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Managed Print Services: Time to Rethink Your Print Strategy

By Sam Errigo, SVP, Business Intelligence Services, Konica Minolta Business Solutions

Sam Errigo, SVP, Business Intelligence Services, Konica Minolta Business Solutions

With the cost of business rising, regardless of industry, CIOs continually tell us that they are looking for ways to lower operating costs, introduce proven technologies that speeds access to information and improve efficiencies. Many CIOs have already adopted technology standards, introduced hosted or cloud services, or turned to IT service providers to help reduce overall IT costs.

Balancing operational expenses will continue to challenge CIOs, especially in light of the numerous regulations and compliance issues regarding privacy and information security that require IT investment. One area of focus that can be addressed is an organization’s enterprise print management strategy, as an unmanaged environment is costly to maintain and control from an infrastructure standpoint.

Rethinking a company’s print strategy can not only save valuable budget resources, it can also improve information workflow, document security and align with green/sustainability initiatives.

Managed Print Services (MPS) has evolved over the past five years and office technologies have advanced to meet users’ changing needs. Optimizing your print environment with the right services model, technology, implementation methodology and support with a well-designed print platform can deliver substantial longer-term savings. The net result is the delivery of a managed print model with key metrics, service level agreements (SLAs) and ongoing monitoring of print activity to proactively manage cost.

" ​Larger display panels and downloadable apps enable employees to access information; streamline workflow; and improve productivity directly from the MFP control panel "

Managed print providers deliver various mainstream offerings that help companies identify and realize print cost savings. Recent industry studies by IDC have pointed to considerable cost savings gained from optimizing print environments with a single-source provider—up to 23 percent in overall document cost reductions, 25 percent savings in consumables, 40 percent reduction in IT help desk calls—plus further savings from maximizing uptime, reducing unscheduled maintenance and simplifying the tasks of optimizing the print environment.

The most successful MPS offerings go beyond just hardware discounts and centralized billing, to combine consultancy, workflow efficiencies, print fleet optimization, software integration, service and support for hardware and implementation services. MPS providers collect data about your print environment and leverage analytics to deliver comprehensive reporting that drives datadriven decisions related to print management.

A successful MPS program should be driven by a deep domain understanding of business requirements and alignment with key business drivers that ultimately lead to the blueprint for the enterprise print strategy. Core to the strategy is the use of data-driven analysis such as end user print behaviors, application usages, device utilization, print volume and number of print devices per employee. The analysis of key data points will allow for a more predictable and rationalized design related to print infrastructure. As MPS programs continue to advance, the inclusion of workflow design and software integration will gain greater importance due to the impact on workflow efficiencies and improved cost management. A range of software solutions are readily available that foster the concept of a “Less Print” environment. As part of the “Less Print” strategy, addressable applications include the digitization and storage of content, secure release print, behavioral modification to create awareness about the cost of printing and workflow design to eliminate the need for printed documents. Applications are also playing a much larger  role in the overall managed print services strateg y– whether it’s using an app for document management, enterprise content management, or workflow enhancements. Today’s multifunctional printers (MFPs) do more than simply print, copy, scan and fax. Larger display panels and downloadable apps–similar to those available on smartphones and tablet–enable employees to access personal or professional information; streamline workflow; and improve productivity directly from the MFP control panel. The goal of these apps is to help manage enterprise print and make business more efficient.

MPS providers that include IT services offer additional services that include cloud solutions, server management, IT help desk support, application services and advanced security. They can design and implement information security solutions, such as user authentication applications, hard drive encryption, secure disposition of hard drives to complex network security requirements. This ensures data security and minimizes risk for a company.

MPS offerings keep your environment operating at peak performance. Remote monitoring, automatic dispatch of technicians and delivery of consumables reduces administrative costs and enables IT staff to concentrate on high priority or critical matters. Reporting information keeps the IT department and CIO informed on key performance indicators on device uptime, service response time, and print costs. Business reviews with your managed print provider will ensure the existing print environment is meeting current business needs and is remaining as efficient and cost effective as possible.

From a CIO perspective, MPS is a viable service–cost savings, a single provider for supplies/maintenance, improved document efficiencies and the ability to focus IT resources on critical initiatives. For long-term success with a MPS provider, look for providers with a proven track record that deliver results through the use of consultancy, workflow designs that drive efficiencies, sound business process to deliver an optimized print platform, skilled engineering resources to implement software solutions, a comprehensive service and support organization and IT service and support. The end state of a managed print program is to develop long-term sustainable savings through proactive management and engagement with the customer.

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