Demand for More Complex MPS and MDS Dictates the Types of Solutions Supplied

By Amber E. Watson

Traditional print hardware providers view managed print services (MPS) and managed document services (MDS) as a priority strategy for serving enterprise users.

Randy Dazo, senior director, solutions and services, office group, InfoTrends, notes an interest among manufacturers in penetrating this vertical market as a means of differentiating oneself from the competition. "End users seek cost savings, which is always a competitive factor among manufacturers, but the role of MDS allows the vendor to provide true value differentiation," he states.

Management services allow a customized engagement with customers. Dazo says that with escalating costs, changing needs, and environmental concerns intensifying each year, relevant MPS and MDS solutions cater to current trends and continue to meet customer demands.

A study produced by Gartner in 2012, Competitive Landscape: Managed Print Services, Worldwide, concludes that MPS continues to grow, even as shipments of printers and printed pages slow.

Research conducted by InfoTrends indicates a decline in traditional supply-only engagement and a movement towards more complex MDS.

The Advent of MPS

MPS and MDS services have been available for years in some form, more recently developing as a dedicated, specific solution by leading office hardware vendors. The formation of these solutions address evolving customer needs and demands.

The official launch of Canon’s Managed Document Services offering in 2009 brings together a full portfolio of tools, technologies, and services enabling Canon and its channel partners to evaluate a company’s individual needs and ensure continuous improvements through the five-phased approach of discover and analyze; design; deploy and transition; support and manage; and evaluate and review.

Canon generally approaches mid- to large-sized customers via its direct operations while leveraging indirect channel partners as the primary method of reaching small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Top vertical markets are banking and securities; communications, media, and services; education; healthcare providers; and manufacturing and natural resources.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has offered MPS for more than 15 years. As the market accelerated, the company formed a dedicated business group in 2006—now known as HP Managed Services—that is sold through direct contracts and channel partners, reaching companies of all sizes and industries worldwide. The partner program is growing with new countries added monthly. Through direct and partner relationships, HP specializes in healthcare, communications, media and entertainment, financial services and insurance, manufacturing, and the public sector.

Konica Minolta has provided MPS/MDS services for years, but formalized its official program about five years ago under the brand Optimized Print Services (OPS). According to Sam Errigo, SVP, Business Intelligence Services, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., the company has experienced consistent growth year-over-year in its MPS program nationwide, with more customers approaching MPS on a global basis. "This presents another significant area for renewed focus on print management," he says.

Konica Minolta targets heavily regulated industries with compliance requirements—environments that still rely on the use of paper as a communication and storage vehicle. "We typically find an over abundance of print devices that are not managed and that can benefit greatly from our OPS program," explains Errigo.

Lexmark’s MPS services began in 1999, responding to enterprise customer requests for help in buying and managing devices/fleets. "Such requests represent a shift in how companies wanted output providers to help support and manage their devices/fleets," indicates Jerry Grasso, corporate communications, Lexmark.

Lexmark markets through direct and indirect channels. Direct sales efforts focus on enterprise customers, while indirect sales efforts target mid-market and SMB customers.

OKI Data Americas has provided MPS and document management solutions since 2003. The company provides a complete portfolio of end-to-end technology solutions, including digital monochrome and color printers, multifunction products (MFPs), copiers, label, and point of sale devices, and serial impact dot matrix printers. In addition, OKI’s product portfolio covers market segments ranging from small desktop to mid-volume workgroups up to departmental and light production.

Since the mid-1990’s Pitney Bowes Management Services’ (PBMS) MPS/MDS solutions target enterprises in the commercial and public sectors. PBMS goes to market primarily in a direct sales motion and is organized in vertical market segments that include legal, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, federal government, and state and local government. In addition, PBMS works with business process and IT outsourcing partners in an indirect sales capacity.

Ricoh began providing MDS in 2009. In January 2011, the company announced an additional investment of $300 million in new technologies, IT infrastructure, and salespeople when it launched MDS 2.0 with a revamped Adaptive Model and Service Delivery Portfolio.

The company targets medium- to large-sized organizations with 500 or more users, across all industries and in all world regions.

Toshiba began offering MPS/MDS in 2002, and targets the healthcare, financial services, education, retail, and hospitality industries.

The company’s sales strategy involves helping customers focus on the "Five Cs of MPS," which include convenience, cost drivers, culture and change management, conservation, and compliance. "Users want local devices and the right amount of devices. They also want to minimize the impact or sudden change on the workplace. MPS and MDS reduce paper usage as well as help define better security policies," says Jon Hafey, director of MPS business development, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.

Approximately 12 years ago Xerox introduced MPS and created a separate part of business to build its MPS offerings, the management tools, and the delivery infrastructure to grow globally. "We’re currently the worldwide market leader for MPS, and industry analysts point out that even some of our competitors candidly acknowledge that our geographical depth, breadth, and consistency is unrivaled," claims Mike Feldman, SVP, Global Document Outsourcing Services, Xerox.

