Quocirca’s 2018 MPS Landscape Report reveals that in order to differentiate in a mature market, MPS providers must capitalise on opportunities in IoT, security and analytics.
Managed print services (MPS) continues to offer fundamental growth opportunities for print manufacturers and their partners. However, market maturity means that MPS providers must look for new opportunities to differentiate and build competitive advantage.
With MPS increasingly positioned as an enabler for digital transformation, most providers now offer a broad service and solutions portfolio to help drive workplace productivity and efficiency. As the core services of MPS continue to mature, traditional MPS providers must improve their offerings and deepen their competencies in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), managed security and analytics. This will enable them to increase their level influence within client organisations and enhance their credentials as digital transformation partners.
Quocirca recommends that MPS providers take the following actions:
Capitalise on the managed IoT service opportunity
MPS providers have built a strong legacy in managing the most established IoT devices on the network – printers and multifunction printers (MFPs). Effective MPS platforms already drive the performance, reliability, security and continuity of the print infrastructure through device monitoring, analytics, remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance. The emergence of enterprise IoT platforms offering asset management, fault detection, smart analytics and remote monitoring presents a broader opportunity for MPS providers to participate in the wider IoT space. This opportunity is not limited to traditional IT endpoint devices, but could also encompass intelligent workplace and smart building assets such as thermostats, lighting and video cameras.
As enterprise IoT gathers pace, MPS providers should evaluate opportunities to integrate their technology with enterprise IoT platforms. Although managed IoT services can offer a greater breadth of opportunities, providers also need to consider the security challenges it can bring. While most MPS providers offer robust security solutions to protect print devices from external hacking and to prevent exposure of confidential information, the management of new IoT devices requires new competencies to identify and monitor device vulnerabilities. Collaborating and partnering with third-party providers to gain expertise in IoT device management and security is therefore the best way forward for MPS providers looking to extend their capabilities in the IoT space.
Explore managed security services partnerships
According to Quocirca’s Print 2025 Study, not only do enterprises rank security expertise as their top supplier requirement, they also expect a shift in their relationships from traditional print suppliers to IT service providers. As security moves to the forefront of the MPS agenda, leading MPS providers are already expanding their print security assessment and monitoring services. However it will be imperative that providers deepen their security expertise, for instance, expanding capabilities beyond assessment and device monitoring to encompass incident detection and response.
Key to success will be collaboration with security technology providers who have the tools and specialist skills to provide strategic services around integrated print and IT security. Some print security offerings already integrate with security information and event management (SIEM) tools, and MPS providers should consider adding services and integration around these capabilities. As the market gravitates to a security-as-a-service model, MPS providers should also investigate adding cloud-based security services to their portfolio. These will appeal to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that lack the budget and expertise to manage device security themselves.
Unlock the value of IoT analytics
MPS providers already use analytics as part of their assessment services, ranging from basic assessments of device usage to more sophisticated analysis of user behaviour. Although much of this data is used effectively to improve the efficiency of a print infrastructure – through predictive maintenance and device optimisation – MPS providers have yet to exploit the true potential of analytics.
MFPs generate a wealth of data, including device, document and user information. Manufacturers can leverage this data to gain customer insights and market and deliver new services. However, print management analytics tools are often not designed for massive data analysis, and MPS providers may lack the necessary business intelligence analysis skills. Exploiting big data and analytics will demand new expertise and competencies from manufacturers. This will need to be built through a big data talent acquisition strategy, driven either organically or through developing new collaborative partnerships.
MPS providers cannot afford to rest on their laurels in a market that demands stronger differentiated services. While most of the market leaders offer a diverse set of services, the future of MPS lies in manufacturers and their partners fostering deeper partnerships across the broader IT landscape. By delivering innovative services in the areas of IoT, security and analytics, traditional MPS providers can reinforce their credentials as digital transformation partners, unlocking significant opportunities for growth.
Download an executive summary of Quocirca’s 2018 MPS Landscape Report.