Now or Never: Print industry predictions #3
To emerge stronger in 2021, print industry players must adopt a future forward mindset to address the rapidly evolving cloud and hybrid workplace era – or risk being left behind.
The industry is at a crossroads where those who take the path to reinvention and take advantage of the following trends will emerge stronger beyond 2021.
This is the third in a series of 5 trends for 2021 that Quocirca believes will create opportunities for the print industry. Read other predictions:
#3 Cloud diversity will usher in a much-needed shift in office print infrastructure.
Although cloud adoption continues to accelerate, the growing number of cloud options – multi-cloud, private and public cloud – is increasing cloud complexity. This is an opportunity for MPS providers to build expertise and help customers navigate their cloud journey.
A decentralised, distributed workforce requires a print management platform that has high availability and resource flexibility. In Quocirca’s latest IT Decision Marker study, 50% of organisations globally said they have already implemented a cloud print service, with a further 29% stating that they had plans to do so within the next 12 months. Further, Quocirca’s COVID-19 study revealed that 57% of print suppliers expect demand for cloud-based print management to grow.
The print industry (manufacturers and their partners) must capitalise on the cloud opportunity. This enables customers to take advantage of the cost benefits – both financial and environmental – of shifting management of their on-premise legacy print infrastructure to the cloud. A cloud MPS can potentially scale and flex to adapt to changing printing requirements, particularly if new government measures enforce the closure of offices time and again. It can also support printing across the hybrid workplace – with the right monitoring and reporting tools, home printers can be secured and monitored to protect printing in the home. Scalability means that some cloud print services allow for printers to be added or removed as business demands require.
However, shifting to a cloud-based print service can be daunting and selecting between a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment has proved challenging for some organisations. Each route offers advantages and disadvantages when it comes to flexibility, performance, security, and compliance.
The cloud transforms the traditional MPS business model – moving it from being transactional and product-centric, to a far more value-centric discussion. Forward-thinking providers must aim to extend their customers’ ambition beyond the basic benefits of cloud, and build lasting, value-led relationships that elevate MPS into the realms of a strategic partnership. This will mean delivering complementary productivity-boosting services, security innovations and advanced analytics that become critical to achieving the customer’s business outcomes.
- Educate Customers. Cloud services are fast becoming the norm, with many elements of an organisation’s typical IT infrastructure having shifted to the cloud. This has built trust in the cloud model as an effective way to manage and scale IT consumption. Provide guidance on the financial and environmental benefits on shifting on-premise print infrastructure to the cloud and how this can potentially support the new hybrid workplace though integrated and secure printing.
- Address Security Concerns. The cloud has earned its stripes when it comes to security. Hyperscale providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google have built their cloud platforms to meet the highest standards for data privacy and security, vulnerability come through the applications customers deploy to cloud platforms. Cloud-based print service offerings offer a range of data, document and network security features – evaluate products from both OEMs and ISVs as this market continues to develop.
- Develop a professional services mindset. Although shifting to cloud propositions requires a major change in revenue models, the long-term opportunity to retain customers is high and can create opportunities for further adjacent value add services.
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