MPSA Commentary

MPSA Member & MPS Industry Commentary
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  • 20-Feb-2020 9:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Eric Crump, Ringdale

    Since 2018, global organizations have been subject to more stringent data privacy protection regulations and are now open to significant non compliance penalties. In particular, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a significant impact on the international compliance landscape, and has been the “blueprint” for a number of new or updated regulations in North America including CCPA (the California Consumer Privacy Act) and PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents act, for Canada).

    Even though these data privacy regulations are being put into place, and over $475 million in fines issued, there appears to be no reduction in the number of data breaches in relation to consumer information. In fact the latest figures on the number of reported data breaches in 2019 will be a cause for concern for many healthcare and public sector CIO’s and business leaders. According to research from Risk Based Security, the total number of data breaches reported stands at 5,183. This is an increase of 33% from the same period in 2018, and has resulted in 7.9 billion individual records being compromised.

    The insider threat

    The changing compliance landscape has incentivized organizations to review their data security plans. However, I believe that many business and public sector organizations may have left themselves vulnerable by concentrating too much attention on malware protection strategies. According to Quocirca’s Global Print Security Landscape 2019while the top perceived security threat is malware attacks at 70%, in reality, accidental actions of internal users are the most likely cause of security incidents, equalling 32% of all reported incidents.

    Interestingly, HP’s recent “Creepers and Peekers” study backs up Quocirca’s stats too, showing that 34% of data breaches last year are caused by insiders (internal users). Staggeringly, the HP study even revealed that 75% would look at unclaimed documents they find left in the print tray. In addition, 40% who see confidential documents in the printer admit they wouldn’t just ignore it, but rather look at it and even save it by taking a picture, making a copy, or taking the document. 

    This suggests that organizations, now more than ever, need to focus on the growing insider threat, including how they can safeguard against confidential documents getting into the wrong hands, together with protecting their overall print environment. 

    MPS providers are the solution

    The challenge most midsize to enterprise organizations now face is an overstretched IT department and a lack expertise in securing documents and printer fleets.  A growing number of end-user organizations are actively looking to work with MPS providers to support their operational needs.  In fact, according to the Quocirca report, “Over 62% of organizations are now using an MPS provider to gain access to print management and security skills, which are often lacking in house.” 

    With 68% of organizations suffering at least one data breach through unsecure printing last year, MPS providers should not ignore the opportunity to differentiate their security services in 2020.  Secure print services need to go well beyond pull printing and MPS providers should consider providing differentiated print management services that include:

    §  Providing access management for user authentication/authorization to print, copy, and send information electronically from printers and multifunctional products (MFPs)

    §  Protecting documents across the network by using industry-standard data encryption at rest and while in motion

    §  Forensically inspecting and protecting content including personally identifiable information (PII) — for example, identify credit card and bank routing numbers, social security identification and account numbers

    §  Providing accurate activity tracking and document archiving for ongoing audits such as data protection impact assessments 

    §  Providing comprehensive reporting while leveraging data anonymization to maintain user privacy

    I believe independent MPS providers are well positioned for success in 2020, especially if they make security a priority within their MPS portfolio of services.  MPS providers can be the trusted provider that secures print environments, protects against the growing insider threat and helps ensure their customers are ready for the evolving regulatory compliance landscape.

  • 23-Jan-2020 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by West McDonald, MPSA President

    When the MPSA (Managed Print Services Association) was founded in 2009, the world was a very different place than it is today. The world was in the midst of a financial crisis that began in 2007 and trillions of dollars were pumped into economies globally by their governments to stave off what could have grown into a depression. Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America, and for those who don’t know, he was the first African American ever to run that office. Michael Jackson, the king of pop, died under strange circumstances. The European Union was formed, and 16 countries decided to use the same currency. 3G technology made surfing the web on phones really, really fast (Ha!). The office equipment space was different too. MSE was still competing with Clover Imaging; Samsung was not a part of HP; PrintFleet, Print Audit and FMAudit were still competing with each other; ECi and MWAi were partners; and Managed Print Solutions providers were still popping up everywhere like mushrooms.

