MPSA Commentary

MPSA Member & MPS Industry Commentary
  • 21-Sep-2015 3:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mark Schneider, Y Soft

    As if celebrity divorces are not entertaining enough, now corporations are splitting up too. It’s become the latest trend. HP, eBay and Symantec are recent Silicon Valley high-tech examples but recently companies in all sectors are doing it too: RR Donnelley, W.R. Grace and Computer Sciences. And research shows this trend will continue since the effect on shareholder value proves a split makes sense.

    As a provider of IT services, what do you do if your customer announces they are splitting the company up? How can you turn this into a selling point – that in the event of a reverse merger (or changes in general), your solution and customer care organization can guide them through the change easily?

    When a company plans to split up, the IT organization is hit the hardest – internal systems, contracts and services have to be analyzed so that vendors can be contacted and change plans organized. It’s a lot of work and not surprising that it takes companies years to complete a split.

    In the case of print management, how your services and support are structured can make things easier for IT. From a pricing perspective, if pricing is done on a per device structure, it is much easier to calculate what pricing will look like for the split organizations – IT just needs to know how many MFPs are going to the various new entities. If pricing is done on a per-person or per-page basis, it becomes more complicated. The IT person will not know for a long time how employees will be allocated across the various new organizations and which of these employee groups are responsible for the bulk of print services.

    Lastly on pricing, a print management solution and ongoing customer care based on a subscription model helps the organization as there are no lengthy contracts to renegotiate.

    Consider also the print administrators role. Usually large organizations are a result of mergers and acquisitions. Sometimes these organizations fully merge IT operations. In a reverse merger, these IT operations now have to split. If the print management system is capable of having administrators for each division, what we call local administrators, a reverse merger is made much easier as the print management system is already configured for administrators to access and manage only those MFPs in their division. This is one less thing that IT management has to worry about.

    An important consideration for a print administrator is a seamless continuation of services. How quickly can you react to requests for new quotes, billing changes and ongoing customer care? Does the new, slimmer organization need all the features or are some of those feature needed only in some of the new entities? Is your solution an all or nothing or is their flexibility based on critical needs?

    While reverse mergers seem to be a trend, mergers and acquisitions are still happening too. The same considerations described above are headaches for the combined organization and the poor IT print administrator who has to sort it all out. 

    How flexible is your print management solution and the services that stand behind them? How do you picture that conversation going when your customer calls you and says, “We’re splitting the company”? Is splitting up hard to do or are you prepared? It’s a topic we invite discussion on as you consider adding managed print services to your offerings. Y Soft is here to help.

    Mark Schneider is the national sales manager for Y Soft, North America. Reach him at mark.schneider@ysoft.com

  • 25-Aug-2015 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Robert Palmer

    Information management is without a doubt the biggest challenge facing businesses today. It is not just about how much information we create and acquire, but also how that content is being consumed and distributed. It is all about the mobilization of the workforce. Forrester estimates that 29 percent of the entire global workforce can now be characterized as anywhere, anytime workers — a figure that has doubled since 2012. Studies have indicated that more than three quarters of the U.S. workforce has some form of mobility associated with their job.

    As a result, knowledge workers require constant, uninterrupted access to business-critical information. It is easy to say, but for small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs) that lack an effective digital workflow strategy it can be overwhelming. The challenge lies not just in the process of making information accessible, but also controlling, securing, and ensuring that the integrity of content is not compromised as it is manipulated and moved throughout what has increasingly become a fragmented document environment.

    To address the changing demands for today’s office environment, businesses need an integrated document infrastructure built around three core elements: print management, capture and conversion, and intelligent document workflow. These three elements, deployed through an integrated solution at the MFP, can deliver the comprehensive information management capabilities needed to address most critical business objectives.

    Many businesses fail to recognize the importance of the network MFP as the best foundation for integrating these solutions together. The distributed network MFP, combined with scanning software and intelligent workflow tools delivers the ability to convert paper to digital format at the most opportune point in the overall process. This is how businesses can begin to automate processes and drive real efficiencies into existing business workflow.

