Different providers offer different definitions of managed print, but all agree that there are obstacles as well as big benefits to adoption. Ian Campbell reports
For more than a decade Irish businesses have been outsourcing their print and output estates to achieve savings of anywhere between 10-40 per cent. Yet, according to Quocirca research small firms remain stubbornly resistant to its appeal, with adoption as low as 1% in Europe compared to 45 per cent among larger companies.
In a bid to sell firms a managed print service (MPS), a race to the bottom on price has seen the cost-per-page model falling below 3 cent per colour page. While at the higher end providers avoid the dog-fight and focus on selling the benefits of added value services, including the emerging market for document management and workflow.
Amid all this change are some familiar obstacles to adoption. Gary Tierney, print and personal systems country manager for HP, said there's still a cultural problem. "A lot of places are still not joined up and you see procurement divided between the facilities department and IT," he said.
Facilities treat devices as a utility while IT point out that they are now part of the network. They are the ones that have to deal with helpdesk calls when something goes wrong. Old habits of employees also get in the way of an MPS pitch that recommends a fleet of homogenous MFDs (multifunction devices) to maximise savings.
After delivering upfront savings, added value can be uncovered through integration with document repositories, scanning directly into applications like Microsoft SharePoint, for example. Jason Quinn, technical solutions manager at Ergo, agreed that an engagement starts with a thorough audit.
His company also uses it to identify higher value benefits that customers tend to miss. "For us, true MPS is where we take over the print infrastructure as part of managed services that include SQL servers, reporting and SharePoint. Cheap MPS is not much of a step up from break/fix support."
The Ergo strategy works with larger firms and has landed the firm global contracts with multinationals based in Ireland. At the lower end, Quinn was concerned that price wars were undermining the benefits. "It's becoming commoditised with up to 70 per cent of the marks in tenders based on price. There is not a lot for room for adding value."
Conor Poole, Samsung's channel sales manager in Ireland, described how the Irish market is divided into two camps: multinationals operating on a global scale and smaller indigenous companies looking for cost savings. "There are 20 different flavours of it depending on who you talk to. In tenders it's really important that the customer makes clear what they are putting in the costs bucket," he said. "The whole idea of MPS is not just about removing cost from hardware, it's about processes that extend across the organisation."
HP's Gary Tierney was equally adamant that real value involved moving away for the cost-per-page battleground. "As an industry we haven't done a good enough job demonstrating that the much bigger cost issue is around how you manage the fleet," he said. "The bigger it gets, the more you are looking for lockdown and control, for pushing out IT updates and remote management. One of the biggest costs is people intervention so you have to minimise it with automated systems."
Contact Ergo today about our Managed Print Services on 1850 468 355 or visit our Managed Print Services (MPS) webpage
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