    2020 looks a whole lot different. Brexit saw at least one member of the EU decide to use their own money again. The economy in the U.S. is bullish, NATO and other allied strongholds are being tested, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, TESLA and other automotive giants like GM and Ford are pushing electric cars to near price parity with those run by gasoline, smart watches and smart home technology are everywhere, and the division between those who believe in global warming and those that don’t has become more contentious than ever. The office equipment channel has changed and become a little more contentious too. Equipment sales are flat, users are printing less, independent dealers are being gobbled up by megadealers left, right, and center, and major remanufacturers have either disappeared or are under extreme pressure to deliver on growth for their shareholders. An expression I’ve heard in the past really rings true today: “May your enemy live in interesting times.” We certainly do.

    2020 is also the year I was elected President of the MPSA. It’s a tough time to take these reins as the very channel and dealers I’m looking to help are under great pressure. But I’m not a quitter, and I know you’re not either. I’ve been a member of the MPSA for as long as I can remember, through three or four different companies that I’ve worked for. I’ve always enjoyed the resources and, more importantly, the members that I got to work with. Now that I’m at the head of this organization, I have the same love and expectations for it that I always have. I fully expect this organization to do what it has done so well for so long: to “provide community, education, research and best practices to help organizations actively manage and optimize their business processes and related document output devices.”

    The things that we have done as an organization, the specifics, are however, going to be very different. They have to be. Managed print as an offering in “Cost Per Page” format is mature. Most of those who are looking to do managed print already are. Managed print contracts, assessment methodologies, and delivery mechanisms are all established. We’re not going to repeat those things or fine tune them. We’re going to be doing new things, bold things, things that might raise an eyebrow or two. In short, the MPSA that I am leading is not your father’s MPSA. As our website URL ( states, it’s YOURS. And your business and business challenges aren’t the same as those who came before you. Cost per page is under threat. Megadealers and OEMS are offering flat rate programs and you don’t know how they could possibly do it and not lose money. You are thinking about adding managed services to your mix but have heard horror stories from those who have tried and failed (and crickets from those who are rocking it). As users print less, OEMs are at war with each other to hold on to pages that remain. You might want to better understand how to prep your business for sale to a larger provider and maximize what you deserve. You might be a second-generation leader looking to modernize and grow the business that your elders left in your care. These are the challenges and adventures that concern the MPSA in 2020 because they are the ones that affect you most.

    Why change? The reality is that the MPSA is a much smaller organization today than it was even five years ago. Guess what? Our channel is shrinking too, and so are the number of providers of managed print. The choices for our organization, and for our channel, are to change and grow or to stay the course and diminish. As the President of the MPSA in 2020, I give you my commitment that if you are concerned about growth, if you believe that things are changing and you want to profit from those changes, if you think that more of the same simply isn’t good enough, then I encourage you to join us. The MPSA is an association of members, and without you, well, there is no MPSA. You deserve to be a part of those that craft the future. Help guide the future of managed print and other services. Make our channel a thing to be reckoned with. Let’s build the future of the office equipment channel together. Let’s have a say in that evolution and not simply watch it happen. The time for change in our industry and in the MPSA is now, and I for one am excited by the opportunity to help direct how that unfolds. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with all of you out there that are excited about directing the future too! The challenge I put to everybody reading this: Join us. Be an active part in crafting the future.

  • 30-Sep-2019 12:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Earlier this year the MPSA held a webinar titled “MPS — What Went Wrong?” which discussed the idea that every dealer is different in many ways including the geographies they serve and the services they provide. The one universal though seems to be that, for most, selling copiers is easier than selling MPS. There are many factors behind this, and a panel of MPSA members discussed these challenges and the opportunities that exist for those who do it right. It yielded a no-holds barred, open conversation with more questions than we could field in the hour allotted to the webinar, so we went back to a couple of the panelists to address those questions. Thanks to Bradon Beckerle and Kevin Morris for taking the time to answer these additional questions:

    Will a solid MPS operations and MPS market share contribute to a higher price when a dealer wants to sell his company

    Bradon Beckerle: Yes it should. MPS business is much more sticky than traditional and therefore will make for recurring revenue that is much more consistent and more desirable by the buyer and a higher sale price for the seller.