    Interestingly, the three elements mentioned are often thought of as cost centers and a drain on IT resources. For example, printing today is primarily viewed as a business expense: difficult to manage with costs that are not easily recovered. For most smaller businesses, scanning is used either to share or store documents, and typically considered a specialized task that occurs at the end of a process. Meanwhile, most SMBs simply avoid changes in document workflow for fear of disrupting productivity.   

    When coupled with integrated workflow solutions, the network MFP becomes a strong IT asset and a measurable source for productivity. Businesses can dramatically cut costs by reducing print consumption and eliminating non-essential paper, gain control over key business processes to improve productivity, drive efficiencies by automating workflow, and manage content security while providing access to information when and how it is needed.

    The network MFP should be positioned as a gateway to fully integrated digital workflow. Sourcing and deploying the necessary software components across multiple scanners and printers is very costly and difficult to manage. The more effective alternative is to move these activities to fewer, but more powerful MFPs. The ultimate goal is to help your customer transition to digital, reducing dependency on paper-based workflow while allowing employees to work with digital content in more effective ways. 

    Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Palmer has more than 25 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. Palmer is a popular speaker and he presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.

  • 28-Jul-2015 4:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Robert Palmer

    In a few days, I will be heading out to attend the CompTIA ChannelCon conference, to be held August 3–5 at the Chicago Hilton. If you are not familiar with ChannelCon, it is an IT event that features high-level executive panel discussions, training courses, and an expo covering technologies and solutions in multiple areas, such as cloud, security, managed services, and the Internet of Things. 

    During ChannelCon, I will be presenting to members of the CompTIA MPS Community on the topic of “Opportunities in Workflow Automation.” The concept of my presentation is to look at how providers can leverage their foundation in MPS to branch into other document services. It is a concept that is not foreign to those of us coming from the print side of the business. MPS has long been viewed as a stepping-stone into other, value-added services. 

    Nevertheless, while preparing for this presentation I began to realize that the IT channel seems to be moving much quicker through the MPS continuum than what occurred within the imaging channel. This made me wonder: why are so many dealers and resellers in the imaging channel still reluctant to move beyond basic print services?

    When you look at what is happening in the digital workplace, there is little doubt that businesses are struggling with issues related to document workflow and information management. In today’s environment, each process in the information lifecycle can be performed electronically. Everything from document creation to sharing, collaborating, storing, processing, and distribution can all be performed using a mobile device running a cloud-based solution. In today’s office environment, print should no longer be viewed as a standalone or separate business function. 

    When I speak with end users these days, there is a common set of priorities when it comes to the document infrastructure. Digital workflow is almost always first and foremost. Many businesses are struggling with the idea of paper-to-digital conversion. Sure, they are scanning lots of documents, but there are few controls being placed on ad-hoc scanning and virtually no procedures put in place to help keep information accessible, automate workflows, and integrate captured data with existing business systems. 

    Meanwhile, security in all flavors and forms is high on the list for businesses of all sizes. This involves everything from secure access to content to document collaboration platforms, storage, and digital rights management. Security and mobility are also top-level concerns when it comes to printing. Organizations continue to place a high-priority on solutions that can enable secure mobile printing, and there is increased desire for solutions that add pull-print capabilities to enable secure printing from virtually anywhere—both inside and outside the firewall.  

    Historically, MPS has basically been delivered as a linear process. Step 1: print management. Step 2: optimize the infrastructure and reduce costs. Step 3: process improvement. In today’s office environment, particularly for smaller businesses that are only now considering managed print, that process is not longer viable. The most successful MPS programs will take a holistic approach to drive optimization in all areas of the document environment: print, capture and conversion, security, and workflow. This involves a strategic change in implementation, migrating from managed print services to managed content services (MCS). It is a difficult concept for some to comprehend, but the gap between MPS and MCS is probably not as wide as some might think. Are you ready to make the leap?

    Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.

  • 24-Jun-2015 2:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is no doubt that the SMB market is the sweet spot for MPS these days. Coverage is saturated in the enterprise segment, where the focus has shifted to workflow, process optimization, and high-value document services to drive additional value and margin. The SMB space is viewed as the prime opportunity for growth in managed print, and nearly every OEM is touting strategies and toolsets to attack the market.

