MPSA Commentary

MPSA Member & MPS Industry Commentary
  • 27-Nov-2017 5:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Continuing our Q&A series, we will be interviewing members of the MPSA Board of Directors. First up, Sarah Custer of Supplies Network

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?

    A: Supplies Network has been a corporate sponsor since the very early days of the MPSA (2009). Since that time, I've participated in many of the events, meetings and webinars hosted by the MPSA. This is my first time to take on a more official role within the group, and I'm excited to participate in this expanded capacity.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A:  I've been with Supplies Network since 2001 and specifically focused on managed print since 2009. I have the privilege to work closely with various parts of the channel from resellers and manufacturers to software and service providers. I believe this place in the chain provides a great deal of perspective on the needs and wants of all involved in a managed print engagement. My hope is that I can use this experience to help others achieve their goals in the managed print space. Additionally, I look forward to collaborating and learning the perspectives of others as part of this process.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: While there are many industry reports that indicate an overall decline in print, there is projected growth in pages printed in a contractual context. This excites me because, of course, this is the sweet spot for managed print services!  For those engaged in MPS, there is still a lot of opportunity to drive down operational costs and increase profits, while delivering a greater experience and savings for the end customer.

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you're not at work?

    A:  When I'm not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Andy, and our daughters, Violet and Lilah. They keep us really busy, but when I'm able to sneak in some time for myself, I enjoy horseback riding. My oldest is almost old enough to start jumping lessons; I'm hoping this translates to an opportunity for more time at the barn for me!

  • 23-Oct-2017 7:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rounding out our Q&A with the newest members of the MPSA's executive committee is Treasurer Brian Stevenson.

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?

    A: Since 2009! It was a privilege to be one of the founding members that helped support the initial structure and launch of the Association. In the early days of the MPSA, Board Members were segmented by their area of knowledge within the MPSA industry. For me, that has always aligned with the interests of the independent reseller.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A: At my age, it’s now a lot of experience! And hopefully some of it will be relevant and of benefit to our members.  I’ve had the experience of growing an MPS company (LaserNetworks) into one of the largest MPS providers in North America, eventually selling to Xerox. Since then, I’ve spent much of the past 5 years supporting independent dealers though my work with the TriMega Association. This has included developing key supplier relationships across our industry – from hardware, parts & supplies, software, outsourced programs, and other key areas of MPS.  If you have a question around anything MPS, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note & I’d be happy to provide some thoughts on a partner that should be able to support your efforts.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: The leading independent dealers have become very successful in delivering that last mile of support — with greater efficiency and awareness on the key drivers of cost and value. This is leading many of the OEM’s to rethink their Direct MPS models and are now shifting those direct MPS contracts back to the independents. I believe there’s more to come as the OEM’s shift their focus back to the channel.

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you’re not at work?

    A: Living in Canada, we try to take advantage of our four distinct seasons: coaching my daughter's baseball team in the spring; putting the boat in the water and spending our weekends at the cottage throughout the summer; completing a triathlon in the fall; and enjoying the benefits of Après Ski in the winter!

  • 23-Sep-2017 9:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our series of Q&As with each new member of the MPSA's board and executive committee continues with Secretary Ann Priede.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role? 

    A: This month marks my 30th year in the printing and imaging industry, and during that time, I've worked for a manufacturer, been an industry analyst, and am now onsite at a customer. I believe this multifaceted experience gives me a well-rounded view of the industry and the ability to understand managed print and all of its related issues from a variety of perspectives. I have also been a writer and editor for more than a decade, and I believe my collaboration and communication skills are important for the role of Secretary of the Executive Board. 
    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most? 

    A: I'm very excited to see MPS moving beyond the device into business processes, document workflows, and change management. These issues are at the heart of every business and truly allow the MPS community to add value to their business partnerships and help customers be more efficient. As a result, we are seeing new companies in the managed print industry bringing fresh ideas that will help us keep pace with -- and maybe even get ahead of -- the technology, user experience, and business trends that are driving not just print, but our lives as a whole. 
    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you’re not at work? 

