Why the Future Looks Bright for Managed Print Services
by Dave Weston, head of channel, UK & Ireland at OKI EUROPE (UK & IRELAND)
Interest in managed print services (MPS) continues to grow not only among prospective end customers and business users but also among resellers and distributors and the vendors they work with. Worldwide, the market continues to grow strongly. According to recent figures from Market Research Future®, the global managed print services market is expected to reach US$ 51 billion by the year 2023 at a CAGR of 9%.
At OKI, we see demand for MPS growing as customers increasingly appreciate how the running costs of printers can rapidly increase, and instead look to reduce and control printing costs and drive productivity through MPS, as well as addressing environmental concerns over waste and inefficiency.
In the early days of the service, it was predominantly an enterprise solution, that typically involved condensed and consolidated print, the implementation of large copier devices and, often, migrating to a departmental approach. Today, SMEs are increasingly getting in on the act, and looking to MPS as a way of controlling their costs, reducing waste, achieving compliance and having a clear insight into what they are printing, while at the same time knowing that consumables will be replaced whenever they are needed.
Another key factor is that MPS is being widely used across the channel today. Resellers are getting wiser to the margin erosion that can impact their consumables revenue and are increasingly interested in the opportunity to add greater value for the end customer and build enhanced loyalty through an MPS offering. Cogniscent of the increased interest that end user customers are demonstrating, resellers across the sector are increasingly being proactive and looking to engage with and partner vendors with a view to developing joint offerings to market.
Probably the biggest opportunity that MPS presents in this respect is that it enables resellers to protect their margins. We are in an environment now where margins are being challenged every day. MPS gives resellers the peace of mind of knowing that they have a contracted source of revenue over a defined period of time. If they have a contract in place, for example, they can also start to simulate the profit they are likely to achieve over the lifetime of that agreement.
If you rewind the clock five years, MPS was typically something that resellers ran themselves. Traditional copier dealers were prominent in this space and would invariably have their own service engineers; service desks and fleet management systems. That meant smaller IT resellers that perhaps did not have print ‘as their first language’ could not really play in the market because they did not have the capability from a service and maintenance perspective.
These were certainly significant ‘inhibitors’ to their progress in the market at that time, whereas now vendors make it much easier for resellers to compete in this space. Today, vendors like OKI do the complete management and service element of MPS themselves, enabling resellers to focus their attention on making successful sales and driving up their margins. As a result, there are very few inhibitors to channel partners entering the market, no matter how large or small they may be, or what precise capabilities they have got.
Looking ahead, prospects for the MPS market continue to look bright. Business customers of printing solutions increasingly understand the rationale of moving to MPS. An ever-growing number of organisations are embracing the opportunity to drive up productivity and increase cost-efficiency in the workplace, while significantly reducing costs. More and more understand the potential to drive down their short, medium and long term costs from an investment and operational perspective, increase the efficiency of their devices, while also reducing their printing volumes and overall environmental impact.
Given the level of business engagement, and with vendors, resellers and distributors fully bought in to the benefits - and working in tandem to deliver them, the future for MPS looks positive indeed.