Halloween is just around the corner and to get in the spirit we put together a list of the five spookiest misconceptions about managed print services. If you're just getting started with MPS, let us help dispell somon common myths about managed print. If you're a veteran of the imaging industry, then there's a good chance you’ve come across some of these tall tales yourself.
Despite being routinely disproven by businesses of all sizes, locations, markets and verticals, many of these myths about MPS are as persistent as ever. Many of them even come up as objections that MPS providers hear from prospects looking into managed print. Much like an urban legend, the tale of the dreaded printer is one that is hard to rewrite once people have it in their minds that printers are not worth their time and MPS is a lost cause.
The upside, however, is that like an urban legend, these misconceptions about managed print are not based in fact. They are simply scary stories whispered around the watercooler that prevent people from realizing the benefits of managed print.
1. Printers are of no value in IT.
This is a common refrain we hear not from the traditional BTA space, but from managed IT providers such as managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs). The truth of this statement lies not in the fact that printers are lacking value, but that these businesses that have always dealt with more traditional ‘high value’ IT hardware such as servers and don't see the value of managing print devices.
But there's a big difference between the absence of value and being unable to calculate the value of a printer under contract. Organizations that have never worked with printers are suddenly faced with the challenges of rethinking their business model, finding the best MPS provider, implementing their MPS program, and measuring its success. It’s no wonder the pervasive belief that printers are not valuable devices to manage is so often toted by those working in the managed IT space.
The truth is that printers need supplies and service, and often these are poorly administered using reactive, manual processes subject to human error, inefficiencies and other mishaps. Remote monitoring, alerts, reports and even automated supplies fulfilment make device management simple for end users and more efficient for resellers.
2. The initial set up and cost of an MPS solution is too high.
This was true for smaller organizations ten years ago when enterprise solutions, and all the hardware they entailed, were the only option. Enterprise solutions came with a hefty price tag, the bulk of which consisted of the initial upfront investment for set up.
With solution providers leveraging cloud capabilities and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions dominating the market in recent years, this statement could not be further from the truth today for virtually all organizations, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Cloud-based offerings provide a flexible, subscription-based service model that can scale with businesses and, perhaps the best part, there is no costly set up involved.
3. We have too few devices for MPS to be valuable. MPS is only beneficial for large organizations.
This is a common objection that SMB and SOHO clients have. Much like the misplaced concern about set up costs, this misconception is dated and reflective of what the industry look like ten years ago. At that time, managed print did favour large organizations, inadvertently overlooking smaller businesses due to the cost of an enterprise solution.
But today, that's no longer the case and if businesses need something smaller in scale than a cloud-based solution, there are devices like Samsung’s XOA line of printers that come with an embedded data collection agent (DCA) so clients with fewer than 15 devices, for example, can realize the benefits of MPS. These cost-effective solutions lower the cost/benefit ratio of managed print so MPS is accessible to businesses of every size at every level of the supply chain. Regardless of whether you have five devices or 5,000, cost savings are cost savings. Any money you save by more effectively managing your devices, including service and supplies, is capital you can invest somewhere else.
4. There are no opportunities in managed print.
This is the lament of many long-time MPS providers in the industry who've seen the traditional print industry peak. Therein lies the rebuttal to this objection: the traditional print industry. In the past year, the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) updated the definition of managed print services and businesses have begun to realize that the industry is not just maturing, but evolving as well.
It's not realistic to compare the concerns that distributors, dealers and resellers had a decade ago to the ones they have now, particularly when you're dealing with the perennial question of new opportunities. Opportunities change with the times, with technology, with business and just about everything else that influences and affects the industry.
Today, it's less a question of where (though emerging markets do represent a significant opportunity), but what and who. The scope of MPS has changed dramatically in the past couple of years, and technology and collaboration have created opportunities that didn’t previously exist. This new ‘uncharted territory’ is not going to be found on a map, but with the next advance in technology or dramatic change to business models.
5. Print volumes are declining so imaging is a dying industry.
Half of this statement is true. Print volumes are declining as technology presents new opportunities to go paperless, but this does not ipso facto precipitate the decline of the imaging industry. The paperless office is a long way off according to many people in the industry, so you don’t have to worry about abandoning ship just yet.
This assumption also overlooks the innovation, changes and fluctuations of the MPS market. Print volumes are a single metric in a large industry with a lot of moving parts, and they hardly signal the end of days for businesses in the MPS space. Between acquisitions, new technologies such as predictive analytics and machine learning, and emerging markets, the imaging industry looks to be changing and evolving, but it is by no means coming to an end any time soon.
At one point in time these misconceptions were based on real challenges organizations faced when looking for a managed print solution. Even though technology has solved a lot of these problems, many people still believe they exist. Many of the issues businesses face when trying to select an MPS provider, evaluate a solution or implement their program can be overcome by partnering with a provider who can help demystify these misconceptions and show you how many perceived challenges are just smoke and mirrors.
Looking for a more in-depth introduction to managed print? Check out our How Do You Know blog series and download our free Introduction to MPS handout!
Let us know some of your favourite MPS misconceptions.