Managed print services providers could be the key to unlocking digital transformation in the SMB market, according to analyst Quocirca.
The analyst conducted research among SMBs throughout the USA and Europe, and found that 81 per cent of those surveyed believe digitising paper-based processes will be important for driving their organisation's digital growth by 2025.
It also found that 47 per cent of SMBs polled are planning to invest in digital workflow solutions and more than half are expecting to increase their use of collaboration tools in the same time period.
Louella Fernandes, Quocirca's research director, said that this represents a significant opportunity for MPS providers to diversify the products, services and consultancy they offer to customers.
"While budget and resource constraints have previously held SMBs back from digital transformation, the need to improve efficiency and productivity is now driving them to explore deploying increasingly affordable ‘as-a-service' digital workflow technologies to achieve their goals," she explained.
"The appetite for digitisation is there, indicating strong market potential for companies that can offer advice and services to support SMBs in their efforts."
Quocirca also reported that SMBs are anticipating a "paper-lite" future and want to control print-related costs, with more than half of respondents indicating that reducing hardware and consumables costs are major challenges for their business.
The study indicated that respondents increasingly prefer digital workflows, with 63 per cent of SMBs polled stating that all paper documents should be scanned and 60 per cent saying digital content is more secure than printed content is.
The analyst recommends MPS providers reap the benefits of this move to digital transformation by offering more than just a "basic" service.
MPS providers should be showing a clear proposition around integrated paper and digital workflow services that improves customers' productivity goals, according to the analyst.
Quocirca also reported a change in purchasing habits by 2025, with 55 per cent of respondents favouring print-as-a-service rather than owning devices in the future.
"Momentum is growing behind digital transformation in the SMB space and many have identified document workflows as a great place to start to gain quick wins in efficiency and productivity," said Fernandes.
"SMBs are already comfortable with the concept of print-as-a-service, with the majority using some form of basic managed service.
"With print volumes declining, MPS providers who want to secure their future profitability should look at how they can broaden their services to include digital workflow services that can help customers along the road to digital transformation."
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