    A: I love to read and am an avid gardener — when the hot, humid Gulf Coast environment cooperates! I also enjoy being outdoors on the water and have recently taken up kayaking and boating, which adds an extra element of fun.
  • 23-May-2017 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mark Schneider, Y Soft North America

    It’s difficult to pick up an industry magazine, view tech websites or attend a conference without hearing about Digital Transformation. The media hype and analyst predictions can leave one feeling behind the curve if not actively engaging with customers on the topic.

    The important thing to remember is that most companies are not nearly at the point of true digital transformation. According to IDC’s Digital Transformation (DX) MaturityScape Stage Overview, most companies are still stuck in stage 2. The fifth and final stage is still a long way off for most.

    Your customers are still on a journey and many are looking for solutions that help them progress to stage 3. As an MPS provider who makes a living on the printed page, is this a threat or is there opportunity for you?

    What is Digital Transformation?

    Using IDC’s definition, Digital Transformation (or DX) enables enterprises to drive changes in their business models and ecosystems by leveraging digital competencies. A quick summary of the five stages they’ve identified:

    1) Ad-Hoc where paper-centric workflows dominate.

    2) Opportunistic where scans are image only capture and connected to ECM or document repositories.

    3) Repeatable is intelligent scan capture where content can be extracted, indexed and categorization is automated.

    4) Managed which uses third platform technologies (think AI, AR, VR) to support real-time access and use across digital devices.

    5) Optimized is the ultimate level where automation crosses all departments and adjacent workflows are triggered through use of innovation accelerators such as IoT, cognitive systems or robotics.

    The business outcomes possible under each stage become more and more compelling. But only a small percentage of companies are at the forefront with associated budgets and resources to get past stage 2. By taking more practical steps, you can help them progress to stage 3.

    What’s in it for me?

    It’s a healthy sign for any industry to evolve and MPS is no different. Today, MPS is evolving to include MCS, Managed Content Services. Living in the paper world gives you insight into your customers’ paper based processes, in other words, stage 1 of digital transformation. And perhaps, some of your customers are scanning documents as image files and storing them in document repositories, stage 2.

    According to Gartner1, “The digital imaging and printing equipment, supply and service market is steadily declining… To survive, technology strategic planners of print and imaging providers need to make further inroads into MCS, (Managed Content Services) which optimizes customers' business processes and helps them reduce their dependence on printing and paper. MCS brings mostly new revenue and is a less mature business.”

    Stage 3, intelligent scan capture, delivers the value that customers understand and appreciate i.e. cost reduction and faster productivity. Intelligent scan capture offers you a new revenue stream and positions you as a trusted supplier that can help organizations on their digital transformation journey.
    Y Soft is helping MPS providers do this every day.

    My colleague recently shared tips on what to look for in a document capture solution in a MPSA webinar. The recording is available to members. I’d be happy to chat with you about it. Whether you offer scan workflows as a stand-alone solution or as part of  print management , you will drive value for customers who are looking to MPS providers to help them move up the DX curve.

    Be part of the evolution, drive value and increase your revenue! When your customer is ready to move on to stage 4 and 5, ….well we can’t say that AI, AR and VR technologies are ready just yet in the print and imaging industry. But we’re keeping an eye on them.

     1Gartner, January 2017, Exploit Print Market Dynamics Primer 2017, Document # G00318293

  • 26-Apr-2017 5:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The MPSA had a major presence during the ITEX 2017 show in Las Vegas April 18-20, hosting a networking reception the first night of the show.

    Held at Hussong’s Cantina on April 18 and sponsored by corporate members Clover Imaging Group, Muratec and Print Audit, the MPSA had a blowout reception complete with margaritas, guacamole and plenty of networking opportunities for current and prospective members. Here are some pictures of the event.


    Left: MPSA President Kevin DeYoung and Membership Chair Kevin Morris. Right: Attendees network at the event.