    Taking MPS to the broader market requires an entirely different level of engagement with the channel, which is where the conversation begins to get muddled. MPS has its roots in the enterprise — mostly direct engagements established to outsource the management of complex print fleets. In those types of environments, reducing the cost of print became the primary motivator for MPS. Interestingly, many OEMs continue to push a similar go-to-market strategy for MPS tools and programs designed for the channel and aimed at the SMB customer.

    But for smaller businesses, particularly those with fewer than 500 employees, that value proposition is no longer relevant. In the first place, many smaller organizations looking for immediate cost savings from MPS may not see the kind of results they expect simply because their current printing costs are relatively low compared with other business expenses. Delivering 20-30 percent reduction in printing costs for some businesses might provide very little impact to the bottom line.

    At the same time, there is significant risk for smaller businesses in pursuing MPS programs without first considering the impact to overall document workflow. With a general lack of workflow automation and a high dependence on paper-based processes, these businesses stand to lose more in productivity than could ever be gained by reducing print costs.

    The reality is that there are two completely different sets of triggers when it comes to the value proposition for MPS. In the enterprise sector, businesses are primarily looking to consolidate devices, eliminate or significantly reduce printing, control color usage, reduce paper consumption, and develop an overall digital content and security strategy. In the SMB space, the need is for providers that can help manage devices, provide simple workflow automation, reduce requirements on IT staff, and consolidate vendors.

    Basically, the MPS conversation with SMB customers needs to flip. Instead of leading with reduction in costs, the best approach is to lead with services and solutions that can deliver greater productivity, drive process efficiencies, and save time. These are the issues that will likely resonate more fully with smaller businesses. In fact, document workflow is probably the first place smaller businesses to look when searching for ways to take cost out of the operating environment. Outdated or inefficient business processes could be costing companies much more in wasted effort and lost worker productivity than could ever be recovered by making output less expensive to produce.

    Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.

  • 08-Jun-2015 8:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mark Schneider, Y Soft

    As an MPS provider you have already decided that services and solutions is an area that will help you expand your business and position yourself for the direction our industry is heading. Have you considered adding print management to your offerings? Here is one good reason (out of many) to consider it.

    When asked “What is the cost to your organization of a confidential or sensitive information getting into the wrong hands” it is not surprising that security is at or near the top of IT’s most worrisome issues. Because of recent high profile consumer data thefts, most people would think of this type of security issue. But to the IT professional, security threats can include malicious or accidental employee access to confidential or otherwise sensitive documents. Many of our customers start a conversation with us around this concern.

    Companies today deploy solutions to mitigate the risk of improper access to information. They vary from simple shredding services to securing or limiting access through an electronic document management system. These are great steps to take and can help efforts in security compliance especially in industries where financial, medical or other personal information is gathered.

    However, an important step often overlooked is access to the MFD. A document left at the printer for any amount of time is a potential breach; consider a disgruntled employee who picks up a financial document or plans about an upcoming layoff.

    Then consider scanning or copying of paper documents. Scanning and copying of documents also pose a risk. Who is scanning and copying and what documents are involved?

    Securing access to these devices from unauthorized users is a first step in print management. Securing access can be accomplished by having users authenticate themselves either with a swipe of their company-issued badge or entry of their username/password, a PIN or any combination of the three entry methods. This ensures that access is given only to authorized users; administrators can even limit the times of day the print/copy/scan functions are enabled or which employees can print but cannot scan for instance.

    This does not alleviate the problem of users who don’t pick up their print jobs in a timely manner or print jobs accidentally picked up by others. However, print management solutions today can solve for these security risks with pull printing or what we call print roaming. Print roaming means the user sends a print job to any printer from his workstation or mobile device as usual. However, the job does not print until the user goes to the printer and authenticates himself. At that time, the job can print immediately, or the user can select (or delete) any jobs in the print queue. The user picks up his documents immediately.

    Similarly, a print management solution can provide an audit trail of scanned documents. While the workflow can allow for scans to be sent to an authorized email address or folder on a workstation (or automated to route to authorized third-party applications, print management can provide reporting that documents who scanned what (meta data about the document) and where it was scanned. For customers that require to know what has been copied, a workflow can be created that scans and stores documents before producing a copy.

