For manufacturers, dealers and other suppliers to the print industry the issues surrounding Managed Print Services has been a hot topic for the past few years. It has even seen the creation of a new association the MPSA.
What are Managed Print Services?
The definition of MPS is as varied as the organizations which offer the services and the devices commonly used in businesses for printing. Wikipedia defines MPS this way.
"Managed Print Services is the active management and optimization of document output devices and related business processes.
The MPSA has adopted (or created perhaps) the Wikipedia definition and it is around these kinds of issues that most organizations in the field offer MPS related services. Unfortunately due to the variety of needs in businesses as it relates to print management, document output and all of the related processes like storage, communication and security the ability to compare offerings is very challenging.
Organization size affects needs
When different organizations start to assess their needs in the print management field it becomes evident very quickly that the size of an organization has a considerable impact on the types of services needed and which the MPS organization must be prepared to deliver. A small or medium sized organization with one office, a limited number of devices and a lower volume of document transactions can need very different things than a medium sized or large organization might require.
When multiple sites, larger deployments and more challenging IT needs start to be involved then the MPS program review is going to need a more robust analysis and most likely a more robust final solution.
Not every vendor can handle both small and large MPS deployments and when you do your analysis you need to think about what level of MPS response you might need.
How committed are you?
One of the other challenges that comes with looking at MPS is to understand the culture of your organization around document process change. Some considerations you should think about which might affect the choice you make:
How committed are you to consider device rationalization and standardization?
How flexible is your organization with regard to changing processes and procedures which might affect your document workflow?
Are you prepared to be flexible in device brand choice?
Is your IT department prepared to assist in the capturing and collection of required volume data for all aspects of document processing, including print production, scanning, faxing, email volumes etc.?
How flexible are you with regard to consumable purchasing and are you prepared to see this centralized for maximum control?
Are you equipped with enough knowledge to really assess the delivery of MPS?
Are your needs for document process changes big enough to warrant the work?
Can you provide an internal champion who has the time, interest and clout to recommend and make the changes needed to benefit from MPS?
While not exhaustive the above list can give you some idea of just how all encompassing an MPS analysis and deployment can become. Of course not every company will need to address every area right from the start. If your culture has been to ignore print and just let it happend then making the change to a full blown MPS arrangement could be too traumatic and too disruptive to move in one step. Starting with some small structural changes might be a good first step with the intent to be more intensive down the road.
CompTia recently published a 32 page study of customer and provider perspectives on MPS as it exists today. The study is only available to CompTia members however a recent blog article summarizes some of the key findings of the study. While the article is written with the industry MPS providers as the prime target it does offer some excellent analysis that can be of value to any organization looking to review its print and document process needs.
One interesting stat that I noted is that only 36% of businesses have entered into an MPS program. Of those who have not done so over 52% are dissatisfied with their print systems in relation to print funtions and cost.
This clearly indicates there is potential for many businesses to obtain operational improvements if they decide to undertake some new learning and some analysis.
Is MPS on your radar? Do you have experience with an MPS deployment?
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