    Hussong's was packed with current and prospective MPSA members.

    Print Audit's West McDonald and BPO Media's Patricia Ames.

    A rousing game of flip cup hosted by Print Audit.

    Partygoers pack the room.

  • 01-Apr-2017 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Recently, the MPSA announced its new board of directors and executive committee. To welcome them, we'll be doing a series of Q&As with each new member.

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?

    A:  I’ve been involved in the MPSA for about four years.  I initially got involved as a member of the education committee to learn more about MPS from the experts, then in time became the co-chair of the education committee. From there, my position evolved into additional committees, then vice president, and now to president.  Just like at our paying jobs, skills you develop within the MPSA open the door for advancement. 

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A: I’ve spent 100 percent of my time in the print industry post-college, including the last 11 years being highly involved in MPS with an OEM and independent dealership.  Having spent my previous MPSA term as the MPSA vice president, it in some ways was an internship for the president position. Ideas, thoughts, connections, and an understanding of the MPSA logistics will enable the MPSA to be successful again this term.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: I’m excited to see MPS providers become more like consultants for their customers rather than just providers selling a commodity. With MPS far along in the innovation adoption curve, providers need to do more to deliver value to their customers.  Digitization, and IT services tie in with MPS are short-term opportunities for MPS providers to do more for their customers. 

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you’re not at work?

    A: When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling to breweries to learn more about brewing beer and of course, sampling all they have to offer.  Travel, photography, sports, and comedy are other passions of mine.  

  • 14-Mar-2017 10:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Patricia Ames

    We sat down recently with Bill Melo, chief marketing executive for MPSA Platinum member Toshiba America Business Solutions to discuss what Toshiba is doing, what’s new in the MPS space and advice for MPSA members.

    Tell us a little bit about what Toshiba is doing in the market with managed print services and how you're differentiating yourselves. There is a lot of discussion around the commoditization of MPS and you are a strong player in MPS - what is Toshiba doing that is working?

    BM: I think when it comes to services especially, there are two ways that you can differentiate yourself. One is very obvious and easy to appreciate, which is that you offer something that other people do not. And then the other way of differentiating yourself, which is more subtle and requires a bit more insight from the eye of the beholder, is that you simply execute better than other folks. This could be because of better systems or more experience or the degree to which you focus on something. The second method is harder to prove out, but I think we differentiate ourselves a little bit on both elements.

    I think we have a unique product set. When it comes to laser MFPs, we pretty much have the same thing as everybody else does, but what we have that is unique (and which we started to put into our MPS program) are thermal barcode printers. Barcode printers are used a lot in logistics and manufacturing operations for labels, and pharmaceutical scenarios for printing labels on prescriptions and wristbands and those types of applications.

    We’ve come up with a way of remotely monitoring those types of devices. So the same way you would use FM Audit or any kind of utility for getting meter reads from MFPs, we can deploy our solution to secure usage totals off those barcode devices. In that world, you measure by the linear inch, not by page. So we measure with linear inches, and we can offer MPS to incorporate not only the laser printers and MFPs but also these devices on the server/barcode side. I think we are the only ones that have this.

    Another good differentiator is to offer some solutions that appeal to corporations that have a sustainability or good corporate citizen initiative. Has Toshiba focused at all on this?

    BM: Encompass is the cornerstone of our larger MPS applications and implementations. Encompass is the cloud-based utility that we use for capturing what the customer is currently doing as well as designing an optimized fleet.  The insights gained through Encompass allow us to then offer solutions that can lower their printing costs that are very transparent. One of the updates we've recently included is building PrintReleaf into our MPS program. It's not only available to offer to customers, but it's actually embedded in Encompass. That makes it easy to incorporate into the overall story.

    PrintReleaf is a platform that ties paper consumption to reforestation. PrintReleaf allows companies to certifiably reduce the environmental impact of using paper products by automatically planting trees across a global network of reforestation projects.

    What would you suggest MPS providers focus on in 2017?

