Managed Print Services (MPS) is a term that has various meanings in the industry. When you ask the question, “What is MPS?,” chances are you will get a different answer from every professional you ask. No matter what the response, managed print services extend well beyond just printers and certainly includes document imaging.
According to the Gartner IT glossary, managed print services are “services offered by an external provider to optimize or manage a company’s document output.” More organizations are seeing the value of creating their own in-house managed services strategy and are adding MPS as a subset of IT support, with the external support of resellers or VARs to support print services and document management. The basic MPS services are generally the same – tracking how printers, faxes, scanners, and copiers are being used, and dealing with maintenance and routine service problems.
MPS Looks Beyond Paper Processes
The market for MPS is rapidly evolving. According to a study by Quocirca, core MPS services are moving beyond device consolidation to focus on improving business efficiency in handling paper processes. An estimated 20 percent of organizations have migrated to “next generation” MPS contracts that cover document workflow, business process services (BPS), and IT services (ITS). The MPS industry focus is moving to business process automation, including document imaging.
Quocirca estimates that 50 percent of large U.S. enterprises are using MPS and 30 percent plan to install MPS. Those markets with a strong commitment to MPS include financial services (71 percent), professional services (49 percent), manufacturing (50 percent), the public sector (37 percent), and retail travel (33 percent). What is MPS offering to these companies? Primarily it’s more predictable costs, improved service, reduced cost of consumables, and less strain on IT staff. Many of these organizations (68 percent) are looking for a single provider to handle all their print service needs, and they would consider using the same provider for business process and IT services.
So when you ask, “What is MPS?,” you see the answer extends to on-premise or outsourced services with additional services such as mobile printing support, help desk capability, production printing, and document workflow integration. Demand for managed print services can promote a greater need for document workflow services and integrated production print services. For system integrators, adding MPS to a wider service contract that encompasses document imaging and workflow services is a logical way to expand your business.
The Basic Components of MPS
When considering what is MPS, also think about how MPS might fit into your current service offering, it is useful to think of the three primary services that fall under MPS:
Print processing and needs assessment. When approaching a prospect for an MPS sale, start with an audit of their current print processes and document management systems. Understand the specific objectives in adopting MPS, whether it’s greater efficiency, cost savings, saving staff time, greater control of document workflow, or some other MPS benefit. Document imaging can be an integral part of this discussion, particularly if one of the main objectives is to eliminate paper processes and implement better, more secure document handling.
Optimizing the print environment. Following a needs assessment, determine the best way to streamline current print processes using MPS. By centralizing printing services you centralize control of the paper flow, so MPS should streamline document workflow, minimizing paper production while implementing version control and promoting secure document storage. Document imaging can be a key component here if part of the objective is to convert paper workflow processes and scan and store paper archives.
Ongoing print management. Maintaining an annual MPS contract opens up possibilities for additional savings for the customer and ongoing profits for VARs. As the MPS provider you will not only be managing service contracts and maintenance, you also will be supplying toner, paper, parts, and new hardware as needed.
And there’s the software component. Integrating MPS services into the enterprise means software will be needed to manage to optimize management of document output devices and document workflow. There are four basic MPS software components:
Print management software – This is the software needed to manage print volume and authenticate users.
Device management software – Software that provides a centralized means to monitor and manage printers and scanners within the enterprise.
Discovery and design software – In order to plan for a procedural change or systems upgrades you need some kind of design solution that lets you analyze network resources and plan for change.
Scan routing software – Routing software lets you direct print output, including scanned images, to network folders, fax servers, workflows, or emails.
The concept is to make managed print services part of the enterprise infrastructure. Once you include MPS as part of network services you have opened up new possibilities to sell document management solutions, more data storage, secure data archives, and other products and services that will increase the value of MPS services.
Where Does Document Imaging Fit in MPS?
Document imaging is a vital part of end-to-end MPS, and gives you more chances to sell enterprise services. As part of managed print services some paperwork will need to be digitized for secure storage or sharing. Many regulated industries require that medical and financial records be stored in such a manner that they are not only secure but can be produced in the event of an audit. Scanning paper records for secure data storage meets the requirements of HIPAA, FINRA Sarbanes-Oxley, and other regulations, and it enables eDiscovery.
And scanning paper documents to support paperless processes also saves companies money in document storage, space needed for paper files, document tracking, and more. Paperless processes have been estimated to yield immediate savings of 30 percent.
Offering customers document imaging as part of MPS will give you an opportunity to optimize more enterprise processes and have a bigger impact on productivity. So when you ask yourself "What is MPS," your answer is MPS represents an opportunity to build new business with room to upsell.