The latest Quocirca Print 2025 Spotlight Report highlights the opportunity for managed print service providers to help SMBs traverse the digital divide
The report looks at how small to medium size businesses’ (SMBs) print and digital needs will evolve between now and 2025 to drive digital transformation in the SMB market. It includes research commissioned into the views of both European and US SMBs which reveals that while many SMBs are still dependent on paper documents, they are struggling to contain print-related costs and looking to accelerate digitisation efforts.
According to Quocirca Research Director Louella Fernandes, this presents a significant opportunity for managed print service providers. “Print manufacturers and their partners are well positioned to support SMBs in their digital transformation journeys, using managed print services as the foundation.”
The increasing availability of digital work?ow services targeted at SMBs means that digital transformation is no longer the exclusive domain of larger companies. “Digital technologies have transformed the landscape in which SMBs operate, allowing them to compete in an ever-changing market. They enable more efficient business processes and better engagement between customers, employees and partners,” Fernandes said.
Research findings show that SMBs expect to remain reliant on print, but that alongside this, there is an appetite to accelerate digital transformation. “Despite the potential dividends, SMBs, often hampered by time and budget constraints, have been slow to ride the wave of the DX economy, and are at risk of being left behind,” Fernandes explained, adding: “MPS suppliers could help bridge the gap between today’s paper-based and tomorrow’s digital business processes.”
Digitisation efforts set to increase Digitisation efforts are set to increase significantly by 2025. MPS is a key enabler for expanding solutions sales and according to Quocirca’s research, SMBs are ready to make the investment over the next seven years.
Mobility, changing workforce expectations and customer preferences for seamless interactions, are pushing SMBs to improve efficiency, agility and productivity to stay ahead.
“While digital technologies undoubtedly offer unlimitless potential, optimising tools and processes can be a daunting task for SMBs and often there may be a lack of strategic oversight to guide digital initiatives,” Fernandes explained.
She added: “Digital transformation can provide the competitive edge an SMB needs. However, new ways of interacting need integrating into existing workflows that extend across business processes from the workplace, to the homes and mobile devices of both employees and customers.
“Providing digital workflow services will not just deliver new revenue streams to MPS providers, but more in-depth relationships with their SMB customers.”
A familiar concept
SMBs are already familiar with the MPS concept. In Quocirca’s Global Print 2025 Report, almost two-thirds of the European SMBs that participated already use an MPS in some form. In particular, SMBs are becoming more receptive to as-a-service models, and cloud and subscription pricing are increasing in adoption – a trend that is in turn creating momentum for MPS.
“MPS is already widely used in the SMB market, but primarily as a basic print service,” Fernandes said, adding: “Whilst print is still in demand, volumes are declining, so the potential for most growth in the SMB market for MPS providers lies in the provision of digital work?ow services.”
According to Quocirca, a good starting point and one where SMBs can make quick inroads, is the digitisation of paper-based processes – or document work?ow automation.
The majority of SMBs interviewed by Quorcirca were aligned on the need to scan all paper documents. With networked MFPs today offering more advanced and sophisticated document capture and work?ow capabilities, this is a clear sign that SMBs can leverage these devices for workplace productivity – to support both print and digital document needs.
“By streamlining paper-dependent business processes, and minimising manual tasks, SMBs can benefit from increased accessibility of information, better collaboration and enhanced security. This paves the way for SMBs to communicate, collaborate and work smarter,” Fernandes stated.
A significant opportunity Fernandes argues that the appetite for digitisation coupled with a continued need to use paper in certain circumstances, is a significant opportunity for MPS providers to articulate a clear proposition around integrated paper and digital workflow services and solutions.
“With basic MPS offerings becoming increasingly commoditised, document workflow software and associated services can provide MPS providers with a lucrative extension to existing contracts, along with an opportunity to build longer-term customer relationships. As such, an effective managed print service can provide the foundation for future SMB digital transformation,” she said in conclusion.
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