    BM: The most important thing they can do is make sure that their implementation and execution is solid.  If you are not just going in and completely replacing the existing fleet with one brand and selling it on a cost-per-copy model, then it's still a complex process of managing a blended customer-owned fleet. You need to optimize what they already own, augment it with new equipment and solutions that meet their needs and then put it on a really simple billing program. That’s complicated. If you're making it easier for the customer, essentially what you're doing is taking on that complexity yourself. That means that you need to be really good at assessments, pricing, implementation and reporting, or else all you've done is taken on somebody else's problem and probably made it worse. And made it your own.

    The MPSA has spent a lot of time helping build guidelines to do this properly. One of the latest trends we are seeing is a migration from MPS to MCS, or managed content services. The providers that have become adept at offering MPS seem to now be pushing into the workflow arena. Are you seeing any of that?

    BM: Yes. Toshiba has been offering workflow products for a while. We’ve recently launched our Nuance relationship with AutoStore and Equitrac for imaging. These solutions will be incorporated into our front panel on our MFPs. I believe that the “managed” model is really around using your expertise to relieve the customer's burden on an area that they're not expert at. We're just expanding our offering set logically to offer clients solutions to their current pain points. We have been offering managed workflow, security, scanning, digital and hardcopy to digital, etc., for a while.

    What are some of the biggest challenges you're seeing the channel right now?

    BM: Well, you mentioned commoditization at the beginning of this interview, and that is a real issue, because when we first started we were educating customers and for a long time were almost alone in that, at least in terms of the offshore manufacturers in the SMB and mid-tier space. Now everybody is offering managed print services. If your prospect is not very knowledgeable, all the offerings can look the same even if they are intrinsically very, very different.

    It is very difficult to show how you are different in a simple-to-understand fashion that captures the prospect’s attention. This is where you have to demonstrate your experience, and the toolset, and the knowledge of your salespeople, analysts and implementation folks. It’s tough. It is no longer a blue ocean – it is a very crowded pool.

    Is there anything you're excited about right now? Something new coming up, new opportunities or new technologies?

    BM: At LEAD, our dealer and end user educational program in May, we'll be demonstrating what I believe is an industry leading technology product customization and integration.  Our new Elevate platform is designed to make it easy to deliver a fully customized user experience from front panel design to workflow integration.  For our dealers, we've also developed a set of educational tools and sell-through programs tailored to seven different industries.  It's very exciting and I know that our dealers and end users will love it.

  • 20-Feb-2017 8:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Brian Dawson, Print Tracker

    The mission of the MPSA™ and its members is to address and optimize document management while enhancing the growth, efficiency, and profitability of the Managed Print Services (MPS) segment. In an effort to reach these objectives, the MPSA provides community-driven print management best practices – like those contained in white papers to help its members make informed decisions to assist in developing their MPS strategies.

    As managed print services offerings mature, the definition of MPS changed. In early 2016, the MPSA published the following:

    “Managed print services is the active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information including input and output devices.” – MPSA (Managed Print Services Association)

    The MPSA Standards and Best Practices Committee
    Over the past several years and through collaboration with numerous subject matter experts within the MPSA Standards and Best Practices (SBP) Committee and those outside the organization, the MPSA has compiled a set of MPS best practices. 

    Built on the foundation of the SBP Committee’s earlier work, "MPS Provider Best Practices: Supplies Management," the group’s efforts have culminated in the production of a comprehensive new break/fix service white paper. The work identifies standards MPS providers can employ to mitigate risk factors while providing world class customer service for their print management offering.

    Focus and Scope
    As part of a broader body of knowledge, this specific set of best practices offered by the SBP group centers on break/fix service.  The prepared document is offered as a guide for the MPS provider’s leadership to help them choose the best business model for designing, managing, and improving its break/fix service delivery. The information suggested should be applied broadly to form the basis of a well-run MPS business.

    While the scope of the prepared document includes best practices for break/fix service in MPS engagements, the processes and business model options presented focus on cost containment and customer experience. The SBP committee suggests benchmarking offerings against Specific, Measurable, Aligned/ Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound (SMART) standards to provide the best service in the most affordable manner.