    Kevin Morris: I believe so.  When you considering the guaranteed revenue stream for up to 60 months, this is a great value for an acquisition company.

    How important is software solution specialism for a MPS dealer? 

    BB: It is very important.  MPS is a solution-driven sales model that requires a technical resource to assist not only on the technology side but also with the sales leads.  Ideally, if you could include this resource in the sales process it would also make for a better overall proposal to the customer.

    KM: It is important.  It is simply another way to protect your base of customers by tying in an extra level to your customer agreement.

    Most of the salespeople think that MPS is hard and if the deal is closed then they are not going to get any business from the customer during the duration (3 or 5 years).  They are interested in selling copiers. How we can change the mindset of these salespeople? 

    BB: MPS has a much longer sales cycle than a hardware (copier) sale, but if done right can lead to other revenue streams such as managed IT, document management and user management.  This moves the sale from a hardware sale to a solutions and workflow management sale.  This should be a better experience for the end user and instead of just a copier guy selling you a copier, you become a trusted advisor with their best interest in mind. 

    KM: First of all, it is harder than a straight copier sale.  However, we typically add on to EVERY contract we sign with additional products and services over the duration of the agreement.  The only way to change the mindset is to train these people with real world examples and not that of an average copier dealership.

    Would compensation on all pages (copiers and printers) drive the MPS engagement and more MPS contracts? Most MPS plans only include single-function printers.

    BB: It is definitely to a dealer’s advantage to try and cover both for obvious reasons, but it also reduces the number of vendors the end user has to work, with which can be attractive as well.

    KM: Yes.  I cannot imagine only compensating on single-function devices.  Our comp plan has included both for 20 years and it works!

    Does compensating reps on all pages printed help keep reps more involved in an account? 

    BB: It is important for reps to look at all the pages, whether A3 or A4, to see what they can capture or convert.  How the rep is compensated will dictate their focus.  So, yes compensating on all pages makes sense if you capture them all under a contract.

    KM: Absolutely. However, the compensation plan needs to be structured to eliminate simple farming by the salesperson.

    I hear that copier reps just move on ... do what's easy, so why not have dedicated MPS specialists? People who are paid to do this?

    BB: Sales reps are coin operated, so if you want to focus your business on recurring MPS revenue, then you need to have reps focus on selling it by compensating them accordingly.  Also, having them specialize in MPS is definitely worthwhile as it is much more to learn versus a traditional product sale.

    KM: I firmly recommend dedicated MPS specialists.  Only a small portion of copier reps can do this at a high level.  It comes down to the salesperson’s abilities.

    MPSA members can catch the recording of "MPS — What Went Wrong?" along with the entire archive of webinars in the members-only section. Not a member? Find out what you're missing.

  • 24-Aug-2019 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by West McDonald, Tigerpaw

    I’ve been involved in the Managed Print Services (MPS) space, in one form or another, for more years than I’d care to count now. I’ve worked with a ton of office equipment dealers and office print providers that provide incredible managed print for their end-user customers. I’ve also had the experience of working with others that say they offer managed print, but really, well, ummmm, yeah. Unfortunately, the term MPS is thrown around rather loosely, often to the consternation of customers who expect more of the “managed” piece.

    I also have the good fortune of having done a ton of assessments for end users looking to acquire MPS. Whenever I’ve worked with them doing an assessment, I make sure they ask the following 5 questions when deciding on a provider:

    Question 1: “Are you an MPSA member?”

    Anybody can put MPS on their website, but the providers who really offer it are members of the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). This organization has done more, and continues to do more, than any other industry association when it comes to refining and improving how MPS is delivered. It is comprised of volunteer members who care about improving the delivery of MPS and helping the entire industry to do a better job.

    Question 2: “How do you approach auto-toner fulfillment?”

    This one is a base-level MPS requirement. If a provider only supplies toner when a customer asks for it, well, move on and talk to somebody else.

