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Quocirca Predicts: Trend #1: Cloud MPS platforms will evolve

Quocirca Predicts: Trend #1: Cloud MPS platforms will evolve

November 4, 2019
Articles, Channel, Digital Transformation, Managed Print Services, Trends

In 2020 market consolidation will continue as the global print industry landscape continues to face the forces of digital disruption. Erosion of legacy revenue streams driven by hardware commoditisation and the ongoing transition to digitisation are forcing industry players to consider new ways of remaining relevant to enterprise customers. While many have embarked on journeys to become digital workplace service providers, the market remains vulnerable to rapid shifts in digital technology, competitor activity and customer needs.

To remain relevant in the rapidly changing digital workplace, manufacturers and their partners should capitalise on five key trends in the coming year. This is the first article in Quocirca’s Print Predictions series.

Trend #1: Cloud MPS platforms will be based on a multi-cloud, hybrid and edge approach

The promise of higher levels of availability, on-demand capacity, low-cost storage and a broad digital ecosystem is accelerating acceptance of the cloud. Cloud as an enabler for businesses is radically different from traditional IT outsourcing, moving away from an upfront capital cost, software licence and maintenance model to a subscription-based model. Long-established managed print service (MPS) providers have recognised this, adding cloud to their service range in a bid to differentiate their offerings. Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) are also stepping up to the mark, expanding their cloud print management offerings.

At the same time, more businesses are evaluating the benefits of moving their traditional print infrastructure to the cloud to gain productivity and cost efficiency improvements along with a lowering of their IT burden. Eliminating or minimising print servers alone can create cost savings, both financial and environmental, while a cloud-based subscription model reduces or eliminates capital expenditure and lowers operating costs.

However, the shift from the on-premise management of a legacy print infrastructure is not straightforward. Many will favour a hybrid approach and will need to retain flexibility around policies and regulations such as GDPR. “Cloudified” MPS providers that enable businesses to retain the ability to centrally manage and distribute to multiple clouds may be the winners, together with taking a hybrid approach of enabling certain functions, such as data storage, to remain on-premise.

Beyond cloud MPS, the long-term opportunity lies in developing strategic cloud platforms and partnering with other cloud partners to create a platform that can manage device fleets, users and analytics. The use of public cloud platforms also brings significant opportunities for manufacturers to build an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy and leverage existing IoT analytic platforms – AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure all offer such cloud IoT platforms that support a managed IoT service. Cloud platforms provide a major opportunity for channel partners to expand their value-led service offerings and deliver flexible and scalable solutions to their customers.

In 2020 we expect to see the leading manufacturers expand their cloud offerings, particularly as a way to target the SMB market and encourage channel partners to move to a cloud model. Some are already making ground in this space. Lexmark launched a range of cloud print management tools and services in 2019. Lexmark’s Cloud Print Infrastructure as a Service (CPI), manages all print services, queue management and user management, using Microsoft’s Azure platform as a base. Lexmark is taking advantage of Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Lake Store, and Azure Analysis Services. Customers pay via flexible subscription models – paying only for print capacity, rather than owning and managing their printers. In the UK, Kyocera offers both public and private cloud options for its cloud printing service.

Meanwhile several ISVs are enhancing their cloud offerings. One Q Technologies offers a multi brand cloud solution delivered via public, private and hybrid models. It is also leveraging the HP Workpath platform to develop a secure cloud print management app that can be managed by HP channel partners. EveryonePrint offers a Hybrid Cloud Platform (HCP) targeted at enterprises and public sector organisations. Y Soft recently announced YSoft SafeQEdge Core (currently in Beta), a cloud-based print management service in a box for SMB.

  • In 2020, cloud print management platforms will emerge that can handle multi-cloud, hybrid, and edge as a single platform.
  • 73% of organisations expect to increase the use of cloud print management by 2025 (Source: Quocirca’s Print 2025 Report, Second Edition, 2019)

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