    After reviewing the ideas suggested, MPS providers can use the break/fix white paper recommendations to implement a wide array of break/fix strategies based on the business model they have established. The document takes into account three common break/fix business models where the MPS provider:

    1)    has their own technicians;
    2)    utilizes and manages third-party technicians; or
    3)    invests in an all-inclusive page, that includes break/fix services from a servicing agent. 

    Break/Fix Offering Components
    The MPSA’s break/fix service white paper promotes a pro-active service and support model rather than a reaction based program. The white paper includes seven high-level break/fix service components for each business model.  Each section includes segments for best practices, impact on profitability and customer experience and defines program offerings for each of the three business types in the following areas:

    Service Level Agreement (SLA)
    1)    Flexibility
    2)    Scalability

    1)    Collection
    2)    Reporting and Processing
    3)    Customer portal
    4)    Technician portal

    1)    Criteria and Sourcing
    2)    Geo Coverage
    3)    Certifications
    4)    Ongoing Training
    5)    Technician Benchmarks, Reporting and Review Process
    6)    Incentive Program
    7)    Technician Resources

    1)    Distribution/Availability
    2)    Warehousing

    Service Desk

    1)    Communication method
    2)    Dispatch

    Contract Management

    1)    Invoicing
    2)    Profitability

    Customer Satisfaction
    By way of content example, the MPSA’s Break/Fix White Paper includes the following excerpt:

    Best Practices: Break/Fix Service Offering

    A break/fix service offering is one of the most basic and fundamental building blocks of an MPS solution.  Providers should define their solution and how it will be delivered. Offerings may cover areas like billing models, products covered, service level agreements (SLAs), and software solutions. MPS providers may start with a very defined and limited offering or have several options for their customers.

    A break-fix service offering will vary because of billing model factors, such as Cost per Image (CPI), time and materials (T&M), user based, monthly by model, and length of agreement, and each component should be aligned with how the program will be administered. There are three different break/fix models for MPS providers to consider.

    Provider’s Own Service/Managed Third-Party
    Billing model factors are very important to profit and customer experience. For example, exposure to profit on a billing model would be a risk if offering CPI or user-based billing. Impact to cash flow could also be a consideration if the dealer, valued added reseller (VAR), or IT service provider bills these charges in arrears because of up-front costs. If the MPS provider bills monthly or annually, this would be less of a factor, as billing would usually be done in advance. The MPS provider would have risks in each of these models because they are all-inclusive billing models. T&M billing offers the least exposure, as the provider bills actual expenses plus a mark-up amount. However this model offers the least value to the client and is far less profitable for the provider.

    Wholesale Page/Solution
    This approach offers the least impact to profit exposure for the MPS provider because they have a set price and are not impacted by additional costs. Although this arrangement is more predictable and safe, the provider could have the potential to make more of a profit if the process is self-managed. In addition, the customer expectation for greater value-added services is increased to justify not going direct with the contracted break/fix provider.

    Customer experience is an exposure in the wholesale page/solution model. The provider will need to place tight checks and balances in the process and how it might impact their customer. Ultimately, the partner engaging the client is solely responsible for the service delivery and upholding the relationship, even though the MPS provider has contracted the service.

    … In Summary
    The "MPS Provider Best Practices: Break/Fix Service" white paper produced by MPSA SBP committee members dovetails nicely with its earlier work "MPS Provider Best Practices: Supplies Management."  MPS providers can use the information offered in both white papers to develop the foundation for a sound print management program.

    Each business and reader must determine which set of best practices apply to their specific situation. Ultimately, the success of any MPS program relies heavily upon application throughout the entire lifecycle of the provider’s MPS program.  As with all information, readers must determine a set of goals and objectives to be achieved and solved with the implementation of the white paper’s suggested best practices.

