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MPSA: What’s In It For You?

31 May, 2012 By: Carro Ford Weston, MPSA

When the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) began in 2009, no one had any idea what kind of industry this would become. So far, it has proven to be a business model with something for everyone. For dealers and the channel, it represents fresh opportunity and service creativity. For OEMs and vendors, it’s a rich, new market for existing products. For the end user enterprise, it’s perhaps the most rewarding of all. A real means to reduce costs and increase corporate efficiency and a smarter way to use what they already have.

The latest studies paint a market forecast of $68B by 2014. Despite the 2008 economic gloom and slow recovery in North America and Western Europe, the MPS market’s 24 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) continues.

Growth Driven by Gloom
Ironically, the tough economic climate has been one of the main drivers behind this impressive MPS growth. Companies have been forced into more tangible cost control, while simultaneously increasing productivity and efficiency. MPS closes this value gap.

Other growth factors include greater market awareness due to clearer messaging and more programs offered by OEM vendors, plus the channel's rising interest in providing MPS to small and medium-sized businesses. And the MPSA itself has done its share to grow the industry for all players.

The Vision Thing
The association was launched at the first annual Managed Print Services Conference in San Antonio, TX. Over 110 people joined the kickoff meeting, with attendees representing the end user community, software and service vendors, hardware manufacturers, and resellers and dealers. Today, these groups still make up the membership. Active committees of volunteers bring energy and results to association projects.

"I was excited to help with the initial formation of this association,” said MPSA Board Member Justin West of Nationwide Insurance. “Today it has become a great venue for collaboration between all stakeholders in the MPS industry. Ultimately, end users benefit too, through consistent, high-value MPS solutions."

The vision of the MPSA founders was an independent worldwide organization that removed barriers to profitable growth for all businesses within this sector. As an example of eliminating communication obstacles, MPSA was one of the first associations to use social networking site LinkedIn as its primary communication platform, quickly reaching 1,000 LinkedIn group members in just a few months. Today, over 4,000 participants use the Managed Print Services LinkedIn Group as a forum to share industry insights, job postings, discussions, and news related to Managed Print Services.

Strong Teams of Volunteers
The MPSA board is based upon 100 percent volunteer work, which means every dollar members spend goes towards the development of the MPSA. The membership has a vote on many of the initiatives and projects that is undertaken by the MPSA.

“By being a member of the association, we feel we have a voice in the industry, and we can benefit from education, standards, and other MPSA activities,” said a respected CEO of a leading MPS research firm.

Defining a New Business Model
One of the association’s first accomplishments was to create standards and a definition for this fledging industry. This new market (worth over $25 billion globally) needed a common definition to move forward in a cohesive way.

The MPSA assigned Board members Matt McLeish and Joe Barganier to come up with a short, descriptive definition that embraced the full MPS spectrum. The ultimate definition came out of four months of research, polls and discussions with multiple MPS organizations. The final recommendation received the 100 percent board endorsement needed for the definition to be adopted.

According to the MPSA, the definition that ultimately passed all those tests is: "Managed print services is the active management and optimization of document output devices and related business processes."
Having a definition, standards and best practices in place helps improve the experience of MPS users, and gives providers a stronger focus for their services and strategies.

Resources for Members
Today there are over 30 corporate members and 1,000 individual members. “We joined to learn best practices for our MPS program and to access fellow MPS professionals, programs and publications. So far, it has created clarity that we are on the right path,” said Carl Fernyak, CEO, MTBT. “MPSA is a valuable source of information for anyone needing to learn more about MPS.”

Like many other members, Fernyak has attended industry conferences and reviewed articles on the MPSA website. The wide range of membership benefits includes:

• MPSA web portal: this gives the MPS industry a neutral, centralized information source, and a hub where providers can collaborate and communicate to increase their knowledge and expertise.
• Discussion Forum: Designed to help communications and collaboration for anyone doing business within the MPS Industry.
• Annual Awards: Members of the MPS community can nominate companies with significant accomplishments in an MPS environment. These will be profiled monthly on the site, and annual awards are given to the most significant entries across five categories.
• Events Calendar: All areas of the MPS community can add to event listings.
• MPS Best Practices & Standards: this is a central focus of the MPSA.
• Media: Includes MPSA newsletters, videos, information productions, webinars & networking.

What’s in It for the Channel
Today, companies join MPSA to be at the forefront of MPS trends, discussions and ideas, and the MPSA has become the meeting place for all kinds of MPS participants. The association helps dealers educate employees and build partnerships, and makes it easier to hear and share ideas about MPS.

By providing tools and information for MPS buyers, MPSA also helps channel providers spend less time educating their clients on what MPS is. As a result, they can focus more on creating and delivering good MPS solutions for customers.

Where MPSA Is Headed
MPSA continues to increase its relevance across all aspects of the channel through participation in industry events like ITEX, Recharger and the MPS Conferences. Collaboration with other industry groups such as CompTIA and BTA strengthen ties and expand the association’s ability to help sales organizations improve their MPS initiatives.  Vendors, dealers and enterprises can find more information about the MPSA and what’s in it for them at www.yourMPSA.org.

MPS At A Glance Info
The Emergence of Managed Print Services 
Over the past 10 years, traditional copier and printer industries have converged, especially with the introduction of multifunction peripherals (MFPs). With the blending of these two hardware-focused industry segments, their products became commoditized. At the same time, users needed more help managing their growing fleets of output devices, so a managed services approach to output emerged.

Managed print services (MPS) grew as a business model based on serving end users’ output needs, not promoting a specific hardware manufacturer. The true MPS provider is a new breed: vendor-agnostic and customer-focused. They are paid for their consulting value, in addition to the tangible products that fulfill the consultation.  

The MPS market has become highly competitive. Global coverage and the ability to move beyond just infrastructure management to business process improvement and enhancement differentiate the competitors. As the industry moves into the next phase of development, a firm’s ability to efficiently and effectively deliver advanced solutions based on professional services will drive advantage in the MPS market.

About the Author: Carro Ford Weston, MPSA

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