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Quocirca: Managed print services must react to market changes

Changes caused by the pandemic have changed the demands that customers have from their channel print partners

Print specialists are going to have to navigate the changes wrought by the pandemic, with it looking more likely that the future will involve an increasing volume of remote working.

Quocirca has been charting the changes, with the analyst firm releasing its tenth edition of its insights into the managed print services (MPS) landscape.

The latest report is dominated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and has discovered that, according to business leaders, there are going to be some long-lasting repercussions.

Three-quarters of those quizzed across the UK, France, Germany and the US indicated that they would be reducing their office footprint in some form. Naturally, print volumes for many have dropped during the months affected by Covid-19, but a third expect volumes to be lower when offices do reopen.

Quocirca found that almost half of those leaders it canvassed had approved home printers for remote staff, 37% have already implemented a cloud print managed platform, and a further 37% plan to do so. Those that already used MPS had been able to get printers and support to home workers.

Those that can deliver MPS are still facing demand as society starts to unlock over the next few months. But the 53% of business leaders who expect spending on MPS to increase over the next year is down from 79% in 2019. Customers are also looking for partners that can deliver workplace services, cloud print services and sustainability services.

“There will be no rapid return to pre-Covid-19 print volumes. Businesses are planning office consolidation, capacity reduction and, in some cases, closure,” said Quocirca director Louella Fernandes.

Hybrid working is here to stay, and MPS providers must position themselves to assist clients with home printing and information security, but also a wider range of complementary workplace services that help implement the accelerated digital transformation prompted by the pandemic and aid home-office collaboration in the hybrid environment.

“Speed of purchase and delivery were critical for businesses switching quickly to home working. Online stores were well-positioned to capitalise on this demand, but MPS providers must be vigilant to avoid losing out to online competitors.

“By developing a programme that rolls home office devices into the MPS engagement, they can help customers to tackle the security and technology deltas that arise from shadow IT purchasing,” she said.

The managed print landscape has changed over the decade that Quocirca has been issuing reports, with vendors and partners both embracing the model as a route to providing customers with more assistance around their digital transformation strategies.

“The emergence of MPS was a major shift from a transactional, hardware and consumables-based business model to a more consultative, service-based approach. MPS providers accomplished this shift through innovation and determination, despite the challenges of having to completely overhaul heavily embedded legacy culture,” said Fernandes.

“Each vendor has brought its own expertise to the challenge, and customers now have a strong range of options to choose from. However, now office MPS specialists must adapt to something that seemed unlikely even 18 months ago: a fundamental shift away from the central office as a primary workplace model.

“Once again, the industry must adapt and show how it can maintain relevance as a workplace enabler – wherever the workplace is located,” she added.

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