Don't Forget The ‘Managed' Portion Of Managed Print Services
By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
During CompTIA Breakaway, I had the chance to meet and talk with the new director of managed print services (MPS) at OKI Data, Tim Brien. Tim and I reflected on the traction that MPS gained in 2010, and then talked about what he expects to drive additional growth to come in upcoming months.
"We've seen a major upswing in the acceptance of MPS, and I really think the channel is getting more and more comfortable with the entire idea of managed print," says Brien. That said, he adds that he expects widespread deployment of the technology to take another good year. Not surprisingly, MSPs are among the early adopters, adding managed print to their managed services offerings quickly. "This is really an extension of services they already offer, it was a natural fit for those MSPs," says Brien, who isn't surprised by that quick adoption rate.
That said, he admitted that many traditional VARs and printer dealers have been a bit slower to add managed print, and then sometimes struggle with the "managed" portion. To help with that hurdle, OKI had developed a managed print services offering that helps its partners tackle those parts of managed services that seem to be intimidating. "Our program is end-to-end, we offer everything from the software to the supplies, service to leasing — it is all bundled and provides a total solution," says Brien. From there, partners can take what they need in terms of what best fits their business model.
The bundled offering helps turn MPS from a mishandled printer monitoring solution to a full-fledged managed program, which really solidifies the relationship VARs and dealers have with the customers. With supplies, service, and deployment out of the way, the VAR or dealer can take the time to assess its customer's environment, really digging deep into the use of existing equipment, the need for refreshes, and ways to optimize the entire printer fleet. Then the partner can recommend changes based on best practices (also supplied by OKI). "We've taken the pain out of MPS by creating this solution, because we really feel it is important for our partners to make this change," says Brien.