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Tech Data has enhanced its managed print service, as it looks to give resellers greater visibility and control over their interactions with customers.
The distributor has been developing its cloud-based managed print offering, OpenMPS, which gives resellers a vendor-neutral platform that can manage customer printing.
The enhanced version of OpenMPS includes improved data visualisation, gives more control of user pricing and more protection against fraud. Those partners that use the service can also get auto-alerts when orders are placed, as well as faster search capabilities, which should streamline the process.
OpenMPS covers the vendors the distributor works with – HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Brother and Lexmark.
Chris Bates, business unit manager of print and supplies at Tech Data for UK and Ireland, said the first version of the platform had already proved to be popular with the channel.
“OpenMPS has been extremely well received and many partners are already using it to provide a simple managed print service to their customers,” he said. “Based on their feedback, we have made a number of enhancements and improvements that increase efficiency, and help them deliver an even better service and more value to their end-user customers.”
Others in the industry have also reported noticing increased channel interest in managed print services.
Record period of activity
In March, Brother responded to a record period of activity with MPS by launching an offering designed to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to consume managed print.
Speaking at the time, Greig Millar, general manager for sales at Brother UK, said the demand for subscription services was increasing as customers look for more flexibility. The vendor reported that its overall MPS print volumes delivered 78.1 million pages in Q4 2021 – a record level for the firm and its channel.
With offices reopening, there have also been further signs that printing as a sector has continued to improve, with the market picking up over the past few weeks, according to the latest market analysis from Context.
“A changing product mix, with more high-end devices sold and price increases for entry-level and mid-range devices, resulted in a higher average selling price and overall strong revenue performance for the business sector,” said Antonio Talia, head of business analysts at Context. “The reopening of offices and IT budgets being rebalanced towards office equipment is also playing its part in driving up revenue.”
Year-on-year revenues were down, even with the business sector rebounding, as weakness on the consumer side of the market dragged things down. Enterprise revenues were down by just 2% for the first quarter of 2022, compared with a drop of 22% on the consumer side.
Context has also been tracking the average number of pages printed, to get a sense of customer activity levels, and found that has also been improving.
“The ANP performance of refillable ink bottles has steadily trended upwards since August last year, except for a slowdown in November and December,” added Talia. “Ink tanks are still performing exceptionally well, steadily gaining market share over inkjet cartridge printers. As a result, refillable ink bottles have also seen a consistently positive performance thus far, and this is expected to continue in 2022.”