    For customers looking to increase security of their document assets, the three things I just described (secure access to the MFD, print roaming and scanning with an audit trail) all help your customer meet their security compliance goals.

    The cost of a document in the wrong hands will vary depending on the type of information the document contains to the malicious intent of the individual who has it. Locking down a company’s document assets must be weighed with the need to do business efficiently.

    The steps to increase the security of a company’s document assets with print management is possible with minimal IT intervention and impact to users. With the additional benefits of reducing costs, increasing workflow efficiencies and supporting mobile workers, a print management solution on its own or as part of an overall MPS offering makes a lot of sense for companies interested in securing their company’s document assets.

    Working together with a print management solution provider, such as Y Soft, you have an additional solution to add to offering to not only expand your business but to offer additional value in an MPS solution. 

    Mark Schneider is the national sales manager for Y Soft, North America

  • 26-May-2015 5:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you look at studies that identify the top IT concerns for businesses today, you will see that security always ranks at the very top of the list. Of course, IT security can involve many different layers: protecting the network from outside attacks, securing devices, managing access to connected assets, maintaining content integrity, and preventing the disclosure of confidential information, just to name a few.

    If you think about it, most of these issues revolve around the need to protect an organization’s most valued asset: information. Businesses are spending billions of dollars on enterprise content management (ECM) software and investing heavily in both internal and external systems to help gain control over business-critical content. Compounding the problem is the continued drive toward mobility and the cloud. In today’s business environment, knowledge workers demand 24/7 access to information, which means that content must be constantly accessible both from inside and outside the corporate firewall.

    Straddling the fence between convenience and the protection of content is where many organizations find themselves today — looking for solutions that will help catapult them into the new world of digital data while mitigating the risks from additional exposure and outside threats.

    It is interesting to see how the office imaging market has evolved as it relates to the issue of IT security.  Today’s MFPs represent an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, the connected MFP is a potential security risk as an unmanaged connected device. On the other, the MFP could be leveraged as a front-line asset for managing content security and protecting access to information. Even so, most businesses do not think of the office MFP as a security risk, or for that matter as potential device for managing content security.  

    As a result, office equipment dealers and MPS providers should become experts at security solutions built around the MFP. These solutions not only represent an important opportunity to drive incremental revenue and profit, they can also help strengthen the bond between you and your customer. Once involved in helping your customers manage security you become a trusted advisor — likely the highest level you could reach as a recognized service provider.

    Make no mistake, there is a plethora of new security solutions coming to market for the MFP, some of which are standalone software applications and others that can be embedded in the device. These software applications address issues such as secure print and mobile print, device access management, digital rights management, secure document capture and routing, data protection, network protection, secure network access, and the list goes on. Many of these solutions are designed to integrate with third-party document management and ECM systems to provide further protection and to address governance and regulation compliance issues. 

    As service providers, we must focus on those issues customers value most. When you consider the amount of money that will likely be spent over the next decade in areas of content management and information security, it only makes sense to expand deeply into those segments. If you are actively searching for ways to increase customer spend and enhance the value of your customer relationships, look no further than developing significant expertise in content security.  


    Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He has more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.


  • 27-Apr-2015 3:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Amy Weiss

    I was watching a geeky sci-fi show not long ago in which a time traveler from around 70 years in the future made the bold statement, “There is no paper in the future. Or more accurately, there is no future in paper.”

    Deep stuff. But is it really true?

    Science fiction has been predicting the paperless society for, well, almost as long as there’s been science fiction. It seems one of the most futuristic things we can imagine is a world without paper.

    From fiction to fact, though, is another story. The transition to a paperless society has been ongoing and complex – and it’s far from complete. In fact, one thing I’ve noticed lately is a trend away from the word “paperless” and toward the phrase “paper-light.”

    Recently, between different trade shows I’ve attended and projects I’ve been working on, I’ve spent a lot of time chatting with IT end users — everyone from CIOs to technicians and administrative assistants. It’s been a fascinating collection of industries, comprising everything from government IT people to AP managers at small architectural firms, from CIOs responsible for large educational environments to those representing small nonprofits. But the goal these people either have, or have been charged with, is generally similar: Make things simpler, easier to find and more manageable.

