Digital Transformation: Printing Challenges in an MPS Environment
By Steven Jones, Regional Director - EMEA UniPrint.net on November 24, 2016
Let’s face it: printing is not the most glamourous topic in the IT landscape. It’s not particularly inspiring or exciting when listed next to things like hyper-convergence, cloud computing, and digital transformation. Any IT manager will tell you how difficult it is to gather volunteers to handle the dreaded “print project”, and adding it to a meeting agenda can clear a board room pretty quickly.
In short, no sane IT professional wants to spend their days on printing, and so senior IT managers will often bring in Print Vendors to tackle the problem on their behalf. Then, after signing a 3-5 year Managed Print Service (MPS) contract with a print vendor, the expectation is that all of the organizations print issues will magically disappear. Unfortunately, this is usually a pipe dream.
Let’s begin with the average contract term: 3-5 years. While one would assume that many customers would automatically renew their MPS contracts after the term was up, this is sadly not the case. A recent Quocirca report found that over half of all MPS customers will change their vendor at the end of their existing contract term. But why?
The number one reason we hear is IT integration issues. This is a common complaint we hear from IT managers all the time; as they near the end of their Managed Print Service contract, many still do not have their printing solution rolled out. Printing headaches become migraines; time, resources, and finances are poured into an MPS which often takes years to integrate if it’s integrated at all.
It’s difficult to place blame solely on the MPS vendors for these issues. Often IT departments are so disinterested in print that they fail to communicate or even understand the challenges they face. This is particularly true when organizations have a digital transformation strategy and adopt multiple cloud services.
Therefore, when handing off the responsibility of print to an MPS, IT needs aren’t considered or communicated, and the MPS vendors are ill-equipped to address them all. Managed Print Service vendors are hardware driven. They simply need to keep the factories busy by creating demand for printers and toner. Remember our glamourous IT topics? Hyper-convergence, cloud computing, digital transformation; these are software defined and not driven or dictated by hardware.
I believe this to be a primary reason for frequent MPS roll-out issues, hardware defined meets software defined and they absolutely pull in different directions.
To begin to address these issues, we must take a digital-first approach, defining print requirements through software rather than hardware thus breeding the Software Defined Print solution.
In order to fix these issues, solutions must align strategically with IT but also provide future-proof solutions that are vendor neutral. At UniPrint.net, we accomplish this by empowering end users, IT managers, and Managed Print Service vendors alike with our Digital-based Universal Printer Driver (UPD), Secure Printer Management, and the vPad Print Appliance.
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