The managed print services (MPS) sector presents an opportunity for resellers as businesses demand improved service quality from print partners.
According to Quocirca's Managed Print Services Landscape report, many organisations have a continued reliance on printing, with 48 per cent indicating that paper is important to their daily business.
Those same businesses are demanding more reliability and availability from their print resources, with improved service quality the top reason for MPS adoption, cited by 42 per cent of respondents; ahead of cost reduction, cited by 33 per cent.
Quocirca's report also found that 72 per cent of organisations view MPS as an important driver for digital transformation, with 89 per cent expecting it to be important within the next two years.
"This is the ninth year of this report and at the first report the channel was really struggling to understand what MPS was and it was a case of 'come and buy a printer from us' and we will make the money from consumables," said Clive Longbottom, founder of analyst Quocirca.
"The channel has moved to now providing something which is based around finding out what customers need and providing that, often on a subscription basis which might involve monthly or yearly fees."
Longbottom said that as IT hardware sales stall, the channel needs to examine whether or not the model it uses around MPS is still valid.
"For high-end clients, the channel will have a high-touch model with account managers and there is not a great deal that can change there," he said.
"However, the channel can now also offer cloud-based services which can do all the pre-work of looking at what an organisation has in place, being able to see what the print workloads are, and that can provide a low-touch offering for clients too."
Longbottom said that beyond optimising an environment, resellers can also offer to cover print security and other value-add services, such as demonstrating 'pull printing' where print jobs are held on a server until they are released by a user.
Mark Smyth, operations director at managed print provider Vision, told CRN the firm has enjoyed continued MPS sector growth, with wins across its three sales channels of medium enterprise, corporate and public sector.
"Resellers in MPS need a very good-value proposition and need to build the client relationship. You need a good story to sell, alongside good case studies and testimonies to back it up," added Smyth.
However, James Kight, chief executive of Printerland, told CRN that MPS is "not the holy grail" for resellers.
"MPS has its place and is a growing market, but it is not enticing enough for end users as it can be a large commitment," he said.
"It is around five per cent of our business and we will continue to grow MPS, but it is still a hard sell.
"We are growing and will do around £45m in turnover this year, but the growth is mainly coming from non-managed print rather than MPS."
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