    There is always one common concern as well: letting go of paper. Whenever I attend a presentation or webinar on going paperless, without fail, at least one audience member will address this concern: “What do I do with my important paperwork? Do I have to get rid of everything? What about security?” And the issue isn’t necessarily with transforming information captured on paper into digital format and entering it into an electronic content management system; it’s with letting go of the originals.

    This is where paper-light versus paperless comes into play. Google it and you'll find pages of references. One of the top results comes from Canon Business Process Service’s Melissa Carlis on Workflow Magazine (I promise I didn’t tweak the search). Carlis is director of records development at the firm and often writes about records management. She suggests that going paperless is not sustainable nor strategic, as it often leads to a “scan everything” approach that results in digital chaos. That term probably rings a bell with many of us.

    Other articles on the subject cite a number of studies (AIIM’s “Paper Wars” being a constant). These articles discuss the barriers to going paperless — one of which is the overwhelming prevalence of printers and MFPs in offices. While those MFPs generally come with a “scan” function, “print” is likely the button more commonly used.

    Over the years I’ve heard a number of companies discuss their attempts to move toward digital systems, usually involving adoption of enterprise content management programs. The process is rarely smooth, even in the most successful. In one case study, 7,000 documents were added to the company’s new ECM in the first year. Over three years, more than 132,000 were added. That included client and vendor invoices, purchase orders, contracts, HR documents, W-9 forms and more. I heard testimonials from numerous employees who raved about increased productivity, time savings and better efficiency.

    I wondered, though, was the transition truly paperless? Or are papers being stored away “just in case”?

    In some cases, it is truly a paperless process (at least, if you believe what they say). No paper is retained. But does that mean you won’t find a single piece of paper in these organizations? Not likely. After all, even the most militant adapters of electronic everything must bow to certain rules and regulations, depending on the industry, that regulate the retention of paper records. It just means that the most efficient means are being used to achieve the most efficient ends.

    There will always be those who are loathe to give up their hard copies. That’s OK. No one is going to pry the paper from their hands. But as content consumption continues to evolve, we’ll end up with a society that is much more comfortable with digital content and more willing to let go of the hard copy. It’s less a matter of not generating any prints, but more a matter of finding the balance between storing them and trashing everything — of the balance between digital chaos and a world overrun by paper.

    Amy Weiss is vice president and editor-in-chief of BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. Contact her at amy@bpomedia.com.

  • 30-Mar-2015 7:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) held its board meeting and inaugurated its new board of directors and executive committee at the recent ITEX show, March 10-12 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. To welcome its new officers and thank its members, the MPSA held a reception on the first day of the show at the nearby Bimini Boatyard. Hosted by MPSA corporate member Epson, incoming and outgoing officers mingled with MPSA members and guests, and the mix of members at that event was again indicative of the mix within the industry. Independent dealers joined hardware OEMs, software firms, consultants, VARs, supplies manufacturers and resellers, and more.


    New MPSA members present at the event included Digitek, a new Gold corporate member


    New Vice President Doug Bies of Canon (center) chats with members as the blue-shirt-clad members of event sponsor Epson enjoy food and networking.


    Board member Robert Palmer chats with members.


    Newly elected President Kevin DeYoung chats with Muratec’s  David Clearman, with Greg VanDeWalker of GreatAmerica in the background.

  • 30-Mar-2015 5:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Michell Filby, First Rock Consulting

    With MPS gaining momentum and growing in popularity, there is no shortage of suppliers and providers ready to jump on the bandwagon. Today, virtually every equipment manufacturer is selling some form of managed print service (MPS).

    Likewise, most traditional office equipment dealers and resellers have adopted MPS programs – even retail stores and computer dealers. Meanwhile, channel providers that previously had little desire to sell printers or multifunctional printer (MFP's) – IT VARs and managed service providers (MSPs) – are now getting into the game to expand their services portfolio and drive new revenue opportunities.

