Inflection point for managed print and document services

The managed print and document services market is at an inflection point, particularly in the developed, enterprise markets. In those markets, penetration is relatively high, and many contracts are in their second or third renewal cycles (though...

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The managed print and document services market is at an inflection point, particularly in the developed, enterprise markets. In those markets, penetration is relatively high, and many contracts are in their second or third renewal cycles (though not necessarily with the same vendors.)

However, though many enterprises have outsourced print management, the maturity of those engagements is relatively low according to IDC Maturity Model: Print and Document Management (IDC #241441, June 2013). IDC believes that a relatively small percentage of these engagements include value-added services beyond the optimisation of the distributed fleet of office printers and MFPs. Furthermore, very few encompass a holistic enterprise-wide approach, including production print and/or home, satellite, or branch workers.

Our recent IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Managed Print and Document Services 2013 Hardcopy Vendor Analysis (IDC #242217) shows that from a vendor perspective, it is getting more and more difficult to differentiate these "core" services.

The technology deployed to assess, design, deploy, and manage MPDS engagements is relatively homogenous throughout the industry. Moreover, the technology itself is becoming more intelligent and automated. This makes it even more difficult for vendors to distinguish themselves, plus it opens the door to enterprise self-management. This also means that outstanding execution and delivery are crucial.

Hardcopy vendors have the opportunity to increase differentiation and create new annuity streams by developing and deploying services portfolios that impel enterprise customers to higher levels of print and document management maturity, resulting in greater benefits for those customers in terms of cost savings, employee productivity, and even top-line revenue growth. In addition, vendors can continue to expand both core and advanced services into the midmarket and into emerging markets.

Organisations that are evaluating current or prospective managed print services vendors should look beyond the printing devices and related technology that is being deployed. Ensure that the vendor comprehends the organisation's specific business objectives and has the capacity to meet those objectives. Understand the scalability and scope of the offering. Ask the vendor to provide a road map for ongoing optimisation and continuous improvement. And finally, look for a record of managed print services operational excellence.

Posted by Holly Muscolino, Research Director IDC

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