Sarah Henderson, Director, MPS Solutions, Clover Imaging Group
Cloud Computing for the Printing Industry
Cloud computing has enabled many software tools to be enhanced within the print industry for the purpose of remote monitoring of print devices and data collection for the overall printer fleet. These software tools provide necessary data for fleet analysis and printer performance.
MPS goes beyond just collecting data from passive print devices, which has led to the emergence of Cloud based solutions that can drill down to the user level in order to evaluate workflow and reduce costs by routing and rules based printing. These cloud based software solutions enable providers and clients to enhance the user experience and really understand the user’s behavior related to print. The MPS cloud based software’s initially allowed for proactive device supply fulfillment, servicing alerts and true visibility to realize ROI in equipment. With enhanced software packages we better understand the user’s print behavior to drive additional value.
Does MPS really offer Cost Saving?
Managed Print Services can help clients experience real cost savings depending on their current printer fleet and related business processes. Cost savings with MPS can be easily compared via reduced waste in toner, fleet optimization, improved maintenance and proper utilization of print devices, etc. Other cost savings with MPS implementations is also related to reduced employee involvement in supply ordering, tracking and stocking, IT time related to print issues via remote triage and onsite repair. While leading research analysts estimate organizations spend approximately 6 percent of annual budgets on print, each organization’s projected cost savings will be specific to them.
It is important for businesses considering MPS to take the time for a proper assessment of their current spend vs. the proposed cost for the MPS program. Not all assessments are equal but should include data capture of current print environment, documentation of expenses and proposed spend. Client should understand what is included in the MPS proposal if they are comparing multiple proposals. Not all implementations may be the same as far as service levels, fulfillment models, and equipment replacements or upgrades. Contract terms and conditions should also be compared and understood prior to executing and MPS agreement.
The other important aspect to realized cost savings is understanding the users behavior as it related to print. How are the print devices being utilized, what types of print jobs do users need and what is the desired workflow. This qualitative analysis can result in increased employee satisfaction and other business process improvements.
Managed Print Services can help clients experience real cost savings depending on their current printer fleet and related business processes
Evaluate the Flexibility to add new Services MPS
Managed Print Services is designed to be a consultative and collaborative business model. It should be simple to add, remove or adjust print device deployment based upon a client’s business needs. Many providers enhance this with workflow analysis, implementation of document management software and beyond. IT leaders should seek out an MPS partner that can provide the range or equipment and services you may need; but also a collaborative business partner to understand the users behavior and related print needs.
Well, I am not a CIO first off… but I have been working in the field with MPS program design and implementation for almost ten years and have worked with many IT leaders. My advice to a CIO is to keep an open mind on software and MPS as a business model. We still find IT departments that are resistant to installation of data collection software for the purpose of print fleet analysis and MPS proposal and pricing development. This software is secure and enables potential partners to provide the most accurate analysis and pricing quotes for you.
Second, CIOs should not assume all MPS programs are created equally. Depending on the provider and who they partner with, you could be looking at a proposal for a glorified Cost Per Page bill for your copier fleet that is marketed as “MPS”, a proposal for proactive laser printer management, automated supply fulfillment, to document workflow and beyond. Depending on what your goals are as an organization are, all of these implementations and approached to MPS are valid and beneficial. If you are not sure, take time to compare and “shop around” to verify goals align with your provider.
Innovative Technology and Processes in MPS
As an MPS infrastructure partner, we are leading the industry in further automation of toner and print supplies fulfillment and offering enhanced software packages that examine user print behavior. These automation tools greatly reduce, and work to eliminate the need of clients to call a provider for required imaging supplies. Instead they are automatically fulfilled based on the individual print device supply levels. We have also enhanced packaging to better direct supplies to the needed device within a client’s location. Not only does this reduce staff involvement with supply orders, but also reduces the amount of toner waste within an MPS deployment.
Another innovation to consider is how MPS programs help organizations better manage document workflow and end user behaviors. Printers are passive devices, but user behavior is what really can drive overall cost for an organization. MPS can also help organizations meet sustainability goals. We offer comprehensive recycling and have partnered with Print Releaf to provide reforestation and tree planting to offset office paper consumption. This innovative solution brings a turnkey and auditing process to MPS programs and businesses looking to enhance their sustainability programs and certifications.
Does the MPS Provide Define Managed Print as just Printers?
There is a lot of discussion about the definition of MPS and many providers refer to their programs as MDS or Managed Document Solutions. Regardless of the acronym, MPS is more than just print devices. Many providers evaluate and look at the business processes and end user behaviors related to print, copy, can, fax output along with document management. Some provider’s individual MPS programs may only include printers under contract, while others may bundle traditional copier or MFP devices. CIOs should weigh each proposal based on your organizations goals related to “print” regardless of the type of device when considering MPS providers.