    Join the MPSA today to gain access to full reports:  The MPSA is an active organization that offers monthly webinars to its worldwide membership.  The MPSA offers a LinkedIn forums for the exchange of ideas as well: Managed Print Services Association

    Brian Dawson, Sales and Marketing Director, Print Tracker, LLC, is a productivity specialist, sales coach, mentor; offering managed print solutions world-wide with Print Tracker software.  He is a Co-chairman on the MPSA’s Standards and Best Practices where he has been a participating member since its inception. View profiles at and Contact Brian at, (866) 629-3342 x7 or through Print Tracker.

  • 26-Sep-2016 6:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Patricia Ames

    In Part 4 of our interview series, we speak with MPSA President Kevin DeYoung and Vice President Doug Bies, and take a look at the current MPSA membership base, new member recruitment, and what kind of companies the MPSA is seeking to have join the association. Read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

    What does the current MPSA membership base look like? Describe it to us.

    Kevin DeYoung: The majority of current members are resellers, while many of our other members want to sell to the resellers.  This past year we looked at how we were set up operationally and we subsequently created a committee resources area. Kim Louden from GAFS has been very generous with her time and efforts to build that up. Now we have volunteers that want to participate.

    One of the first places we identified as an area of need was our membership committee. It is in the process of building up resources, so instead of going after new members immediately, we decided to devote our efforts into determining how we can deliver greater value to the current members. We formed a membership value committee that Ron Alphin of Parts Now heads. We came up with a hit list of things that were recommended. One of the primary benefits that the members want is networking.

    The next thing that we did is start working on how to onboard members better so members know how to maximize the value of their membership. For the individual members, we created a comprehensive member resource guide and then for the corporate members we created a one-on-one guided experience. We don’t want a situation where corporate members come on board after writing a check and we give them a webinar and then forget about them until it is time to renew again.

    We always want to be recruiting new members. This is really not about building a lot of cash, this is about migrating the contributions into value for the membership. Leveraging the knowledge and expertise of our corporate members can help make all our members more successful and that is part of our charter. The corporate members have a message which is valuable to our overall membership, and we want to make sure it is heard.

    Conversely, we want our corporate members to know our individual members because maybe they can do business with each other and that will be good for those that are sharing their educational content. In every case, the first step is to take care of our existing members, because we’ve been very good when we wanted to get new members.

    Doug Bies: Even on the smaller side of things, when it comes to individual memberships you could be working at a large, 500-person organization and be on the IT staff and your manager might want you to get more involved in MPS and implement an MPS program. What better place to go to learn than here at the MPSA? Why not make that small investment that will then allow you to collaborate with OEMs, resellers, MPS infrastructure providers, IT VAR’s and other end users, and learn what you should be looking for in an MPS provider?

    We’re better in terms of delivering value this year than we were in previous years. That makes it easier to attract new membership; it’s one of the reasons why the membership committee has grown because now they have something to build upon, a greater value to work off of and leverage, and a story to tell. It’s easier to onboard organizations now.

    When we onboard new members now, we encourage them to join a committee. It’s one of the best ways to ensure membership value.

    For new member recruitment, what are you looking for? Do you have a specific type of member that you’re looking for — are they in certain sectors, are you looking at verticals? What do you think are the best routes to attract them?

    DeYoung: We want more end users. End users are difficult to manage as long-term members, because an end user’s membership within the MPSA is typically an event-driven membership. End users are going to say “We need to do MPS, we want to do MPS, how do we find out how to do MPS?” They’ll discover us in their research. A couple of years ago Purdue University joined the MPSA. I remember thinking how cool it was that Purdue University was a member. I asked them why they joined and they told me that they were in the process of evaluating an MPS solution for the entire campus.

    We held a conference call for Purdue, and we walked them through the Standards and Best Practices Committee papers on how an end user should evaluate managed print services both internally and externally. We had created great material and we walked them through it all. Purdue loved it. I believe we delivered a great value to them.

    Reaching out to end users to educate them on our association can be difficult. Most of the events we tend to participate in are geared to the reseller and not the end user. We’ll need to focus on attending more end user events in the future.

