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Managed Print Services - What are your objectives?

6 Dec, 2007 By: Gordon Hawkins imageSource

Managed Print Services - What are your objectives?

If you are looking at a Managed Print Services (MPS) strategy for your
company, I hope you have considered your reasons for entering this rapidly
growing market space! I witness many dealers taking programs to market, under a
variety of creative titles, that are little more than marketing strategies to
sell more hardware or laser printer cartridges.

There is nothing wrong with this, but you may experience less than expected
results if only competing with others who have clearly defined and enhanced
service offerings and value propositions. As exposure to MPS grows, we can
assume those clients who are the most likely and desirable prospects will be
approached by multiple dealers or service providers.

If you are developing a MPS strategy today, will it be competitive and
successful tomorrow? Will your prospects be motivated to engage with you if your
competitor has a significantly greater value proposition? Will your strategy
deliver more hardware or supply sales without the other benefits that clients
will be seeking?

Decisive MPS Development

MPS is in a similar position to where Document Management or ECM was a
number of years ago. It is currently defined by vendors with focused products,
but soon will be defined by service providers with the insight and skills to
combine the knowledge and tools to deliver robust service offerings, or
developers who combine tools into comprehensive management processes as occurred
with ECM. As you develop your MPS, how much will you focus on management, the
missing component within most corporate print environments? What will your
emphasis be on improving clients’ workflow and current asset utilization versus
selling them something new today? Are you going to capture all or most of their
document output expenditure or just a little more than you have now?

Successful development and implementation of a robust MPS strategy will
provide your company exciting and profitable growth. Like any successful
enterprise, it begins with informed decisions and good planning. The first step
is to develop an understanding of what MPS is and what is has to offer both you
and your clients. What are the professional services, hardware and aftermarket
components of MPS, and what opportunities exist within each of them? What does
it take to participate?

You may decide to engage in all or part of these services either now or at a
later time. In either case, plan for success! What will be your go-to-market
strategy? If you expect MPS to be a natural progression from hardware or supply
sales, remember that without an effective sales and marketing strategy you may
be disappointed in your results! A compelling value proposition combined with
sales compensation designed to deliver the desired results will go a long way to
achieving real success.

Tools of the Trade

A key component of MPS is an effective document assessment, and there are as
many ways to conduct them as there are clients. Are your document assessment
methods flexible enough to meet the various objectives of your clients? What
tools do you need to acquire and what processes do you need to put in place to
make sure that they are?

Once you have decided the components within your MPS, they will need to be
designed and implemented. Each of them will require marketing strategies and a
value proposition, of which much should be included in your sales collaterals.
You will, in Managed Print Services, need to identify the resources, tools and
processes necessary for implementation. Some, especially those involving
management processes, may require value-laden and differentiated deliverables
for your client.

Before you throw up your hands and declare this is just too much work, let’s
address some reality. Implementation can be phased over time and built on
successes; you do not need to do everything at once. My point behind this
article is that you understand the larger picture so you can plan accordingly.
There are many good resources you can draw on to meet your objectives. Hardware,
supply and software vendors share knowledge, tools, and have materials you can
adopt; keep in mind they have their own agendas, so make sure they meet yours.

Leasing companies often provide tools to assist you with this new market
space. Trade organizations and shows may provide educational opportunities and
content experts for you to discuss your strategies and issues. ITEX 2008 will
have a complete education track on this topic. Independent consultants can
assist you from strategic planning through implementation. The right
relationship here can pay off in shortened time frames and with quicker time to 
profitability. Keep in mind those individuals and companies who can partner with
you to build critical mass  before investing yourself – better than losing an
account to a local competitor!

Does the potential in MPS justify all of this? The average dealer today
captures 30% to 40% of their clients’ expenditures for print output. If MPS
enables an increase in client revenues by 200% - 250%, what would it mean to
your business?

-Gordon Hawkins, Business Communications Group, can be reached for more
info at ghawkins@buscomgroup.com.

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