As managed print services trickle down to SMBs, the range of options is hard for the channel to ignore
Quocirca has published a study into channel managed print services (MPS) in Europe, seeing it as a way to address the SMB space. The report has been produced to give an overview of the key channel MPS offerings.
The report points out that, in a highly commoditised hardware market, MPS promises recurring revenue opportunities for resellers. From the customer perspective, it can help to reduce printing costs, improve productivity, enhance document security, and support sustainability initiatives. It also shifts the cost base from capital expenditure to a more predictable operational expenses system.
According to the Channels to MPS in Europe, 2014 is report, Xerox and HP offer the most mature portfolios currently on the market.
Of the two, Quocirca believes that Xerox has the most established channel MPS portfolio with an extensive set of modular services from basic maintenance and supplies contracts, such as Page Pack, to multivendor services for the channel. The multivendor device support offered by the cloud-based Xerox Partner Print Services (XPPS) offers flexibility for multibrand resellers seeking to develop their MPS capabilities.
HP has also been pushing its print services since its acquisition of Printelligent in 2011. This has resulted in the Partner Managed Print Services (PMPS), multivendor offering which promises to be a key enabler for HP’s channel, Quocirca said.
Other initiatives worthy of note include Lexmark’s Business Solutions Dealer (BSD) programme for resellers within its Page Plus Business (PPB) offering. Ricoh is extending its MPS to its channel partners on a localised basis. Konica Minolta has offered services for its partners should which are based on the company’s Optimised Print Services (OPS). Other vendors including Brother, OKI, and Kyocera are building on basic print services is limited investment requirements for the partners.
Louella Fernandes, associate director at Quocirca and co-author of the report, sent that the momentum of cloud computing, margin erosion and evolving customer choice means that channel partners must build a new business model that is sustainable for the longer term. Selling higher-margin services have become appealing as commoditisation has continued to drive down profit margins on hardware.
From the manufacturers point of view, developing flexible offerings for their reseller communities has become essential because the channel plays such a critical role in linking to the SMB opportunities. The services provided have taken on a modular format to suit the disparate nature of the market and the range of skills of the partners.
MPS has been the domain of larger enterprises taking services offerings from companies such as HP, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox. Now that this has started to embrace the SMB market, other vendors have seen the success stories under developing their own MPS packages. Options range from device centric offerings of services and supplies, to device leasing and support.
”Xerox is ahead of the game when it comes to the maturity of its channel MPS initiatives,” said Fernandes. “In terms of strategy and completeness of offering, Xerox leads the market.”