    Question 3: “Other than for billing, what do you do with meter information that you collect?”

    Billing by page is NOT managed print: It’s billing by page. The information available from meter collection is much more powerful than that. A few examples of how true MPS providers will use this meter information in their quarterly business reviews to uncover:

    • Devices being over or underutilized: A true managed print provider helps customers to understand how effectively they are using their fleet of devices and can make recommendations on improving this.
    • Color reduction strategies: Considering color is 6 to 10 times more expensive per page than monochrome, volumetric analyses can help customers to uncover areas for reduction. The good providers use user-based software tools to dig as deep as which applications and users could use help.
    • Workflow improvements: Many things are being printed in workflows that could benefit from printing alternatives like document management and process automation. Is the same PDF document being printed and signed 500 times a day? A good MPS provider will provide more cost-effective and time-saving workflow options to replace those pages. Helping customers improve workflows, save time and reduce cost: That is management.

    Question 4: “Who are your MPS ecosystem partners?”

    What on earth is an ecosystem? No, I’m not talking about an interaction of plants and animals. In the MPS world, an ecosystem is a defined group of partners that make the benefits of an offering stronger. These ecosystem partners aren’t just providing software or hardware, they meet as a group on a regular basis to tighten up overall interaction of MPS components specific to their ecosystem, entirely for improved experience by end-user customers.

    Question 5: “What key things will you do to help me reduce our print spend?”

    If the answer is “We’ll provide more cost-effective equipment and less expensive toner” RUN AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN! This is not MPS, it’s a dangerous race to the bottom. True MPS providers can save a customer money while maintaining healthy profit levels on the things they sell. True MPS providers understand that workflow improvements have a far deeper impact on costs than the cost of the box and the cartridge. True MPS providers will have managed IT services offerings and be able to bill in different ways like device-based or seat-based. If all a provider offers is CPP, they are a print provider, NOT a Managed Print provider. Period.

  • 29-Jul-2019 6:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by David Brown, ACDI

    Here’s a shocking fact: Over the last 10 years, our society has become increasingly driven by data. OK, maybe that’s not so shocking. We all know data utilization is pervasive in both consumer and business-to-business technology.  Decisions, processes and actions are all propelled by data analytics. This is no longer an opinion, but an undeniable fact. It’s the world we live in.

    In those same 10 years, office print management has also become a data-driven industry. Some businesses have evolved better and faster than others. The point of this humble blog is not to rehash the early vs. late technology adoption argument or provide some pithy cliché about status quo. That’s what LinkedIn is for. The point is, if data is so crucial, how good is your data?

    I’ll admit that good is a somewhat subjective term. We tend to look at data in terms of accuracy, reliability and actionability. In the early days of GPS, the highway data wasn’t as accurate as it is today, and it wouldn’t be uncommon to look at your GPS screen and see your car icon driving parallel to the road instead of on it. You would immediately look back at the road to make sure it was still in front of you and that you weren’t driving through a cornfield.  Accurate? Somewhat. Actionable? Sure. If my car icon is parallel to 75 northbound on my screen and my actual car is on 75 northbound at the same time, I can make decisions on where to navigate based on that data even though it isn’t 100% accurate.

    But what if we expand our current thinking around good data to include the concept of accessibility? How immediately accessible is the mission-critical data in your infrastructure? For example, one of the early instances of data accessibility was flowing meter data from device management platforms like FMAudit and PrintFleet into ERP systems to help automate billing processes. This created a tremendous amount of process efficiency. 

    How has data-driven managed print evolved from this? 

    Supply and part vendors can now access device supply data from disparate systems to provide supply fulfillment programs. They can then associate that with a reseller partner to produce customized shipping labels and return ship status to the reseller and customer. 

    Leasing companies provide solutions that can automate credit checks and lease documents by reconciling customer data with creditworthiness databases. 

    Service departments have remote access to device status and critical errors as well as online libraries of parts and remediation techniques. 

