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Channeling the benefits of Managed Print Services for SMEs

Why small and medium sized enterprises should prioritize MPS

So you’re part of a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). By the EU’s definition, your business employs fewer than 250 people and annual revenue is not more than 50 million Euros. But how much do you spend annually on printing – paper, ink, maintenance? And how many hundreds of hours do your employees devote to related tasks? Chances are, you have no idea.

2014 research by IT analysis firm Quocirca found that around half of large enterprises are now using some form of managed print services (MPS), with stronger prevalence in very large enterprises. Despite this strong adoption in big business, smaller organizations are far slower in adopting what, to many, is a no-brainer. MPS allows companies, no matter the size, to save two of their most precious assets: time and money.

Quocirca estimated that around 20 percent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe were using basic print services in some form, and industry reports have shown 75% of SMEs rely on printing to support their most important business activities. Yet do-it-yourself print management results in enterprises spending far too much time and money on everything from restocking the correct supplies at the right time, to predicting and managing printing costs, to addressing the inevitable services and maintenance of print services. These are resources that could be used elsewhere, helping smaller enterprises to grow, as the challenges of print management – cost control and downtime – are two factors that can be addressed through MPS adoption.

The benefits of managed print services can be plentiful and profitable, depending on how comprehensive the deployment. MPS specialists within the IT channel are critical to SMEs realizing these benefits. By entirely outsourcing the management of print infrastructure to channel specialists and vendor-provided solutions, companies of any size can reduce over-expenditure of time and money, as well as remove headaches like maintenance issues and worries about downtime, since channel providers ensure the proper support is provided in a timely fashion. MPS is also flexible, with solutions agile enough to provide functionality on whatever infrastructure your enterprise works, whether on-premise or in the cloud.

So, why have large enterprises have been faster in adopting MPS than their smaller counterparts? Quocirca found the primary barrier for SMEs is a tendency to believe MPS is more expensive than an in-house approach. Others obstacles include a lack of clarity regarding cost benefits and little awareness of MPS as an option to manage print in lower volume environments. These misconceptions highlight the fact that a caring, knowledgeable, flexible vendor and communicative channel partner are the key to unlocking the MPS puzzle for SMEs.

The MPS provider and solution that fits your SME

Quality MPS providers will work with their channel partners to establish exactly what it is that your SME needs, using knowledge earned from the vendors’ own first-hand experiences with similar businesses. Then, your provider can then tailor their offerings (ranging from simple device optimization all the way up to implementing a multi-site output strategy) to what best suits you rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution that doesn’t-quite-fit-all. Once your perfect solution is implemented, continuous, customized support and improvements are important. Look for a provider that shows how it can deliver innovation, consultancy, improved productivity and cost reductions throughout the stated deployment time, in a secure and eco-friendly manner. These services are absolutely vital, as smaller enterprises usually do not have the free capital to invest in such an undertaking without absolute assurances on the benefits of making the switch.

Getting more from your MPS

As a result of digitization of business processes and content in the enterprise, Quocirca estimates around 20 percent of enterprises have moved to next-generation contracts that incorporate additional offerings such as document workflow, managed document services (MDS) and IT services (ITS). As such, for channel dealers, industry expertise remains a differentiator as MPS providers expand their business process automation capabilities and look to provide more business value. Finding a partner and vendor that understand your business needs – present and future – is half the battle.

As more SMEs look to MPS for cost and resource savings, MPS providers continue to make the benefits clearer and more appropriate for each distinctive business. Quocirca found heartening signs that smaller enterprises are growing more confident in their adoption of MPS. Through working with channel suppliers, service providers like Lexmark can ensure that your confidence is not misplaced.