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Cloud print management set to dominate

80 per cent of businesses expect to use cloud-based print management, as the overall balance of IT infrastructure shifts to the cloud

The majority of organisations will operate a fully or mostly cloud-based IT environment by 2025, according to the latest Cloud Print Services 2022 Report from global market insight and research company Quocirca.

Businesses are seeking resilience, cost savings and the flexibility to support a hybrid workforce without compromising security. As a result, the overall balance between cloud and on-premise infrastructure will switch in favour of the cloud within the next three years.

One in five respondents to Quocirca’s study say they will fully transition their IT environment to the cloud by 2025; while 41 per cent will mostly transition. This compares to the situation today, where just six per cent are fully in the cloud and 21 per cent are mostly in the cloud.

Adoption of cloud print management is also gathering pace. A cloud print management platform has already been implemented by 43 per cent of firms, a strong increase from 29 per cent who had done so in 2021. A further 37 per cent are planning to implement cloud print management, making it the solution of choice for eight in ten IT decision makers overall.

Quocirca Research Director Louella Fernandes, said: “There has been a swift acceleration in the pace of cloud adoption, and particularly where cloud print management is concerned. The combined drivers of the need to support the hybrid workplace with secure, flexible infrastructure, and to enhance sustainability strategies, have functioned as a catalyst and we expect momentum to continue.”

Key findings

  • Cloud services are the top investment priority in the coming year, cited by 31 per cent of those polled.
  • 45 per cent have implemented remote print job submission to support hybrid workers.
  • The majority (87 per cent) believe the cloud to be a lot more, or somewhat more, secure than an on-premise platform.
  • Cloud print deployment forms part of their sustainability strategy for 80 per cent of respondents.
  • Cloud provision is a key MPS supplier selection factor, with 38 per cent saying it influences their choice of MPS provider.
  • 40 per cent say transitioning print services to the cloud is a key driver for MPS adoption.

MPS maturity does not equal cloud maturity

The study found that organisations with a fully outsourced managed print service were less likely than those using a hybrid approach to have switched to a cloud based print environment. More than half (52 per cent) of fully outsourced MPS customers are still operating their print environment fully on-premise, compared to only 31 per cent of those with a hybrid set-up where part of the print environment is managed in-house.

“There is a clear opportunity here for MPS providers to support their customers through the transition. However, the more traditional MPS providers may not have the necessary cloud expertise to act on this opportunity. Unless they invest rapidly in developing a cloud offering, they will find themselves at a disadvantage compared to competitors who are more cloud-ready,” Louella counsels. “Certainly, with 40 per cent of respondents saying that moving to the cloud is a top benefit of MPS, those providers that cannot meet this need will suffer.”

Cloud print adoption varies

The research showed levels of cloud adoption vary between geographies and sectors. The US is most mature on cloud print adoption – 56 per cent have adopted it. In the UK 40 per cent of respondents use cloud print management already and 28 per cent plan to do so. Germany is the least mature, with just under one-third of respondents already using cloud print management.

Investment and education needed

Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services Report 2022 contains valuable recommendations for buyers and suppliers to guide a successful shift to cloud print deployment.

Buyers need to be confident that proposed solutions meet the accessibility, security and analytics requirements of the hybrid workplace.

Suppliers, including OEM vendors and channel businesses, must ensure that they address the multi-cloud needs of businesses, as most are not yet fully cloud native. Integration with existing security systems and the ability to support zero trust configurations is also essential. This may require partnerships with specialist cloud providers and businesses must be open to developing a strong partner ecosystem to fully support evolving customer needs.