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Managed print players caught up in customer tension

Those making the IT decisions hold different views around printing and collaboration compared with the rest of the workforce and the MPS supplier has to bridge that gap

Managed print specialists are going to have to defuse the tension at customers as a gap opens up between workers and IT managers.
Those making the technology decisions are not anticipating an end to paper printing anytime soon. Workers largely hold the opposite view.
Workers want more digital collaboration but those making the IT decisions don’t view it as a priority.
Those differences in opinions have been exposed by Quocirca in the analyst house’s Print 2025 report.
Customers are also looking to vendors to provide more support, with 58% expressing the view that they must become a strategic partner with the IT decision makers.
The Quocirca report also indicates that sustainability is climbing up the agenda and those pitching managed print will need to address those user concerns.
“The print industry is at a critical point where it must build momentum around ‘as-a-service’ IT-centric offerings. However, identifying what customers need will prove difficult given the significant disconnection in priorities between those who use print technologies and those who specify and purchase them,” said Louella Fernandes, director at Quocirca.
“This creates a satisfaction gap where office workers don’t get the productivity tools they want, and IT decision makers see their investments failing to have the positive impact they anticipate,” she added.
For the channel the solution is to work even more closely with customers, to make sure they understand the needs of the business and the internal challenges they face.
“Print vendors need to become strategic partners working with IT decision makers to identify what business units really need, offering services that satisfy those requirements, while also responding to the security and control requirements of IT decision-makers,” added Fernandes.
She warned that there would be real consequences for those that failed to deal with the expectation gaps opening up at customers.
“Failure to do this will see print vendors continue losing influence with both IT decision-makers and lines-of-business at the crucial point where digital transformation focus is turning towards digitising paper-based processes,” she said.
Customers will need help as they navigate into a world where cloud is becoming increasingly important and the old print models come under strain.
“The path to print and digital convergence is growing more complex and less linear, especially when increased environmental concern is added to the mix. The transition from the printed page in the context of broader digital transformation offers diverse options for businesses and this is creating tension between IT decision makers and lines-of-business..” said Fernandes.
“To succeed in this market, vendors must develop deeply strategic relationships with customers to unpick their needs and devise a route to achieving them,” she added.

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