    Implemented and managed effectively, MPS can certainly help businesses reduce costs and gain control of their document environments. Nevertheless, among all the success stories are many examples of MPS engagements that fail to meet customer expectations. Why?

    Poorly structured contracts, tying implementation to improper data metrics, lack of due diligence during the planning phase, and failure to properly consider strategic goals at the onset of the program are all common explanations. Often, the underlying problem can be traced to a simple disconnect between customer objectives and the capabilities of the MPS provider.

    Unfortunately many customers around the world have become despondent or questionable to the real merits of MPS from a multitude of providers. These customers have found that the provider that sold them an MPS program did not match their own expectations, the expectations that were sold to them or how they benchmarked MPS against other managed services programs.

    Most of the customers saw their MPS nothing more than a traditional hardware sales and a break and fix service support, which was the same as they had been offered over the last 20 years with a somewhat different finance package.
    The sales process would be hyped up when the customer was approaching the buying cycle or when their existing contract was coming to close to expiry. Providers would role the MPS story out and the client would buy the expectation only to find out that nothing had really changed. The sales person would move on and the customer was left actively managing their own print environment and asking "is this it?"

    However, what we have found is that some customers have not prepared themselves well enough to understand where the scope of "service provision" starts and ends. A customer must be very clear where they need to build their internal capabilities to manage and direct the MPS provider. As we know not all MPS providers are the same. Therefore knowing where your own capabilities are is crucial in selecting the right MPS provider for your business.

    For example an MPS provider may offer to provide a call centre service provision as part of the larger MPS offer. They may communicate to the customer they will take first or second level help desk calls when a user has a problem with one of the devices on the network.

    However some things to note with this situation are:
    * This may not include devices that are not on the clients network i.e. USB devices
    * They may only support devices that they have sold to you under this contract and may not include specific models or devices under a pre-existing contract
    * They may only support specific models or brands i.e. they may not support legacy devices or brands from a competitor
    * Their level of support may differ due to the above exceptions

    Different providers see 1st level support and 2nd level support differently, so a clear understanding how you want your devices to be supported on your network is mandatory. Many MPS providers will not be in a position to identify if the device problem is actually a network or application problem as their access to your network may not be part of their existing scope.

    In many cases when a device does not print, it could be a network issue or the user's application that they are trying to print from. However as history shows in the past, if a device could not print, the business would just call the service company to fix the machine. Service engineers would attend the call only to find out that the device is in perfect working order and the fault really lied with either the end user or the network itself.

    When a provider doesn't have an integrated approach across the clients network all they can do is to work through a quick check list of potential problems with most arranging a service technician to visit on site anyway.

    Although today the vast majority if not all MPS providers will have specifically loaded software on the network so they can see and receive communication from their devices, so fault monitoring and service diagnostics can done. In most cases this process supports functions such as automated meter readings, parts replacement & stock management for the provider such as automated toner replenishment. However it also provides benefits to the client in that it allows for a more rapid service fix as service engineers can track service history so device uptimes can be increased.

    But to many customers they continue to debate how pro-active this managed service really is.

    This is one area where MPS falls down in the customers eyes. It is the belief or perception that providers are constantly managing your printing environment. That they are continually looking at ways to better optimise your existing fleet and in the perfect world finding a way to actually reduce you're physical reliance on the printed page.

    As a test ask yourself this question - when was the last time an MPS provider came to you within the first two years of your contract with a way to substantially reduce your device fleet or reduce your total print volume? If they did - was it more than 20, 30 or 50 percent?

    Today customers have to be ahead of the curve and build their own core skills and competences how they deploy a best of breed or best of class MPS provision. Identifying and knowing your capability gap is essential. To partner with an MPS provider means knowing what a good fit looks like and more importantly knowing what the wrong fit is.

    As they say "you can't outsource your accountability or responsibility" - so don't do this when it comes to partnering with a MPS provider.

    Mitchell Filby is the founder and Managing Director of First Rock Consulting, Australia’s leading and most recognized independent Business Consultancy, IT Advisory and Media organization. The business was specifically shaped and fashioned around supporting and servicing all the elements that interact and grow out of the office printing and document imaging industry in Australia.

