Cloud technology is having a significant influence on IT decision-makers’ print strategies. Nicola Williams, Senior Business Manager, Brother UK says cloud-based managed print solutions present opportunities for dealers and their customers
MPS providers have enjoyed great success in bringing customers onto retained relationships by providing server-based managed print solutions. Customers have, and continue to benefit from the extra flexibility, significant cost savings, control and value that partnering with a managed print provider brings.
But with the growth of cloud technology, the landscape is changing. An increasing number of businesses are heading to the cloud for MPS as they look to streamline and optimise the print infrastructure. Developments in cloudbased offerings are also providing the ability to manage devices in customer locations where server-based solutions have fallen short in the past.
According to a Brother UK survey of more than 200 IT decision-makers, cloud MPS will have the greatest influence on how print strategies will be shaped over the next three years. Nearly half (44 per cent) of respondents saw the emerging technology playing a key role in their print infrastructure.
This isn’t a new disruptive force for the channel to contend with. Instead, it presents a win-win for dealers and customers alike. By using this technology and a vendorled cloud solution, dealers can streamline customers’ and their own IT infrastructure, realise new efficiencies and offer managed print solutions in all areas of their customers’ organisation.
Unburdening IT infrastructure
The rapid growth of the Internet of Things technology is increasing pressure on customers’ servers. The DCA that monitors an organisation’s print fleet is often deployed onto the customer’s server, feeding data back to programmes based on infrastructure located at the dealer’s premises. The collected information provides the diagnostics and data required to deliver the managed print service.
Whilst the server-based approach is not set to go anywhere, complementing this with a cloud-based DCA for A4 devices, in more decentralised locations can help to reduce what can be a significant cost burden to the dealer. Developing the right infrastructure requires upfront investment, from the programme interfaces to the partner’s server hardware itself. It can also be costly to maintain with upgraded firmware, and to expand, with the need for extra devices.
Replenishing supplies can also be a burden for dealers who deliver their own server-based MPS, especially on lower volume devices where supplies may need to be shipped more regularly – a service few may make a profit on when rolled into a pay per click model.
Creating margin and lowering operation costs
The potential of cloud technology is that it will help unburden the load of managing lower volume or decentralised devices on customers’ and dealers’ systems. Cloud-based DCAs enable MPS to be seamlessly integrated into systems – without impacting existing IT infrastructure. This is a key USP for IT decision-makers striving to optimise their networks.
Plus, by partnering with a vendor that has a proprietary MPS cloud solution, like Brother, it reduces the investment required in systems from the dealer, which in turn should result in lower operational costs. Whilst hard to place a monetary value on this cost saving, the reduction of risk and increase in margins presents the partner with a compelling reason to explore this further.
Using cloud technology, vendors are also making MPS highly flexible for dealers, from invoicing to supplies fulfilment. Complete white-label solutions, which easily blend into the dealers’ existing services, are now available to partners for cloud managed print. For example, partners can invoice for all clicks that the MPS customer consumes, allowing them to invoice the customer as they would normally – incorporating any other hardware, services and solutions.
With a cloud agent, vendors can also monitor toner usage, ship new consumables directly to the customer, removing the associated cost and administration time from the dealer.
MPS is an arm of Brother’s business that has grown 200 per cent year on year. Brother attributes this success to the 2,000 partners that are delivering managed print to customers Europewide. As such, it always designs solutions like its cloud portal with its ethos of helping people be more successful, more quickly – in mind.
Brother is well positioned and poised to support its partners through all customer MPS transitions and for those that wish to integrate cloud-based solutions, can help establish ground cost savings and new efficiencies.