    If you’re a managed print reseller, you’ve invested heavily in building the infrastructure to provide a competitive program or you’ve partnered with a vendor or OEM partner to do so.  Either way, you need reliable data to efficiently automate billing, place supply orders and provide service. You have good data – is it as accessible as it needs to be? If the answer is no, ask yourself these questions:

    1.   What processes do we currently have that, if automated, would help drive growth without additional personnel?

    2.   What processes do my team spend the most time with each month?

    3.   Are their parts of our customer’s experience that could be improved through automation?

    In today’s competitive market, you can’t afford to be running an expensive, inefficient operation. Taking an honest look at the accessibility of your information and the efficiency of your day-to-day business processes might just uncover new opportunities to increase your bottom line and improve customer satisfaction.

    Thank you MPSA for allowing me to contribute! I’m very interested to hear your comments around data automation and the next evolution of data accessibility in the managed print space. 

  • 24-May-2019 11:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Ann Priede, Canon Solutions America

    I have been hearing a lot about Spirit Animals lately and wondered just what a Spirit Animal could bring to the business arena. For those of you new to the Spirit Animal world, a Spirit Animal represents your inner personality with respect to your personality traits and skills.

    According to, the top five Spirit Animals are the wolf, owl, bear, hawk, and fox. Each one of those animal totems has characteristics that can be applied to the work environment. The Wolf represents intelligence, instincts, and social awareness, while the Owl offers access to intuition and wisdom. The Bear signifies strength, confidence, healing, and grounding, and the Hawk provides focus, clear vision, and perspective. Finally, the Fox is discerning, responsive, agile, and smart.

    While any one of these animal spirits is a strong candidate for a successful work style, the true strength lies in building a team that can blend these traits in a spirit of collaboration and cohesiveness. Then you can harness the power of this team to tackle any manner of projects and challenges, with each team member leveraging his or her strengths.

    Spirit Animals may just be the latest New Age distraction, but I will say that after taking the Spirit Animal Quiz, my Spirit Animal is pretty spot on – the Deer: highly sensitive, strong intuition, power to deal with challenges with grace, can be determined and gentle.

    Regardless of whether you believe in Spirit Animals – and I’m not convinced myself — the self-reflection needed to take this type of quiz is helpful to think about how you best interact with others and identifying your traits enables you to  put your strengths to work in your personal and professional lives.

  • 11-May-2019 3:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

  • 06-May-2019 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mark Schneider, National Sales Manager, Y Soft

    In February 2019, Quocirca published their 2019 Print Security Research revealing that 59% of businesses have experienced a print-related data loss in the past year. Quocirca also reported that it could cost, on average $413,000 per annum to deal with such a loss. So, it is unsurprising that 66% of respondents ranked print services as their top security risk, second only to cloud-based services.

    Print security can be challenging. Think of it as the attacking zone on an ice hockey rink. The goalie and defensemen are all working together to defend against the opposing team scoring a goal. It requires teamwork between the defensemen (you, the device provider, and the print management provider) and the goalie (your customer).

    Print Environment - Potential threats & prevention

    When looking at the role each of the team members play, we need to first consider what they are defending against. Here are four key areas of an organization’s print environment that pose a security risk and how “the team” can defend against them:

    1. MFD Hard Drive

    Device provider - The MFD service provider should have processes in place for securing the MFD hard drive during use, during servicing and in the event of decommissioning which includes destroying any data on the hard drive.

    Print management provider - Should not permanently store print, scan, fax or copy data on the MFD’s hard drive.

    Customer - Agree on policies with the device provider for the protection of any MFD hard drive and the associated data during use, servicing and when decommissioning the device.

    2. Device Access

    Device provider - As well as securing physical access to the MFD and its working parts, you should advise your customer on compatible print management providers that support authentication and control the release of jobs from the MFD.

    Print management provider - The print management provider should offer a variety of authentication methods including employees using their ID cards, PIN codes, login passwords or a combination of methods. For some customers fingerprint authentication may offer an additional level of security.

    Customer – Through their print management software, your customer’s IT administrator may set up rules and policies to further control over who, when and which devices can be accessed. The customer may also have policies about sharing digital documents.