Solutions that Stand Out

Gartner’s Competitive Landscape study on MPS highlights consultative functions of MPS, as well as elements of either business process outsourcing, IT infrastructure outsourcing, or office document workflow solutions as the three most promising future business directions. The future of competition involves market consolidation and a global MPS presence, but most importantly, the flexibility to offer different levels of MPS.

InfoTrends’ Dazo categorizes MDS into three main segments—supply-only engagement, hardware optimized engagement, and document management services. As stated earlier, there is a notable shift towards more complex solutions.

Canon delivers a variety of hardware and software solutions as well as value-added services tailored to any MPS/MDS engagement. With its imageRUNNER ADVANCE line and MEAP-enabled imageRUNNER LBP Printers, the company offers a line of smart MFPs and printers from B&W A4 up to light production color. Customers implement advanced workflow and managed services tools across their fleet without having to learn new or separate platforms.

Canon also offers solutions and services that address the advanced stages of MDS. "After a fleet is efficiently and proactively managed from a device and supplies management health perspective, and optimization plans have been implemented for cost savings and productivity improvements, customers benefit from additional value-add solutions and services such as secure printing and security policy design services, output management, business process automation, imaging and records management service, information workflow management, and enterprise application integration," states Dennis Amorosano, senior director, solutions marketing and professional services, BISG marketing sub-group division, Canon.

HP’s MPS focuses on three main areas—automating paper-intensive workflows, enabling mobile and cloud-based printing, and end-to-end services and solutions that optimize print fleets.

Konica Minolta’s investment in All Covered provides customers with a turnkey solution for managed IT and MPS under the EnvisionIT program. Konica Minolta’s new OPS Enterprise Edition combines reporting, full integration into its SAP systems for billing and metering, and ongoing management analytics. The new platform is designed for large or enterprise accounts that desire fact-based analysis to drive a reduced print environment.

Lexmark’s global system and infrastructure run on a common platform and provide the same tools and capabilities worldwide. MPS products also offer operational execution and industry-specific solutions including banking, higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. Users gain ownership of core technology that delivers end-to-end document and image management for a holistic solution to business problems.

OKI’s Total Managed Print (TMP) solution provides four key differentiators. "The first is an analytic engine that automatically generates comprehensive assessment reports of all assets, device utilization, print volumes for all output, as well as lifecycle asset management," shares Jackie Paralis, senior marketing manager, MPS, OKI Data Americas. "Next, brand and device agnostic strategic recommendations for fleet optimization eliminate the ‘rip and replace’ mentality of traditional hardware manufacturers. The Proprietary Proposal Generator automatically produces strategic recommendations for cost reduction and productivity enhancements through data collection and usage analysis. Lastly, Continuous Fleet Optimization helps users identify new opportunities for ongoing cost savings with suggestions for hardware replacements, redeployments, and technology migration."

Instead of hiring a supplier that offers MPS and is also an OEM, PBMS offers an alternative approach. "Since we are not an OEM, we are not driven primarily by the need to place new devices. We view output hardware as a critical part of the solution, but we are driven to deliver what the client wants, not what our manufacturing line tells us," states Christopher Casinella, VP, managed output and mail solutions, PBMS.

He says this type of MPS solution extends to a comprehensive platform of managed output solutions (MOS) that include office output, managed mail, document workflow, and production printing. MOS results in cost savings, flexibility, environmental benefits, and improved customer communications management.

For MDS, PBMS leverages its onsite workforce, which spans 1,800 client locations, eight regional document solution centers, and its national processing center to offer its Best Site solution, which provides flexibility and scalability for all data and document work.

Ricoh MDS encompasses the three fundamental parts of document management, input, the creation of information; throughput, how information moves around a business; and output, processing information in a way to add business value. The company works to understand how each enterprise accesses, uses, and stores information. Then, they adapt and optimize those processes to make them more efficient and effective—and help address related information security issues.

With its Encompass assessment application, Toshiba analysts and dealers store and manage data in one database, and present and implement effective and cost-effective print fleets. Encompass also provides users with a comprehensive report outlining a company’s print-related ecological footprint, while introducing solutions for reducing environmental impact.

"Similar to supplies management, customers look for vendors capable of providing break/fix service for all of their devices, so along with selling Toshiba and non-Toshiba branded devices, Toshiba provides break/fix services to a wide range of devices," shares Hafey. Not all MPS vendors have the capability of providing service for all devices, or national service coverage along with a national dispatch call center.

