Ergo has been a pioneer in managed print services in Ireland, landing Microsoft as a customer over a decade ago and setting an example of how the model could work. Jason Quinn, technical solutions manager at Ergo, will tell you that the same appetite for innovation and growth is still driving the company’s managed print business. With recently opened offices in Britain and the US for a standalone division called Ergo IDS (Intelligent Document Solutions), it’s hard to argue with him.
The new Ergo brand is built around giving customers more transparency. Central to it is a self-service portal where customers can access up-to-date reports on their print and document output. “They can see where they are in relation to their service level agreement and the numbers they signed up for. It avoids the shock that organisations experience with some providers, when they get a big bill because they went well over the volumes that were agreed in advance,” said Quinn.
Ergo’s ‘open-book’ approach is the latest chapter in a long-standing mission to persuade prospective customers that there is much more value in print management than chasing down the lowest price per printed page. Quinn argues that some providers have gone so far down this route that they are making promises they can’t possibly keep. “Customers don’t get the service they deserve because there’s no money in it,” he said. Ergo is selling something very different, what it calls “true managed print”, where it automates and simplifies services for customers. Firms are encouraged to fill in a questionnaire on the IDS website that explores the value they are getting (or not) from their current print provider.
“Classic pitfalls include a managed print deal where the customer has to manually audit their own charges, or they have to email in requests for new toners with a parts number, or where they simply haven’t got the engineering support they need because the cost of the deal can’t afford it,” said Quinn. “We automate all those processes and you’ll know exactly what it’s costing you through the portal.” As the Ergo name “intelligent document solutions” suggests, the company does not stop at print management and has been an early advocate for more sophisticated electronic workflow solutions that take the networked print environment to a whole other level.
Quinn admits that it’s still a battle selling such services, but advances in software are encouraging more customers to look at it. “It’s starting to take off with companies looking for SharePoint integration straight out of the box. They get the value proposition and are looking to set up workflow, often across multiple divisions,” he said. To entice prospects further down this road, Ergo offers a month’s free access to FlowForma, the firm’s document management solution that can be used to automate a range of business processes.
All this activity and innovation has given Ergo a unique global footprint for managed print. Customers like Primark and ICON use Ergo to provide services across all their international offices, from New Mexico to Australia in the case of ICON. “They are all managed through Ireland,” said Quinn. “Someone could send a document to print from Dublin, then fly to New York, swipe a card, and print it out there. And if a server goes down in Dublin then the server in New York takes over. It’s a really comprehensive solution.”
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