    3. Network Access

    Device provider - Ensure you adhere to the strictest security standards for all system components and points of vulnerability by continually testing and applying the required software patches to ensure the MFD and the associated data is protected. You should also be benchmarking yourselves against industry leaders in printer security protection.

    Print management provider - With data passing between devices, servers, systems, and the MFD, multiple data transfers are taking place over multiple communications pathways, and the preferred print management provider should be securing data in all states (in use, at rest and in transit). They should also be ensuring that up-to-date cryptographic protocols are correctly deployed.

    Customer - Providing a firewall and encryption are table stakes.  Working with the device provider and print management provider is key to ensure that security is an ongoing conversation that should happen regularly to ensure that new protocols are discussed and implemented.

    4. Secure Printing

    Device provider - Enabling users to securely print from any convenient MFD or networked printer within the print infrastructure is made possible with pull-printing. It is essential that the device is compatible with a print management solution that enables pull-printing.

    Print management provider – The pull-printing solution should be intuitive to users and provide the customer with options: card reader, username/password, PIN or any combination. And for IT ease, it should work with the corporate director and be easy to administrate.

    Customer – Because most internal data leaks are accidental, educating employees on the importance of secure printing and data privacy is important.

    The importance of reporting and tracking

    On-ice data analytics is playing an increasingly important role in the performance of an ice hockey team. This is also true for an organization’s print environment. Tracking and regular reporting enable your customers to identify new policies to govern and secure their print environment. To ensure security is maintained, it is important that your customer has visibility of usage data. This means ensuring the device is compatible with leading print management solutions that provide valuable, fact-based reporting.

    Print Security – a team sport with a year-round season

    The changing technical landscape means that protecting data and preventing security breaches is a necessity. It is not a box ticking exercise, simply by taking your position on the rink and covering the ice. It is about working together as a team to predict attacks and defend your goal. It is an ongoing process and only by working as a team can you ensure your print environment remains secure.

  • 21-Apr-2019 4:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mitchell Filby, First Rock Consulting

    Today, many businesses across many industries are in an accelerated state of change. This appetite for change is driven by their need to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing marketplace. This is no more evident than what is occurring across the office printing industry globally.

    One of the many challenges (or some would say legacies) that this industry has faced and continues to face is that of its wonderful success globally over the past 30-odd years. From the office equipment manufacturers (OEMs) through to every player and provider that operates as part of the channels to market, it has been a wonderfully successful sales and marketing driven business. 

    The business model that was driven via the OEM brands and many of the resellers and dealers provided the impetus to virtually saturate an ever-growing market. Therein lies the challenge.

    A manufacturing-based business must be fed. When products are in demand and markets are growing, manufacturing is built to support output levels including peaks. The same strategy doesn’t usually apply when the direction of growth is going in the opposite direction. Typically, when manufacturing volumes decline, you either invest in better automation to bring down costs, pressure partners for lower input materials, cut back on costs through labor reduction (staff cutbacks, redundancies, etc.), reduce or lean out the supply chain that reduces inventory levels, or you reduce overall manufacturing volumes. Alternately, a combination of some or all the above may apply.

    However, the impact of such changes, more so related to reducing manufacturing volumes, is that the unit costs of manufacturing go up.  At some stage, there is a tipping point. If the tipping point occurs, this will increase unit price and will be most likely shared across regions and the globe.

    Although in the past it was possible, when one region was in either a flat or declining market, other regions could or would support the total manufacturing unit number, providing a level of support to protect the global unit manufacturing costs. This is less likely to occur in the future with falling unit and print volumes from most major markets occurring in the last two to three years. Even with growth coming out of new geographical regions it will still not be able to underpin the impending impacts of the forthcoming decline.

    The Butterfly Effect

    When manufacturing costs increase, they are often passed on through the channel and ultimately to the end customer. When this occurs, market demand can further decline as pricing is not as favorable in comparison to other brands. Providers (direct sales teams, dealers and resellers) that distribute, market and sell the higher cost product feel the effect as well. 

    Customers ultimately have a choice. When customers struggle to see the value or difference between one brand or the other, they will usually fall back to price.

