Friday, June 22, 2012
Have you ever considered how your clients’ manage their printers and copiers, and how much these devices and the related infrastructure cost their organization’s each year? If you’re not already providing managed print services, or considering the opportunity, it’s a great time to evaluate the benefits (and obstacles) of offering them to your business customers.
Not only are the channel options for offering managed print services expanding, but more businesses are open to outsourcing their print and copy services. Both IDC and Forrester are predicting significant growth in that segment this year, with the former projecting an 11.7 percent market expansion. And those numbers don’t properly convey the real opportunities for solution providers: approximately 50 percent of companies indicated they’ll outsource print services by 2014 (according to MPS industry analysts, the Photizo Group).
“Printing costs have not traditionally been a top 10 concern for solution providers’ customers, but that is changing,” says Corey Simpson, director of member Communities at CompTIA. “End-users are being made aware of their total cost of printing, which means they will be looking for managed print solutions. Solution providers who get involved can stay abreast of managed print trends and establish relationships to help them build their MPS programs.”Build a Roadmap for MPS
With all the daily demands on solution providers time each day, gathering information and best practices on managed print can be a major challenge, especially when looking for cost-effective resources. Finding vendor-neutral market data and educational programs related to MPS isn’t easy, and it can also be expensive. Those are a few of the reasons that CompTIA members created the Managed Print Services (MPS) Community
, a collaborative group of experienced industry experts and other professionals focused this segment of the IT channel. They meet regularly (through conference calls and three or four face-to-face sessions) to develop initiatives that accelerate the successful adoption of managed print services for end users and solution providers.
In addition to creating MPS-specific tools and educational resources, the community fosters a number of initiatives designed to improve the success of those who support these technologies, as well as those who benefit from its proper execution. Current group objectives include:
- Creating an MSP Trustmark, a business credential for MPS resellers who adhere to established industry standards (includes tools that promote their expertise),
- Developing and refining foundational and advanced educational tracks for providers and
- Creating an online collaborative community for the MPS channel.
The initiatives-driven community has been active, creating several important tools and programs to help providers make sound decisions related to MPS, and giving them the training they need to advance their goals. They created an MPS website that includes a variety of vendor-neutral information for solution providers, including steps and knowledge to successfully sell these services.
The community provides more than just industry information, but helps channel business owners understand the need for these services. “MPS is still an area many solutions providers have ignored. It can bring recurring revenue and stickiness, which increases the overall value of their business,” says Greg VanDeWalker, SVP of Strategic Relationships at Great America Leasing and chair of the CompTIA MPS Community.
The Trustmark is a great example of the group’s comprehensive focus. “It will help solution providers differentiate their business in a competitive marketplace, as well as raise the overall level of company competencies,” adds VanDeWalker.
The community also completed an MPS Roadmap to make it easier for solution providers to understand the industry issues and opportunities, and they recently conducted research on end-user and solution provider needs relating to MPS. These activities all support the group’s goal of training and certifying solution providers and educating end users to accelerate the adoption of managed print services.
Interested in learning more about the CompTIA MPS Community? Join their next meeting at CompTIA Breakaway
, where group members will be putting the final touches on the soon-to-be-released MPS Trustmark.
“At Breakaway, we will review the questions for the various tests that make up the business credential. We welcome those who are willing to offer their expertise and experience to join in,” says VanDeWalker.Brian Sherman is founder of Tech Success Communications, specializing in editorial content and consulting for the IT channel. His previous roles include chief editor at Business Solutions magazine and industry alliances director with Autotask. Contact Brian at Bsherman@techsuccesscommunications.com