Printer Police

I received an e-mail today that at the bottom had the message “Print only when necessary.” In green, of course. It seems a little odd that someone thinks I print first and ask questions later whenever an e-mail comes in.

But this tagline certainly isn’t unique. Everywhere you look these days someone’s trying to get people to not use their printers, which is a little spooky if your business model relies on per-page charges to underpin managed print contracts.

But that brings up an excellent question: What’s the long-term outlook for businesses that sell printer services?

I happen to think the future is pretty bright—at least as far as anyone can reasonably predict. Hard copies are no longer the dominant medium for exchanging information. But they will always have a place—like radio in the age of TV and TV in the age of the Web.

The trick will be evolving printing environments into something specialized, cost-effective and optimized for the business needs of end users. Those goals are at the heart of managed print services. And companies still need help getting there.

We’ll know the MPS market has reached maturity when people don’t routinely offer “helpful” advice about what and what not to print.