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Evolving Your MPS Strategy to Become Entrenched in Customer Accounts

31 May, 2011 By: Bill DeStefanis, Nuance Communications

Evolving Your MPS Strategy to Become Entrenched in Customer Accounts

Managed Print Services (MPS) 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.

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 5 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 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-Ranging 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 their
customers in geographically dispersed MPS engagements.

Article by Bill DeStefanis, Senior Mgr, MFP Product Management, Nuance Document

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