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Entrench Your MPS Strategy in Customer Accounts

7 Jun, 2011 By: Bill DeStefanis, Nuance Communications imageSource

Entrench Your MPS Strategy in Customer Accounts

Managed Print Services provide a sizable business opportunity for the office equipment channel. According to market research firm Gartner Inc., the worldwide MPS market will grow from $5.8 billion in 2009 to more than $10 billion by 2013.

A March 2011 survey of office imaging professionals, including dealers, resellers and distributors, by GE Capital’s office imaging business found that more than half of respondents saw “the most important advantage of MPS is to create longer-lasting relationships with customers.”

But these tighter customer bonds will not come to MPS solution providers automatically. The primary value proposition of MPS is delivering continuous productivity improvements – with initial attention on costs.

Key Focus
Typical MPS engagements start by focusing on improving document output efficiencies and reducing print costs – with the next phase seeing solution providers wrestle with how to extend their client services. These providers will have done the “hard work” on the hardware infrastructure but can be exposed to being swapped out by a competitor offering a lower price.

To become entrenched in customer accounts, solution providers need to expand their MPS portfolios to include non-print document services. They should evolve their MPS strategies to include document capture and offer solutions that address business-critical document workflows involving both paper and digital documents. By doing so, MPS providers will not only deliver greater reductions in document processing costs but also impact business process optimization.

Here are five areas office equipment dealers should examine when evaluating document scanning software to ensure it is MPS-ready:

1) Drive Document Automation from Any Device
Today’s economic reality causes customers to press to increase the value from existing multifunction printers (MFPs) rather than buying new devices. These conditions mean MPS solutions often need to support MFPs from multiple brands. Document scanning software needs to do the same and deliver a common “look and feel” experience for users at any device - including MFP, desktop and mobile - and span ad hoc to complex workflows. By taking this approach, dealers can help customers lower the user learning curve and increase scanning utilization rates which can drive business process optimization.

2) Connect Capture to Existing Business Applications and Workflows
Customer scanning requirements have evolved well beyond simple scan to email and capturing documents for centralized repositories. And a dealer’s portfolio needs to keep pace with this change.  MPS solutions need to connect to content management, accounting, engineering and other applications, and include advanced document processing capabilities such as forms processing, document conversion, and free-form recognition. This approach positions MFPs at the front-end of document workflows that are an integral part of the business process and increases the value of the channel-delivered solution.

3) Tools to Create Value-Added Services
Customized MPS solutions provide a way for dealers to stand out competitively and deliver higher margin services. Document scanning and workflow software needs to include software developer kits (SDKs) so dealers can easily build repeatable document automation solutions. These SDKs can support creating customized interfaces at the MFP that connect to document processing and back-end business applications. It is essential that document scanning SDKs shield developers from the complexities of needing to modify applications to various MFP scanning platforms.

4) Ensure Security and Drive Efficiencies
Document capture software must support single sign-on authentication at the scanning device and produce granular information – such as scanning time, location and user, and where the scanned document was sent – that can be provided to MPS administrative systems for auditing and compliance purposes. These capabilities will help your customers measure workflows and identify areas for improvement. The data can also become part of internal charge-back systems to measure document workflow costs.

5) Provide Wide-Range Product Delivery and Support
The MPS business model calls for device and process optimization across a customer’s organization from corporate headquarters to field offices. Document scanning software needs to support this model fully so users share a common experience, regardless of location. Also, software vendors must provide field and product support to meet the requirements of MPS solution providers and all their customers in geographically dispersed MPS engagements.

Bill DeStefanis is Senior Manager of MFP Product Management at Nuance Document Imaging. For more information visit www.nuance.com.  The worldwide MPS market will grow from $5.8 billion in 2009 to $10+ billion by 2013.

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