  • 26-Feb-2015 11:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Robert Palmer

    In this industry, there is no shortage of announcements covering strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. The phrase “partner or perish” is a term that resurfaces on a regular basis and always seems to find its way into industry blogs, articles, and presentations at various conferences and events. There are so many partnership deals these days—particularly between OEMs and software/solutions providers—that it can be difficult to sift through the numerous cross-functional relationships.

    Last week, however, an important strategic alliance was announced that is likely to have major implications for the printing business. On February 17, MWA Intelligence Inc. announced that it has partnered with Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) to offer MWAi’s FORZA platform to dealers and other providers in the imaging channel. Built on the highly successful SAP Business One platform, MWAi’s FORZA offers dealers an alternative to current business systems and third party software programs by providing an open architecture ERP system designed specifically for the office equipment channel. 

    As a true ERP system, FORZA enables real time business decisions by capturing all critical information across various departments, including sales, customers, operations, finances, and service, making information instantly available and accessible. As a result, FORZA can help dealers replace disparate legacy business systems to provide improvements in data access and integration, while meeting the needs for system automation and big data analytics as the industry continues to evolve. Meanwhile, FORZA supports and in fact expands functionality in many of the core business components that are essential to office equipment dealers, such as meter management, CPC and MPS contracts, rentals and leasing, service dispatch, and the list goes on. 

    Why is this deal so important? As the office industry continues to evolve it is putting increased pressure on dealers and service providers to diversify and expand their businesses. Transformation is yet another buzzword that has become synonymous with the office imaging market. Yet, business model transformation does not come easy. There are explosive growth opportunities in adjacent businesses such as managed IT services, digital signage, 3D printing, and workflow solutions, but many dealers are often stymied by limitations with existing business system software, which could be decades old and not designed to support the integration of new business lines. 

    What FORZA with SAP Business One provides is a platform for growth. The office-imaging channel has enjoyed great success over the years by creating a high-value service model that attracts customers and turns them into long-term clients generating significant annuity business. The channel has demonstrated a unique ability to adapt to changing market conditions over the years, but the game is definitely changing. The idea that legacy systems designed specifically for the copier/MFP business could be customized to support multiple business models is no longer a safe bet. In reality, dealers need to optimize not just to support a new line of business, but instead to support any new line of business. 

    What is interesting and quite telling is that Konica Minolta has recognized this trend and is partnering with MWAi to help its dealer base make the transition. Of course, Konica Minolta is transforming its own business by moving to a services-led model, fueled by the acquisition of All Covered and its growing position in the IT services space. Konica Minolta understands the importance of shoring up its core printing business, while at the same time diving deeper into adjacent markets to drive growth. Now, it is partnering with MWAi to help its dealers achieve similar transformation. The partnership between KMBS and MWA Intelligence could well represent a watershed moment for the imaging channel.   

    Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.

    In this industry, there is no shortage of announcements covering strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. The phrase “partner or perish” is a term that resurfaces on a regular basis and always seems to find its way into industry blogs, articles, and presentations at various conferences and events. There are so many partnership deals these days—particularly between OEMs and software/solutions providers—that it can be difficult to sift through the numerous cross-functional relationships.

    Last week, however, an important strategic alliance was announced that is likely to have major implications for the printing business. On February 17, MWA Intelligence Inc. announced that it has partnered with Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) to offer MWAi’s FORZA platform to dealers and other providers in the imaging channel. Built on the highly successful SAP Business One platform, MWAi’s FORZA offers dealers an alternative to current business systems and third party software programs by providing an open architecture ERP system designed specifically for the office equipment channel.

    As a true ERP system, FORZA enables real time business decisions by capturing all critical information across various departments, including sales, customers, operations, finances, and service, making information instantly available and accessible. As a result, FORZA can help dealers replace disparate legacy business systems to provide improvements in data access and integration, while meeting the needs for system automation and big data analytics as the industry continues to evolve. Meanwhile, FORZA supports and in fact expands functionality in many of the core business components that are essential to office equipment dealers, such as meter management, CPC and MPS contracts, rentals and leasing, service dispatch, and the list goes on.

