I’ve been hearing about managed print services since before I left my post at CRN back in the middle of 2007, but I think the next 12 months will bring a breakthrough for this sector of the IT infrastructure.
Since I like to look ahead of me rather than behind me (the view is better), I thought I would update this blog from now until the end of the year with observations about things that are likely to dominate dialogues during the next 12 months. I have no particular order for these random bursts of opinion, other than the fact that it may have risen to the top of my notes and (therefore) my writing list.
First up is managed print services (MPS), not to be confused with managed service providers (MSPs).
I know many journalists like to make fun of the printer market, because for the longest time it was so decidely unsexy. But this is one of those topics that will seduce everyone next year.
The fact is, printers are sort of like the last mile in your IT infrastructure. IT departments and managers have been focused on driving costs out of their data centers or their desktop maintenance line items. But printers have kind of escaped this same scrutiny, partly because the procurement of them has been so decentralized in the past. Admit it, it’s a status symbol to have your OWN printer snugged away in your office.
Actually, not anymore.
What with the corporate sustainability movement and widespread corporate cost-cutting, printer contracts and all the related workflow applications associated with them — think archiving, collaboration applications, enterprise content management — these is an area RIPE for services.
If you’re in the printer business, you already know this of course. But if you are not, maybe it’s time to start considering how your own product might fit into the managed print mix. Or, whether or not there’s a managed service opportunity that could be built around your technology.