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MPS and the “Green Office”

30 Jul, 2010 By: Randy Dazo & Omri Duek, InfoTrends imageSource

MPS and the “Green Office”

The topic of environmental sustainability and “going green” has been top-of-mind in media coverage and industry analysis lately. Office equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Xerox have introduced solid ink supplies to reduce waste and hazardous chemicals; Ricoh promotes its cradle-to-grave product design strategy; and HP regularly touts its goal of 1 billion kilowatt-hours saved by 2011. In fact, virtually all of the manufacturers from Océ to Kyocera Mita (and its “Ecosys” line) have some variant of green programming, positioning, and messaging.

Increasingly, this message includes the benefits of Managed Print Services (MPS) programs as well. The messaging seems to be focused on a few specific tenets:

·         MPS assessments provide the opportunity to establish baseline environmental metrics for energy usage, carbon footprint, and paper usage/waste.

·         MPS fleet optimization provides the opportunity to replace an aging fleet with more energy-efficient devices.

·         MPS technologies for secure pull-printing and print-routing provide the opportunity to use lowest-cost devices and reduce unnecessary output.

·         MPS technologies for toner reduction, duplex, and 2/3/4-up printing reduce overall paper and toner use.

·         MPS workflow improvement provides the opportunity to leverage electronic document solutions that include scanning, capture, workflow, and document management (DM) technologies.

·         Additional MPS environmental services include recycling and hazardous material treatment, on-going green metric monitoring, and related improvement services.

This document consolidates and updates information regarding environment-sustainability initiatives and the opportunity for MPS providers. It qualifies existing green trends and metrics, provides a snapshot of related offerings in the MPS space, and offers recommendations for vendors wishing to take advantage of related profits.

Key Highlights

·         Although “going green” strongly resonates with decision-makers across vertical industries, significant cost-savings are the ultimate driver for this investment.

·         Paper reduction represents the best metric for measuring and improving environmental sustainability today, but the more granular monitoring of device energy usage may drive more metrics of this type.

·         Most vendors have environmental-sustainability policies and programs today, but few incorporate MPS messaging and offerings.

·         Although the “green MPS” market may be insubstantial today, on-going coverage of the issue by mainstream media and activism by political agents could quickly catalyze this opportunity.

·         Recommendations:

o        Co-present cost savings with “green” metrics

o        Use paper reduction as a primary metric today; use energy savings as a primary metric when monitoring tools become more reliable.

o        Support the channel with assessment and monitoring tools as well as key resources

o        Monitor political activities associated with the “green office”

o        Re-package existing offerings under a “green” branding

o        Continue investments in development/partnering for more granular assessment and monitoring software

Are there Greenbacks in “Green”?

An earlier InfoTrends 2009 research study sheds light on green market trends—in short, it appears that while environmental-sustainability initiatives have broad support, dedicated budgets for green initiatives are few and far between. “Going green” is still icing on the cake for broader cost improvement initiatives, a finding which should significantly influence go-to-market strategies for sustainability programs.

In InfoTrends’ 2009 Market Research, which examined four paper-intensive vertical industries, (*charts not included in excerpt) it indicates that “going green” certainly resonates with business people and knowledge workers. (Note): on our list of business priorities almost 60% of respondents from the education vertical indicated it was a priority. It is worth noting that “paperless” initiatives—essentially tied to environmental improvement as well—were the second most important priority for respondents and even exceeded strict “green” needs in the healthcare vertical.

Nevertheless, when these same respondents were asked why their company invested in technology, only half as many indicated that environmental improvements were important to their decision-making (Figure 2). When explicitly asked about their interest in environmental improvement services, only 17.8% indicated that they are considering investment. It is worth noting that medium (100-999 employees) and large (1000+ employees) businesses were the most likely to consider these services investments, weighing in at 24.0% and 22.4%, respectively. As for environmental services in context of MPS engagements, a measly 17.1% indicated this was an important criteria for choosing a provider; however, 21.4% of large companies noted it.

Based on this data, it does not seem “green” MPS warrants a defined strategy, except perhaps for large and enterprise customers. Nevertheless, this ignores the vast number of respondents that resonated with this business priority. A more plausible hypothesis is that environmental-sustainability initiatives have the backing of business leaders, but require significant cost-savings for investment—especially during this recession. As the MPS market becomes more competitive, “green” may become a differentiator that comes up during “short list” final provider evaluations, perhaps resonating more with decision-makers (and corporate visions) than their budgets.  

(*OEM & vendor information omitted; see full report)


At present, environmental-sustainability initiatives seem to resonate more with business peoples’ hearts than their budgets. Nevertheless, environmental-sustainability regulations and a growing ability to accurately measure organizations’ environmental footprint are driving greater awareness of these issues. Should a substantial environment reform bill pass in the U.S., it may provide an opportunity for vendors to profit from “green office” programs subsidized by government dollars (or publicity).

MPS plays a critical role in the delivery of environmental improvements associated with the print and copy fleet as well as document processes, in general. As another set of metrics to assess, optimize, and monitor, page reduction and energy usage also directly translate to cost-savings for office equipment customers. As part of delivering “continuous improvements around the fleet”—a tenet of InfoTrends’ MPS definition—“green” services will likely play a larger role in engagements moving forward.

*Article Excerpt. For full report including charts on statistics visit www.infotrends.com

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