute for Partner Education & Development (IPED).

Real Evidence

From the VAR angle, most are ready to deliver managed print services based on their current delivery of general IT managed services.

Almost two thirds of all VARs surveyed offer some form of managed service, and consider themselves managed service providers (MSPs), which means their business can sustain a recurring revenue model like a managed print service.

And many managed print deals sold are done so on the coattails of other product and services offerings. Specifically, most managed print services deals are being sold as a follow-on sale to an existing customer solution, primarily PC/laptop deals (80 percent), networking equipment deals (77 percent) or server solutions (61 percent), according to IPED.

Did You Know?
For every $1 in managed print contracts, partners are generating $3 in additional services revenue.

But making incremental inroads to offering managed print without bundling in or selling along-side non-printer services can also be accomplished successfully. And with the arrival of Xerox eConcierge, this method has now become even easier.

Xerox eConcierge is a cloud-based application that tracks your customers’ printer supplies usage and gives them an automated way to order through an e-commerce portal that you brand as your own. The service procures printer supplies through the distributor of your choice, and it discovers and supports networked office printers and multifunction systems manufactured by Xerox, HP, Lexmark and Samsung, with more suppliers to follow. In other words, it’s not just a solution for those not ready for full managed print services, but a way to eventually escalate those customers to full managed print services.

Baby Steps

Using toner and printer supply services to graduate customers into full managed print services is a proven formula, and ATS Inc. in Raleigh, N.C., provides a good example.

The company was founded in 1992 by the late John Cox, a former Xerox employee who began the business by selling remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges out of his garage. The cartridges were refurbished in-house and sold to clients.

The company grew over the next few years and began offering copiers as well as printers. All of the equipment ATS sold came with a contract, a cost-per-page agreement, says Terry Williams, president of ATS. That strategy, where the income for ATS did not end with the hardware sale, was the genesis of the company’s foray into managed services and eventually managed print.

ATS had offered services including break-fix on printers, but when Xerox introduced the PagePack program, the company began offering a full-blown managed print service based on the Xerox offering. “Ever since then we’ve been managed-print focused,” Williams says.

Most of the company’s customers are small and midsize businesses (SMBs), but it is going after the enterprise market as well. ATS uses a variety of marketing channels, including targeted e-mails, to spread the word about its managed print services.

The services focus has helped ATS “weather the storm” of tough economic times, Williams says, and now he feels the company is well-positioned for future growth.

The cloud – and solutions like Xerox eConcierge – will play a key role in managed print as well, Williams says. With new services that are emerging, “a client can now order supplies for the entire fleet, as long as [the client] has an Internet connection and a password, by going to the cloud,” Williams says.

“We were part of the pilot program for Xerox eConcierge so we had it a month before it was launched,” Williams says. “We had great success and it’s done very well. We’ve been getting clients to register for it almost on a daily basis.”

With new offerings such as eConcierge and new capabilities made possible by cloud computing, Williams sees a bright future for his business. “Overall, I’m very optimistic,” he says. “There are tremendous opportunities for us.”

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Find out more about Xerox eConcierge here at the Business Transformation Center.

Full fleet management of third-party printers, single cost-per-page printing in color or B&W, faster and more accurate quotes, and a proven managed print formula that makes you money.

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