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How does MPS align with your IT business strategy?

28 Jul, 2011 By: Justin West, Managed Print Services Association

How does MPS align with your IT business strategy?

More and more it seems we can't find needed information quickly enough. Many of our document processes seem inefficient and costly. Ask yourself, “Do these document technologies seem outdated? Is managing them out of control?”

The big question is, are you and your customers’ yet focused on enabling technology and the newer processes that effectively process your / their business content?  Honestly, managed print services (MPS) may be the best start on the path to optimal Enterprise Content Management and Business Process Management.

A CIO Technology Priorities Survey cites (Jan. 2010):

  • 46% of CIOs are actively researching or piloting business process management (BPM)

  • 38% are actively researching or piloting document/content management (ECM)

There is an increasing focus on how companies manage their documents, their content, and ultimately, tie everything into optimized business processes. Photizo’s Customer Adoption model has shown that over time, MPS helps enable a natural adaptation of your document environment. MPS starts with a focus on optimizing the print output and hardware environment and then enables the business to better manage their content.

Let me share my company's story on MPS to provide some information on the "simple" steps to a successful MPS program.

What is the business problem?
Non-managed print environments have many common symptoms, learn by example. 

5 Symptoms:

  1. Too much equipment for the volume of pages causes low ROI. A common device to user ratio is 5 or less employees per device.

  2. Old equipment is expensive; it has higher costs for supplies and maintenance & is extremely expensive when it breaks. Older devices were designed to print fewer pages, support fewer users & do not have the most available features.

  3. Too many models & vendors make it extremely difficult & time consuming to support the environment and complicate ordering supplies & service.

  4. You have no idea on how many devices or how many pages are printed by each employee, or what is being printed.

  5. Are environmentally wasteful. Many print jobs get printed and never picked up; many are printed, scanned & thrown away; and older devices waste electricity (energy).

What will be the catalyst for your MPS Strategy?

Using my employer’s company as an example circa 2006- a. well-known Fortune 100 insurance company; 39,000 employees; $22 billion revenue, our challenges included:

  • No formal print policy and no governance over purchasing/repairs or replacement

  • All print costs were spread among fragmented department disbursement codes

  • 400 new network printers annually

  • $19 million dollars annually on "hard costs" (supplies, paper, equipment)

  • Average age of devices: 3.5 years old; some as old as 10 years

  • 20,000 devices (190 different models) 2 associates for every printer

The catalyst for our MPS strategy began threefold by addressing a convergence of 1,000 copier leases expiring, real estate efforts to renovate buildings and an emerging demand from customers for the latest in technology advancements.

First, here are some "simple" steps from what I called the Managed Print Services methodology (MPSm). Keep in mind, like any "simple" IT solution, the success doesn't come with the idea, it comes with the delivery.

MPSm disciplines:

  • Gather Data

  • Align Sponsorship

  • Project management/planning

  • Develop Policies & Governance

  • Constant Change management

Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness
Every company's journey in MPS will be different, but the most common path is briefly explained below in order to give an overview of what lies ahead. 

Gathering Data:
It's important to identify these questions: Who pays for print? Who cares about these costs? How will you reduce their expenses?

At my company, we initially had no credible idea of just how many printers we had in the environment or how much they were costing us. When we deployed HP Web JetAdmin we started to track network print. We then leveraged purchasing data by looking at paper, toner, service contracts, and how many printers we were buying. This is critical information that needs to be monitored and updated to be effective long term. Consider these steps:

Align Sponsorship:
Aligning sponsorship (s) needs to be done at the highest possible level. In my case, we got executive buy in from our CIO council.

Actionable Plan:
You can't optimize your print environment overnight; it's going to take time. We defined the scope as “all enterprise locations over 50 associates” and kept local printers OUT OF SCOPE.

Managed print is often about trade-offs. Although local printers are expensive we knew that the change aspects of removing them would be a significant risk. By optimizing the other devices first, we could have a well-managed, highly productive and proven alternative to local devices.

Policies and Governance:
Document and communicate policies and ensure strong governance. We piloted MPS in our executive areas first, which provided some amount of risk but returned significant reward. We now had executives that could share the success of MPS and lend their support whenever we needed to enforce our policies. 

Manage The Change:
Focus on simplicity to encourage support. We focused our communications and conversations on how MPS would simplify the way our employees interacted with devices.

Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness:
One of the key elements is providing an enhanced and proactive servicing plan to manage the devices. Our company’s devices are constantly monitored and we have on-site staff to respond and resolve incidents as quickly as possible. We also ensure that toner is replaced proactively. Ongoing metrics help prevent misuse, provide users’ education on print expenses, and ensure the print environment continues to be optimized. Notably, the most common mistake in managing change is to underestimate the power of people to impact success.

Bottom line? Three years after we started an efficient MPS program we have 10,000 fewer devices in the environment, supporting over 3,000 networked devices, and a 10:1 user: device ratio. We have cost-avoided over $20 million and continue to see improved behavior around informed printing. Talk about value. Streamlining a business, being more cost effective and user efficient, this is the true bottom line strategy or goal for your business and your customers.

Justin West is Vice President of the Managed Print Services Association and IT Productivity Engineer for Nationwide Insurance doing business consulting in the document-management and office-technology space.

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