A Perfect Revenue Storm

VARs and MSPs that want to grow their managed-print businesses this year may need to redouble their efforts—even if they’ve already found a successful business model in this market.

Why? There’s a perfect storm brewing that’s making this a particularly good time for new competitors to move into this area. In short, everybody’s trying to get a piece of the action.

This revenue “storm” is coming together on three fronts:

First, the market is experiencing organic growth. One printer vendor that I spoke with recently said its overall managed-print business grew more than 30 percent in 2011. This year, the entire North American market for managed print services will grow in the 20 percent range and continue at that pace for the next couple of years, according to one market researcher.

Second, tools for managing supplies and print contracts are quickly maturing and offering a host of new capabilities, which means the channel can spend less time managing clients and more time capturing recurring revenues.

Third, for the most part the days of evangelizing managed print are coming to an end. Customers understand the business prop and may even have some direct experience to draw from, either from an existing managed-print contract that’s nearing the end of its term or from limited engagements in individual workgroups and departments. This offers real hope that sales cycles will shrink and the channel will see more gain with less pain when promoting print services.

So if you’re not in the managed-print market or if you are not fully committed to it, it’s time to beef up staff resources and training, take advantage of what the best partner programs have to offer, and hone your sales and marketing strategies. Waiting until next year may be too late.