    Ultimately what occurs is the ripple effect (butterfly effect). We have had these effects in the office printing industry in the past, but the ripple has always been so lightly felt. However, this is changing in a very dramatic way. 

    As print volumes continue to decline globally due to increasing digitization and coupled with increasing device consolidation, the office print industry globally is on the tail end of market maturity. 

    The impact will be that brands (OEMs), print providers, dealers and resellers will be squeezed through tighter margins. Resellers and dealers may be the first to change or be impacted as many are on the front line and feel the effects first. 

    Some of the smarter businesses are doing just that – they are changing and they are being assisted by able business partners. However, the majority are still holding out and believing the bathwater is still warm. By the time these organizations recognize the temperature has gone cold, it will be all too late. 

    So, we now know why this is happening, but what is the larger impact on the industry? 

    The industry is currently feeling the effects of a shortening business model or manufacturing-based lifecycle. Instead of a product (or product set) having a manufacturing life span of 20, 30 or 40 years, the office printing industry is now on the verge of a sharp fall. The product set is running out of runway, and I’m not referring to a new piece of hardware (kit) released every five years or a retooling the plant. 

    Obviously, redesigning manufacturing plants to manage lower production cycles is an option, but it’s not going to be the strategy of all the remaining players. Maybe the last one or two within the industry sector can play this game. The others must take a different path, deploy a different strategy.

    The Market Maturity Tail is Shortening

    Although the Rogers Bell Curve (see figure below) is about the technology adoption lifecycle, it is equally useful to illustrate the focus on innovation. The reason why innovation has become increasingly important is more related to the shortening of products in the market at the back end of the cycle. If you have a shortening cycle or your product matures quicker, the focus and attention must be on renewing or innovating faster. Many industries — and the office printing industry is one of them — are now seeing the full effects of a shortening or decreasing market life span.

    does innovation = distruption

    This is not to say that the industry will disappear anytime soon because it won’t. It will continue to exist, but not the way it has in the past. We are now in one of the latter phases of a flattening market (short market tail). We have seen, and will continue to see, brands (manufacturers) consolidate. 

    Today, in fact, we are witnessing some of the most successful global brands pivoting and refocusing their direction on a new future. They are either exiting the office print industry altogether, merging or being acquired by another office printing brand. Some are choosing to split parts of their business to either refocus their attention to new adjacent markets or create a new play in a new market.

    Some have also recognized that breaking the business up helps to create and make transparent a new asset value (class) that was previously was trapped in a somewhat slowly decaying carcass. Maybe this is more of a push to satisfy shareholders or to take advantage of available investment funds.

    Whatever the reason the office printing is presenting at an inflection point.

    Where to From Here?

    Well, the playing field is certainly changing, and innovation has sped up. In fact, it has accelerated at phenomenal rates due to the realization that businesses can no longer launch an innovative product (or business) in the market and watch it have a 30-plus year run. It is more likely that it will be obsolete, redundant or disrupted within five,10 or 15 years. 

    Due to the shorter life, organizations are looking at innovative (and some disruptive innovation) to sustain their growth. Incremental innovation (e.g.,  a faster more powerful processor or better process improvement) won’t be enough. The focus must be on leapfrog innovation – innovation that takes a “design thinking” perspective rather than looking at today’s environment requirements only.

    Parallel to this changing dynamic is the increasing emphasis on aligning businesses to a customer-centric view, or businesses focused on the future industries that are evolving such as the “customer immersion industry” or the “customer experience industry.” 

    We are seeing many clients, customers and consumers around the world continue to be educated and conditioned around the benefits of such permeating technologies led by an assortment of technology players who provide solutions and experiences in the areas of mobility, big data, cloud, virtual reality, augmented reality, analytics, IoT, 3D, drones, AI — and the list goes on. 

    This accelerated appetite of innovation takes advantage of technology infrastructures, platforms and applications that are driven and leveraged by a variety of existing and new technologies and customer-centric business models. 