In an effort to maximize the potential of MPS, Xerox focuses on helping current and future partners make the transition from selling technology to selling and delivering print services. "Our Channel Partner Operations is invested in making it easier to do business with Xerox by expanding our portfolio with more product availability, competitive pricing, and outstanding support. Through our Xerox Partner Print Services, Remote Print Services—formerly known as PagePack, and eConcierge offerings, we give service providers multiple opportunities to profit from whatever type of print network or print technology a customer may be running—all while reducing waste, saving money, and simplifying supplies management," says Feldman.

Paperless and Mobile Trends

According to Gartner’s worldwide 2012 Magic Quadrant for Managed Print Services report by analyst Ken Weilerstein and Cecile Drew, overall office print page volumes are declining with a 50 percent reduction over the last six to seven years in printed, copied, and faxed pages. Most observers see the rate of reduction as gradual rather than steep, and volumes vary across industry sectors and functions. Casinella points out that some parts of government and certain industries, such as financial services, continue to report volumes of 1,000 pages per user per month, while other organizations—software development companies, for example—are churning out low volumes.

"Interestingly, much of this print volume decline is attributable to changes in business behaviors, not print management initiatives in the organization. These changes include people working on larger displays; an increase in digitized processes that were once paper-based; more users brought up with PCs and the Web who are comfortable working on screens; and growing environmental initiatives," adds Casinella.

"Green" initiatives are at the top of the list as companies continue to track and manage internal sustainability programs.

Of course, paper management is more than an environmental concern, particularly for the healthcare and financial services industries. The idea is to incorporate paper-oriented solutions into electronic workflows to minimize concerns such as privacy, security, and compliance. InfoTrends’ D points out that most solutions scan to a central facility and shorten the lifecycle of paper so it can be converted electronically and the hard copy destroyed. Meanwhile, mobile completely eliminates the paper process but comes with its own set of concerns.

"With the proliferation of mobile devices and digital content, companies face a paradigm shift in how people access and view information," states John Tomesco, VP, enterprise business development, HP. "Mobility and bring your own device (BYOD) are trends that every company must embrace to be successful, but companies must also understand the security vulnerabilities and how to manage threats that come with mobile and cloud technologies."

HP offers security solutions such as HP Access Control through HP MPS. HP Access Control is a suite of solutions that offer secure print authentication, job accounting, and pull printing designed to provide secure access to printing devices and information across an enterprise network.

HP also offers HP ePrint Enterprise through HP MPS, which goes directly to the root of the vulnerability—the mobile device itself. HP ePrint Enterprise offers mobile printing capabilities for enterprise customers to network printers within the company firewall, with added security features from integration with Good Technology, a company specializing in mobile device management.

The proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and the cloud impact every organization’s document management and output needs. "The full extent of smartphones and tablets has not yet been realized," says OKI’s Paralis. "Companies are still determining whether to embrace a BYOD model, or to issue devices. The BYOD trend likely leads to increased sales opportunities and the extension of MPS into the complete document lifecycle, which enables the incorporation of mobile device management and cloud-based tools."

Paralis believes that mobile devices will expand as part of an overall MPS strategy. MPS providers must deliver tools and software that allow the end user to fully integrate mobile devices into the document access and printstream throughout the corporate network to ensure document output continues to be an easy, intuitive process. "Cloud based-document management solutions take MPS to the next level as they allow companies to easily access data and important documents anywhere, anytime," she adds.

The move toward cloud-based applications and services and the increasingly mobile workforce impact the delivery of MPS/MDS solutions. Canon, for example, built out and operationalized its own cloud platform so that it already hosts a large number of applications ranging from imageWARE Remote to forms and print services. This extensible platform allows Canon to add more of its own applications, open application hosting to third parties, or create mash-up services through partnerships with vendors like Google, Oracle, and Salesforce.

OKI also developed and delivers a cloud-based, brand agnostic, and modular TMP. OKI’s TMP assists with managing a print fleet from remote monitoring and automated usage reporting to national service, support, and proactive supply fulfillment through to a built-in back-end, billing system. OKI’s TMP works within the user’s existing business model, regardless of business size or type while maintaining the flexibility to evolve as business needs change.

In the near future, Paralis believes that MPS will become a subset of managed services as more solutions are added, allowing manufacturers to extend further as a single-source provider for clients. "MPS will take over hardware and expand its footprint into managing the network and infrastructure as well," she says. "Effectively implemented MPS programs reduce the number of hardware units within an office, assuming the company continues to employ proper optimization practices. With the implementation and growth of cloud-based solutions, so too grows the need to embed these solutions into hardware devices and make a more intuitive interface that continues to meet industry standards."

More Potential with MPS

Like all trends, there are peaks and valleys. Dazo points out that there is an early adoption curve with services like MDS. InfoTrends research shows the market for MDS is expected to reach its saturated capacity by the year 2017. "Within the first five years, vendors have a chance to present offerings to their client base who then decide whether or not to opt-in—this is where the most growth is seen and it plateaus after that."

Original Article Posted Here.