    I would love to see people from the legal industry get involved, certainly the end users. I’d love to see more OEMs. I would love to see organizations from the software side like DocuWare or Square 9 or other document solutions companies.

    As we begin to look at workflow and what happens when you’ve evolved within an organization to the point where you’ve already optimized, you’ve rationalized and now what’s left? How can you make your business process more efficient? That gets to be workflow. You need to know what the game is if you’re going to retain a client, if you’re going to have stickiness. We’ve brought in some great new companies like YSoft. Very interesting business model compared to its competitors, they bring a lot of value to the industry in the way they’re approaching the market — very novel, but that’s what you want. You want more of that in the MPSA too.

    Read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 of the series.

  • 14-Sep-2016 10:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Lisa Person, Director of Member Communities, CompTIA

    Most everyone in the MPS field understands the role and value of these services to organizations of every shape and size. It’s a regular topic of conversation in our community, from the efficiencies and cost savings of a well-developed program to the ease of implementation for providers. That is what many might call the fun part of MPS.

    Managing the customer-facing side of an organization is by no means easy, but many providers would rather help end users work through issues and options rather than spend time improving their own business processes. Of course, that scenario isn’t unique to the print and IT industries: it’s simply human nature. Most prefer the interaction over process development.

    The CompTIA Managed Print Services Community collectively strives for the improvement and development of the industry as a whole. Members who attend our conference calls and live meetings, like our gathering in August at ChannelCon, leave armed with business-building advice and new strategies for growth. Nothing fuels the mind like insightful discussions with peers around the issues and opportunities MPS professionals face. Those activities are what drives providers to spend more time working on building and honing their businesses rather than working “in” their businesses.  

    At ChannelCon, our presenters discussed crafting competitive compensation plans and consultative selling tactics, and we offered a primer on how to use data analytics in an MPS business. Each was focused on helping providers grow their managed print practices.

    Compensation plans for sales staff have long been a challenge for print and IT providers selling services. Jeff Bendix of Bendix Imaging and Kevin Morris from OneDOC Managed Print Services shared their experiences and took away some of the mystery and uncertainty on that area.

    For instance, a managed print sales staff may be compensated based on a range of outcomes. The possibilities include long-term managed print contracts, hardware sales and leases and transactional sales of supplies. “What behavior are you trying to encourage?” Morris asked. “Think about your end-goal and design a plan around it.”

    Attendees were also advised to bite the bullet and make a habit of holding quarterly business reviews (QBRs) with their customers. The most successful organizations meet regularly to discuss problems with their clients to not only keep potential problems to a minimum, but to discuss future projects and service opportunities. But many providers still don’t follow that advice. “QBRs are a pain,” said David Brown of PrintFleet. “They are monotonous to put together. They are time consuming. But you have to be out there talking to your customers because if you aren’t, someone else is.”

    What should you address in a QBR? The most successful customer conversations are the ones that “create a winning narrative,” Brown said. “Always talk about the future. Talk about what their objectives are and talk to them about how you will help them get there.”

    The New MPS Standard

    The key to a successful managed print practice? Policies and procedures. Tawnya Stone of GreatAmerica Financial Services and chair of the community directed attendees to the new CompTIA Channel Standard for Managed Print Providers as an industry resource for providers. These are guidelines successful MPS professionals have used to build and improve their businesses over time. The standard covers four critical business functions: business generation, delivery and operations, customer relations and business direction.

    CompTIA created a workbook to serve as a guide and self-evaluation for managed print provider organizations. It combines all of the content from the CompTIA Channel Standard for IT Solution Providers and the Standard for Managed Print Providers, providing insight into the best practices and policies of each type of organization. It’s a “go at your own pace” program, so time is not a factor (though quicker implementation has its own rewards).

    Those are the types of activities the CompTIA Managed Print Services Community does on a regular basis. If you’re interested in these resources or looking for others, sign up here and open your mind to even greater success in the MPS space. 

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