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Managed print channel upbeat over year ahead

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Quocirca found that many in the managed print world are looking to 2021 with better expectations

The managed print services channel is feeling optimistic about revenue prospects in 2021, even with the coronavirus continuing to linger.

Quocirca has published the results of its State of the channel 2020 survey, with one of the main findings being the optimism it has found in the managed print services world.

The optimism is based on a belief that revenues will rebound next year and there will be opportunities to meet increased customer demand for cloud services, contactless printing and support for home printing. There is an expectation that hybrid working will become the common approach even after the pandemic ends, with many workers choosing to stay at home two or three days a week.

The optimism in the managed print world contrasts to some of the negativity that has been swirling around those that sell and service commercial printers because of the impact of lockdown and the renewed calls for most people to work at home.

The Quocirca report picked up on those issues with 45% of respondents saying customer print volumes have fallen and 53% indicating that Covid-19 had been negative for their business.

“The pandemic has accelerated changes that were already under way in the print market,” said Quocirca director Louella Fernandes. “The channel is optimistic but must adapt fast to capitalise on new opportunities and secure its place as a trusted partner for organisations that are pivoting to hybrid and remote-working.”

Managed print specialists had been able to take advantage of a range of opportunities that customers have reached out for over the past few challenging months, including information management and collaboration tolls.

Key findings

  • 53% of respondents said Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their business. 25% indicated a positive impact.
  • 45% said customer print volumes have dropped due to the pandemic.
  • 34% said selling MPS has opened new opportunities to provide value-added services; 32% said it has helped build longer term customer relationships.
  • 37% said broader market disruption is the top channel concern for the coming year. Other key concerns were adapting to a managed services model (23%) and digital disruption (22%).
  • Cloud is viewed as the leading growth area between now and 2022, followed by home printing services and contactless print provision.
  • Channel companies report satisfaction gaps with key elements of vendor programmes including market development funds (MDF), training and support for app development, and financial support.

A third of those quizzed by the analyst firm revealed that they had built more long term relationships with customers and not far off a similar number indicated that there had been chances to sell some non-print IT services.

“MPS is undoubtedly providing opportunities for the channel to diversify into adjacent areas,” said Fernandes. “It can be a platform for future growth if companies can successfully build partnerships with complementary service providers and invest in the sales, technical and marketing skills needed to deliver a broader range of services.”  

As a result of the changing situation the demands that partners have for suppliers have also changed and that was picked up in the Quocirca report. Partners expressed a desire to get more training and support for app development, access to MDF and lead generation as their top priorities.

The access to MDF and financial support was viewed as one of the main areas where partners felt more work could be done by suppliers.

“The channel needs to be clear with vendors about the support it needs to adapt to the changing environment, and vendors must respond,” said Fernandes. “The channel recognises opportunities around integrated document workflow apps and solutions, especially for hybrid and remote-working environments, but doesn’t feel equipped to capitalise on these.”

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