Managed print services is not a one-size-fits-all solution because no two businesses are identical. Luckily, there are a number of solutions and programs available with different features and functionality. Finding an MPS provider that meets most, if not all, of your needs can be challenging, which is why it’s important to complete both an internal and external evaluation during the decision-making process. Here are some steps you can take to find the best MPS provider for your business.
Before you start shopping for providers, you should know what it is you want in an MPS solution. Your internal evaluation will determine what your overall objectives and goals for implementing a managed print solution are. There will be some key differences between products and depending on your business model, these may be nice-to-haves as opposed to must-haves.
An external evaluation will help you match your needs to the features and functionality of available MPS solutions. You will be able to do some of this research online, but at some point you should reach out to service providers on your shortlist for an in-depth demo of the product.
Here are some questions to ask yourself prior to doing research on available solutions. Your responses to these questions will help you eliminate providers who cannot meet your needs early on, create a shortlist and simplify your decision-making process.
- How many customers/machines in field do you currently have? What percentage, if any, are currently under an MPS contract?
- If applicable, what does your current MPS contract(s) include?
- What are your overall goals and expectations for your MPS program? What processes do you expect to streamline or improve (e.g. meter collection and billing, sales prospecting, supplies fulfillment, etc.)?
- Rank the following departments and processes in order of priority:
- Meter collection and billing
- Sales prospecting (e.g. assessments)
- Supplies fulfillment
- Service fulfillment
- Are the applicable departments aware of how they will be impacted? Which departments have displayed the most excitement and readiness, and which have displayed the least?
You should have your responses to these questions on hand when you speak with providers as they will likely ask similar questions to determine how their solution can help you. In addition to preparing answers for the questions above, consider using a decision matrix to help guide your conversations with providers.
Using a Decision Matrix
Choosing an MPS provider is a decision that requires analyzing multiple factors, from pricing to implementation and onboarding to scalability. A decision matrix is a good tool to use when completing an external evaluation of available solutions and MPS providers because it allows you to compare several vendors based on features and functionality you consider important.
A decision matrix typically consists of four components:
- Attributes: These are the features you are looking for in a managed print solution or provider, such as security, training, support and scalability.
- Score: This is the range you will use to compare the attributes of each solution (e.g. 1-10, 1-100, etc.). For example, Provider A may only score a 3 on security based on your requirements, but Provider B may score a 7 because they are able to provide you with the features you are looking for.
- Weighting: The weight is the importance you assign to each attribute. For example, security may rank higher in importance to you and your company than scalability in which case you would assign security a higher weight than scalability (e.g. scalability = 1, security = 3). Weighting is what your score will then be multiplied by for the total weighted score.
- Weighted Score: The final score which takes into account the relative importance of each feature you are looking for in a solution as well as how well the vendor can deliver on those features.
Despite the data-driven process of scoring and ranking your options using a decision matrix, there is still a lot of subjectivity involved in making the final decision. For this reason, it is important for you and your team to agree to the attributes you are looking for and their weighting as well as your scoring methodology.
Here are some questions you can ask yourselves in order to ensure that you and your team are on the same page:
- What must an MPS solution have in order for us to be successful?
- What features and functionality are most important for our use case?
- What features and functionality are less important?
- How will we score each attribute? What will the lower and upper bounds be of our scoring range?
- How will we determine the weighting of each attribute?
If you and your team are struggling to come to a consensus or you find your first attempt does not produce a clear leader, you can revisit and refine your weighting and scoring approach as necessary. Ensure whatever changes you make to the decision matrix are agreed upon as a team, as this will provide you with the necessary strategic alignment to implement a solution that effectively benefits your team and improves the processes you intend to streamline and optimize.
Looking for additional resources to help you find an MPS solution that meets your unique business needs? Download our free Guide to Choosing the Right MPS Provider for a customizable decision matrix and more!