Why Managed Print Makes Sense Now

Topic One: Taking Advantage of a Managed Services Market Shift

Dave Martinez, a senior account manager at MNJ Technologies in Buffalo Grove, Ill., has noticed something interesting lately.

Business is picking up after a year-long slump and, more than ever before, customers have begun asking if there is anything they can do to save money on their printing costs. Customers are even asking by name if there is such a thing as “managed print” options. In fact, of all the cost-saving IT trends currently in the market—be it cloud services or data deduplication—managed print services “seems to be the only new trend that reduces IT costs,” said Martinez.

Managed print is not a new idea, but business customers who have been sold on managed services that remotely monitor their networks while delivering security, patch management and other services have increasingly begun to demonstrate an appetite for managed print services.

The bottom line is that business customers have already been indoctrinated into the value of managed services, if by nothing more than the sheer number of managed services offerings available to them today. Data from The Institute for Partner Education & Development (IPED) shows an overwhelming 93 percent of solution providers say they currently provide, or plan to provide, some form of managed service.

This is good news for solution providers who make a serious run at managed print services. Only 5 percent of all business printers are under a managed services contract, according to a managed services study conducted by IPED in 2009. This positions managed print as a greenfield opportunity for solution providers, at a time when business customers are looking at every part of their IT network in an effort to determine where savings can be achieved.

A Managed Services Shift

The percent of managed services revenue as a part of overall channel revenues has been growing at a rate of about 1.5 percent to 2 percent per year for the past several years, according to IPED data.

In 2010, however, the channel has signaled that it plans a tectonic shift towards delivering more technology and IT services as managed services (See chart 1). IPED breaks this data down into two groups of solution providers, best in class, and the industry average. Best in Class represent the top 20 percent most profitable solution providers.

What stands out in the IPED data is that, unlike the rate of business model shifts recorded between 2008 and 2009, the 2010 data shows both best in class and the larger group of industry average solution providers all flocking aggressively towards managed service delivery models. Previous data showed that only best-in-class solution providers were making significant moves into managed services (See chart 2).

(Chart 1)

(Chart 2)

This industry stampede towards managed services, coupled with the low number of business printers currently under managed print contract, underscores the urgency of moving quickly on the managed print opportunity.

Jim Salzer, a recognized expert in the field of managed services and president of DocuAudit International, has observed that at this juncture in the growth of managed print, the game is not about competing with other managed print providers for market share. Instead, it’s about first steps. It’s about getting under management the vast fleets of business printers currently operating unmanaged in customer environments.

Customers are demonstrating that they are ready for managed print services, and this Business Transformation Series will take you step-by-step through some of the challenges, so you can enjoy greater success in managed print.

Next, we’ll begin building a managed print sales pitch.

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