    Additionally, the ability to compete and gain access to low-cost technology is changing the way both new and old businesses compete. Green field businesses are now disrupting older, well-entrenched businesses of the past. Business that have been successful in the past are now being eroded by new entrants that are using technology and low-cost models to outcompete the competition. 

    Businesses that have built a successful business on decades of experience and infrastructure are being challenged by businesses that don’t carry dedicated workforces or don’t carry legacy infrastructure to operate. They scale, they are agile and deploy quickly. They are becoming the new norm. 

    They operate on an agile business model and are changing the way they engage their customers. These new business models are shaped around being more customer-centric, engaging at an individual level, being able to respond at a faster rate and at a deeper level through predictive analytics.

    Therefore, the question that now remains is — how is your business going to adapt going forward? How are you going to drive leapfrog innovation, not just incremental change? The way you have always done things in the past does not mean or guarantee your success in the future. 

    As someone said to me, “if nothing changes, nothing changes.”

  • 07-Mar-2019 5:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Ondřej Krajíček, Chief Technology Strategist, Y Soft

    Cloud computing exploded onto the technology scene and has impacted almost every aspect of an organization. The continued rise of the cloud is driven by the benefits realized in efficiency, productivity, cost control and workforce mobility.

    Choosing a cloud-based solution for your print management and document capture needs can remove some administrative tasks and related costs, saving time and freeing up IT resources to focus on more important strategic elements. Cloud based solutions enable organizations, such as small businesses, to increase user productivity and ramp up document security even without having their own IT resources. Cloud solutions also add value by eliminating or vastly reducing server maintenance costs, application and print servers alike.

    The right model for your print infrastructure?

    As organizations continue to digitally transform, there is an increased demand on IT capacity and a hunger for new capabilities. Should your organization continue to deploy print services on-premise, in a private datacenter or a private cloud? The answer, of course, depends on the organization’s specific needs, the organization’s overall cloud strategy, IT capacity and other factors.

    Leading print management and document capture solutions can typically be deployed on-premise, partially on-premise/partially in a private cloud or completely in a private cloud. To be clear, by private cloud, we mean a dedicated set of IaaS resources hosted by a cloud provider such as AWS or Microsoft Azure.

    Not all print management and document capture solutions can deploy in these three ways easily and cost effectively, so investigating how the print services solution is designed can affect your options. For the most flexibility, choose a solution that is designed to be able to scale for your growth needs and can easily move from on-premise to a combination of on-premise/private cloud or can be offered entirely in a private cloud. Bear in mind, that your needs and strategy always evolve, and investing in a solution that can naturally transform from one model to another, without significant migration costs and duplication of effort, can provide significant savings in the future too.

    The model you choose for your print environment is essential in ensuring you have the right level of control and security to protect your systems and data while balancing costs, flexibility and manageability. Organizations are typically concerned with three areas when thinking about where print services are managed: security, IT burden and data/bandwidth costs. The table below outlines where these concerns most often rank for each deployment model.


    Partial On-Premise/Partial Hosted Private Cloud

    Hosted Private Cloud

    Higher as print/scan jobs and job meta data are behind the firewall

    High as print/scan jobs can remain behind the firewall; only the job meta data goes to the private cloud for reporting purposes

    Lower as some companies may be concerned that print/scan  jobs are processed in the cloud. Job meta data stays in the cloud for reporting purposes

    IT Burden
    Higher as the company is responsible for entire print infrastructure

    IT Burden

    Lower as company’s IT is only responsible for on-premise part of infrastructure

    IT Burden

    Lowest as company’s IT has little print infrastructure burden

    Data/Bandwidth Costs
    Lower as data transfer is local

    Data/Bandwidth Costs
    Higher as the company pays data transfer for meta data traffic

    Data/Bandwidth Costs
    Highest as the company pays for job and meta data transfer costs. Latency may be an issue

    Hosting your print management and document capture solution in the cloud, regardless of the model you choose, is not a pinnacle of progress. Besides costs, privacy, security and availability, needs and concerns may lead you to IoT edge-based print management and document capture solutions, providing coverage for the organization’s user base where cloud availability/connectivity is a concern and yet having servers on-premise is a pain point.

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