Imagine a world where managed print services (MPS) go above and beyond just providing print facilities. They could offer end-to-end capabilities such as logistics, hardware pre-configuration, supplies, auto-replenishment and customer management, and be at the heart of a full life cycle management offering.
Indeed, this seems to be the ambition of many dealers based on the 74% of European partners in our State of the Technology Ecosystem study that said they expect to sell more managed services within the next three years.
But what is the pathway to realise this vision and deliver heightened value through the channel to end customers?
Getting it right
To embark on this journey, dealers must focus on updating their MPS solutions, concentrating on two pivotal aspects: hardware and services. Hardware-wise, partners can offer pre-configuration through their channel, including logistics and installation activities. This entails pre-delivery inspection, network configuration, firmware updates and embedded software installation. Once the printers have been delivered to clients, all they need to do is simply switch them on – everything else has already been taken care of by the resellers.
On the services front, amid tightening IT budgets, there is an opportunity to transition the traditional technology channel towards tech-as-a-service (TaaS). The key here hinges on dealers leveraging distributors’ available robust and versatile financing packages.
Using a subscription model for printers, software and services, customers pay a monthly fee and receive a standardised bill, which gives their finance teams transparency. To streamline this for users and make it as organised as possible, billing can be integrated with e-commerce platforms to expedite payments.
Taking care of logistical worries on behalf of businesses is a value-added service that resellers can offer to boost their MPS solution to the next level. Included could be delivery and removal of packaging materials and old printers.
In addition, providing a qualified on-site engineer to manage the printer installation, testing, training and launch is key to ensuring a smooth set-up process. Building a strong foundation for services is essential for dealers to evolve their managed print proposition and deepen client relationships.
In an ideal world, MPS offerings will cater to businesses of all sizes. Even though according to European Commission figures, SMEs made up over 99% of businesses in the European Union in 2022, there is still a neglected middle ground between larger SMEs and mid-sized enterprises, which is yet to be captured.
These particular organisations, characterised by employees based in multiple locations and staff working in a hybrid pattern, face multiple challenges in harnessing the benefits of a managed print solution.
To overcome these and create a smart managed service package, leveraging a cloud-based platform which encompasses services in one management layer can streamline operations.
Within this, billing can be handled in one entity and customers may access a query hotline to solve any issues that may arise. These processes are designed to work with minimal human intervention either from the reseller or end users.
Any successful MPS providers will incorporate predictive supplies auto-replenishment into their offering. With this service programmed in the cloud in a highly secure platform, users do not need to monitor ink levels. Rather, cartridges are auto-ordered and shipped to the location of the printer. In this way, dealers can establish a proactive and intelligent solution to anticipate client requirements and provide resources before an issue becomes apparent.
An MPS solution can be the basis for a complete 360° level of technical support. It provides an additional service layer that enables resellers to deepen their relationship with their client base by going above and beyond what is expected of them.
By leveraging these innovative MPS capabilities to provide a comprehensive platform with full life cycle management, partners can offer more support to users and reap the benefits of high customer retention. The future of print is managed, comprehensive and smart.
Janis Kemers is VP Print & Supplies Europe at TD SYNNEX