by Ken Stewart
Regardless of your organization’s size, shape or go-to-market strategy, evolving to meet your customers’ needs is a top priority. Many firms have found that strategically outsourcing print and document services continues to drive value to the bottom and top lines of their business. With this continued realization, managed print services (MPS) has continued to grow and evolve.
Over the last five years, Photizo Group conducted research on thousands of decision-makers throughout the world to best understand what drives real customer value. Through these numerous encounters, Photizo established the MPS industry’s value paradigm in the Expanded Customer Adoption Model — a view of how providers deliver value through different levels of customer engagements.
The rapidly maturing MPS ecosystem has undergone quite a few changes in the last several years, and as partners’ capabilities have advanced, so have customers’ expectations. Photizo has also continued to evolve its own thinking in order to fulfill its promise to customers to listen intently to the industry, learn what these changes mean to clients and lead meaningful transformation through the thoughtful application of these insights.
Photizo’s Expanded Customer Adoption Model (see Figure 1) has evolved to reflect these changes as well; the MPS continuum, originally developed years ago, now expresses Stages 3 and 4 more discreetly as Advanced Document Services (ADS).
From MPS to ADS
As Photizo Group has watched MPS become an industry standard, the generally accepted definition of MPS has been developed and refined. In Photizo’s view, MPS engagements typically focus on enhancing value to the business by leveraging a provider, or partner, to manage imaging device fleets, control related costs and streamline key business processes. More specifically, MPS may refer to such services in which a partner provides a company with the following functions:
A consolidated billing structure on a group of imaging devices, such as “price per page,” that includes one of the following combinations:
- Ink/toner included in the contract
- Ink/toner and maintenance/repairs included in the contract
- Ink/toner and maintenance/repairs plus printer/MFP hardware (purchases and leases) included in the contract
- Centralized decision-making and increased understanding of all related costs
- Assessment services designed to provide analysis and recommendations
- Right-sizing the imaging device fleet, with a particular focus on cost control and reduction
- Device fleet monitoring that tracks imaging device fleet page volumes for billing purposes
- Monitoring and reporting of device utilization and maintenance against predefined key performance metrics
- Help-desk services to triage and maintain the imaging device fleet
- Formal end-user training and/or change management programs to incent employees to achieve and maintain key performance metrics
- Document workflow or business process consulting at the outset of the project or in subsequent phases
A managed print service program typically does not have to include all of these activities. However, it must involve more than just a supplies fulfillment contract or “leasing” devices from a provider or manufacturer. Instead, MPS clearly creates a platform upon which providers may add real value beyond cost controls, centralized purchasing and fleet management services.
Advanced document services captures the transformational nature and dramatic impact refining and redefining business processes can have upon the information exchange within customers’ own ecosystems. Further, ADS more accurately reflects the variety of innovative approaches the ecosystem is developing to solve unique customer business problems. Most importantly, ADS signals that partners are no longer bound to solving business-related challenges under the burden of measuring success in terms of devices and pages. Rather, ADS offers customers the opportunity to have a broader discussion around how partners can co-author the transformation of businesses to be more agile, more responsive and more effective in value delivery.
Ideally, MPS engagements establish a foundation that can be leveraged to build upon and enhance business processes. In other words, many decision-makers seek value beyond comprehensive fleet management and standardized cost savings programs — advanced benefits to drive top-line results and ultimately deliver greater value to customers.
However, only about one in three decision-makers Photizo Group has interviewed indicated that they had realized any advanced benefits in their MPS engagements (see Figure 2).
We continue to see this gap in the market as a great opportunity for partners to step up to the plate and help customers grapple with the massive amounts of information in this rapidly changing landscape.
Ken Stewart works as a director at Photizo Group, leading the Managed Print Services Advisory Service and the award-winning Partner Transformation channel consulting practice. Recognized as one of the Top 40 Most Influential People in the Imaging Industry for 2013, Stewart graduated from Western Governors University with a B.S. in Information Technology Network Management. A decorated former U.S. Marine, Stewart has successfully navigated the technology and business landscape for more than 15 years by building bridges between people, technology and processes to achieve results.
This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Workflow.