    Why is this deal so important? As the office industry continues to evolve it is putting increased pressure on dealers and service providers to diversify and expand their businesses. Transformation is yet another buzzword that has become synonymous with the office imaging market. Yet, business model transformation does not come easy. There are explosive growth opportunities in adjacent businesses such as managed IT services, digital signage, 3D printing, and workflow solutions, but many dealers are often stymied by limitations with existing business system software, which could be decades old and not designed to support the integration of new business lines.

    What FORZA with SAP Business One provides is a platform for growth. The office-imaging channel has enjoyed great success over the years by creating a high-value service model that attracts customers and turns them into long-term clients generating significant annuity business. The channel has demonstrated a unique ability to adapt to changing market conditions over the years, but the game is definitely changing. The idea that legacy systems designed specifically for the copier/MFP business could be customized to support multiple business models is no longer a safe bet. In reality, dealers need to optimize not just to support a new line of business, but instead to support any new line of business.

    What is interesting and quite telling is that Konica Minolta has recognized this trend and is partnering with MWAi to help its dealer base make the transition. Of course, Konica Minolta is transforming its own business by moving to a services-led model, fueled by the acquisition of All Covered and its growing position in the IT services space. Konica Minolta understands the importance of shoring up its core printing business, while at the same time diving deeper into adjacent markets to drive growth. Now, it is partnering with MWAi to help its dealers achieve similar transformation. The partnership between KMBS and MWA Intelligence could well represent a watershed moment for the imaging channel.   

    In this industry, there is no shortage of announcements covering strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. The phrase “partner or perish” is a term that resurfaces on a regular basis and always seems to find its way into industry blogs, articles, and presentations at various conferences and events. There are so many partnership deals these days—particularly between OEMs and software/solutions providers—that it can be difficult to sift through the numerous cross-functional relationships.

    Last week, however, an important strategic alliance was announced that is likely to have major implications for the printing business. On February 17, MWA Intelligence Inc. announced that it has partnered with Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) to offer MWAi’s FORZA platform to dealers and other providers in the imaging channel. Built on the highly successful SAP Business One platform, MWAi’s FORZA offers dealers an alternative to current business systems and third party software programs by providing an open architecture ERP system designed specifically for the office equipment channel.

    As a true ERP system, FORZA enables real time business decisions by capturing all critical information across various departments, including sales, customers, operations, finances, and service, making information instantly available and accessible. As a result, FORZA can help dealers replace disparate legacy business systems to provide improvements in data access and integration, while meeting the needs for system automation and big data analytics as the industry continues to evolve. Meanwhile, FORZA supports and in fact expands functionality in many of the core business components that are essential to office equipment dealers, such as meter management, CPC and MPS contracts, rentals and leasing, service dispatch, and the list goes on.

    Why is this deal so important? As the office industry continues to evolve it is putting increased pressure on dealers and service providers to diversify and expand their businesses. Transformation is yet another buzzword that has become synonymous with the office imaging market. Yet, business model transformation does not come easy. There are explosive growth opportunities in adjacent businesses such as managed IT services, digital signage, 3D printing, and workflow solutions, but many dealers are often stymied by limitations with existing business system software, which could be decades old and not designed to support the integration of new business lines.

    What FORZA with SAP Business One provides is a platform for growth. The office-imaging channel has enjoyed great success over the years by creating a high-value service model that attracts customers and turns them into long-term clients generating significant annuity business. The channel has demonstrated a unique ability to adapt to changing market conditions over the years, but the game is definitely changing. The idea that legacy systems designed specifically for the copier/MFP business could be customized to support multiple business models is no longer a safe bet. In reality, dealers need to optimize not just to support a new line of business, but instead to support any new line of business.

    What is interesting and quite telling is that Konica Minolta has recognized this trend and is partnering with MWAi to help its dealer base make the transition. Of course, Konica Minolta is transforming its own business by moving to a services-led model, fueled by the acquisition of All Covered and its growing position in the IT services space. Konica Minolta understands the importance of shoring up its core printing business, while at the same time diving deeper into adjacent markets to drive growth. Now, it is partnering with MWAi to help its dealers achieve similar transformation. The partnership between KMBS and MWA Intelligence could well represent a watershed moment for the imaging channel.   

    Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.
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