Capitalising on the Convergence: Leveraging Managed Print and IT Service

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Unlock the power of integrated print and IT services with Kyocera and DMC
Unlock the power of integrated print and IT services with Kyocera and DMC

As the pace of digitalisation increases and hybrid working models become the norm, businesses are looking increasingly to have one provider for their print and IT services, which provides opportunities for managed print services providers. 

As workplaces continue to evolve post-pandemic, with hybrid working becoming the norm in many businesses, the IT and print infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex, and it is leading some to consider opting for a single provider for both.

Research published in 2022 in Quocirca’s managed IT services study revealed that 86% of UK IT decision-makers would consider a single managed service provider (MSP) for IT and print infrastructure. 

This move is prompting some managed print services (MPS) providers to expand their range of provision to help compete in this evolving market.

“There are certainly MSPs that offer managed print, and managed print providers who also offer some simple managed services, such as backup or endpoint security,” says Chris Bates, business unit manager – print and supplies, UK, TD SYNNEX.

However, he believes it is not a given that the two will converge, especially at the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) end of the market. “These two broad areas are certainly not mutually exclusive, nor is it a given that they will naturally converge. It is more likely that they will co-exist,” he says. “With respect to print, what most reseller partners are looking for – especially those serving the SMB market – is a simple way to monitor and manage devices for customers, including automated toner replenishment.

“Due to its ease of use, we’re finding that our OpenMPS service appeals to partner businesses that are already offering other forms of managed services, and those who have yet to develop this area of their business. Each partner will have their own view and approach on how they want to develop their managed services and managed print services business, and we’d expect those two strands to evolve and grow side by side.

“Developing a managed services proposition can be more of a challenge, but you must start somewhere. Our cloud team has several ‘Click to Run’ offerings that can be deployed quickly and easily by partners with very little or no real experience of managed services. They can then offer education and enablement for partners that want to build up their managed services practice. 

“As such, there are not really any barriers to entry – it’s simply a question of what kind of services a partner wants to make available to their customers. Whatever that might be, we can help them develop the capabilities they need.”

Wake-up call to providers

Dean Harris, sales director at DMC, agrees that the MPS and IT services markets are gradually converging, adding that this shift in the market should act as a wake-up to some MPS providers. “There are a lot of small old-school print providers out there that claim to be a MPS provider, but really do little more than just put software on a machine that collects readings, toner levels and that sort of thing,” he says. “But that’s not MPS; it is a proper managed service that looks at usage, consumption, what’s the most cost-effective option for customers, collecting traffic data. 

“MPS providers are now becoming more of an IT provider, because of all the software they have, the data they provide and how printers interact with the rest of the network. 

“Smaller MPS providers should, in my opinion, look to diversify their business to incorporate IT services to thrive in the future. While the paperless office is a myth, print volumes are declining post-COVID, but businesses are using more IT services such as CRM systems, online record keeping and data management.”

By not doing this, Dean believes MPS providers could fall behind their rivals that do. DMC has pivoted and now can provide a full MPS solution, as well as IT, mailroom and telephony solutions, along with security for all these elements. “We provide a full bespoke solution to our customers and do a full audit of their business to find out what the weaknesses and strengths are, especially in relation to GDPR.”

Focus

Steve Doust, group sales director – business solutions ICT at Kyocera, adds that as IT services are so broad – covering ICT, unified comms, content services, cloud, security and resourcing, among others – most MPS providers expanding their services into this sector will specialise in certain areas that add value to their existing business and customer base. 

“As the potential market is so vast it is key to stay focused on what you want to achieve and be recognised for, otherwise the pull-on resource and expertise could hamper any growth or put a strain on existing support structure,” he notes.

It is also important for MPS providers moving into IT to provide a point of difference to customers to help secure the business. “As a trusted provider of solutions that span a customer’s network whether hardware or software, MPS providers already help manage data and workflow, so utilising this understanding and a strong relationship enables a wider conversation on the customer’s hybrid/digital journey with the backing of reliable support.”

Steve adds that the trend of converging managed print and IT services will continue for the foreseeable future. “Data and security are at the heart of most businesses, and this will continue to evolve as we move further into a digital world with even more automation, which in turn drives more data that will be created, managed and accessed in many ways,” he says.

“The trend for sustainability and cost reduction is driving the adoption of cloud services. With its high availability, flexibility and scalability, the cloud helps businesses become more agile. Organisations can reduce costs, both financial and environmental, and overcome the complexity and inefficiencies of operating a traditional on-premise infrastructure.”

With increasing numbers of customers demanding one provider for their IT and print, expanding into IT services – or at least some of them – is something MPS providers will have to consider, if they are not already doing it.