Quocirca’s latest report, ‘The Cloud Advantage: The opportunity for MPS providers’, discusses how developing a cloud print services offering is imperative for MPS providers looking to build relevance in a rapidly evolving market.
The Cloud Opportunity for MPS Providers
The rapid adoption of cloud services has enabled businesses of all sizes to gain access to enterprise applications and infrastructure based on subscription models. This provides flexibility, scalability, reliability and improved performance while reducing costs and freeing IT resources to focus on strategic activities.
Increasingly, hybrid cloud – a mixture of private and multiple public cloud platforms – will become the reality for many organisations as they look to integrate legacy environments. One key area that can benefit from being moved to the cloud is the print infrastructure.
Managed Print Service (MPS) providers must capitalise on the cloud opportunity as a way to innovate their business models and support their customers’ transition to the cloud. A key benefit of a cloud print service is its ability to minimise the cost and complexity of operating a traditional on-premise print infrastructure.
Reducing or eliminating reliance on local print servers, along with shifting print management to the cloud, enables businesses to move from a CapEX to an OpEX model. Flexible and scalable subscription-based pricing provides lower and more predictable costs, while IT burden is reduced as tasks are managed by a third-party cloud print services provider.
Quocirca’s Print 2025 study revealed that customers were already demanding more from their MPS providers before the pandemic, favouring providers with IT-centric expertise, particularly in security and the cloud.
As the pandemic further accelerates the shift to the cloud, MPS providers must develop a robust cloud proposition for businesses that enables them to drive efficiencies in their print infrastructure.
This shift is not straightforward and MPS providers should consider the following recommendations when discussing a potential transition to a cloud-based print infrastructure with their customers.
1. 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.
MPS is one of the few remaining elements of the IT infrastructure to make this move and the need to transition and build propositions that support cloud print services is mounting. It is vital that MPS providers support and educate their customers throughout the transition process, providing services that align with their customers’ overarching cloud strategy.
2. Address Security Concerns
The cloud has earned its stripes when it comes to security, having been built to meet the highest standards for data privacy and security. Public cloud platforms tend to offer a multi-layered approach to security, with massive effort put in to ensure that the underlying platform is safe from malicious intrusion attempts, as well as providing advanced capabilities to deal with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware attempts and so on.
Data tends to be secured via encryption both in transit and in storage. Continuous, remote and automated monitoring and analysis of traffic is used to reveal irregularities or threats. Providers also proactively ensure compliance with the latest security standards and requirements. In sectors with the most stringent security requirements, hyperscale cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure and AWS are being adopted.
3. Adopt a consultative mindset
Prospects and customers are now looking for channel partners that offer value-added IT centric expertise. The shift in expectations highlights the pressing need for MPS providers to re-evaluate their strategy from selling products to providing cloud print services, elevating them into the realms of a strategic partnership.
Providing guidance on how to leverage different types of cloud services and technology is critical. Although this will not be an easy transition for many channel partners, it enables print vendors the opportunity to help by offering consultative support to guide them through the transition process.
4. Enhance trusted partner status
Embracing the strategic partnership mentality brings with it further opportunity to provide value-added services and solutions to support a customer’s digital transformation.
Offering adjacent managed services, for example digitisation and automated workflows, can generate greater profitability via reoccurring revenue and deeper customer engagement.
Given the complexity and variation in the needs of customers, MPS providers have a significant opportunity to position themselves as part of their clients’ digital transformation journey.
5. Evaluate cloud print platforms and services
MPS providers must capitalise on the opportunity to grow their portfolio. And, where necessary, they can seek new services from third-party party providers to build a complete offering for their clients.
More cloud platforms are emerging from both print manufacturers and ISVs and MPS providers should evaluate these offerings to determine the best fit for the requirements of their customers. Further details on cloud print services and products can be found in Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services Landscape 2020 report.
Looking to the Future
Cloud migration is now recognised as an enabler of innovation and growth, not only for the customer but also for the MPS provider.
The question is no longer ‘if’ or ‘when’ to make the transition to cloud print services, but rather which services should move to the cloud and how fast.
MPS providers that will thrive during this industry-wide transition will be those that deliver transformational cloud print services. They will align these solutions to flexible, tailored subscription plans and will build trusted, long term partnerships with their customers.
For more information, download Quocirca’s latest report ‘The Cloud Advantage: The Opportunity for MPS Providers.
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