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Is cloud technology firmly in the mainstream?

Organisations are at different points on their cloud journey and it’s fair to say that it’s certainly not a case of all or nothing for the majority

PrintIT Reseller: The benefits of cloud computing such as not having to invest in and maintain hardware; flexibility and scalability; quick deployment, customisable features and zero upfront costs; to name a few, are well-documented; but there are also several barriers to adoption. What do you see as the biggest barriers to cloud adoption and how does your offering address them?

David Jenkins, CEO, “There is to some extent, a level of inertia within organisations who have yet to embrace the cloud – a mind-set of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. But from our perspective, potential customers are looking for answers to three key questions. The first and most important is that any cloud-based print management platform compares like-for- like to legacy on-premise solutions – by that I mean the experience for end-users is seamless, IT admins need to know there is parity in terms of the feature-set and functionality, and finally, that the adoption cycle and migration path is easy, painless and as automated as possible.

“The second thing is how much does it cost? It’s key that vendors can demonstrate the RoI and clear cost advantages of migrating print to the cloud. For some organisations, that will be an easy case to make, as the past two years has seen many move core infrastructure to the cloud to support a distributed workforce and they’re already realising the long-term savings and efficiency gains that cloud can bring. But there are many firms where it’s less clear at this stage that moving everything to the cloud is beneficial to the bottom line.

“Thirdly, it’s about enabling choice. As an ISV in the cloud print management space, we can empower customers to make independent choices around hardware and software solutions moving forward. A vendor-neutral solution empowers IT leads to deploy the best hardware and software to support their business’ long-term goals, rather than having to compromise on cost or functionality because of compatibility issues with legacy technology for example.”

Mark Bailey


Mark Bailey, Managing Director, EBM Managed Services: “In the SME arena where we specialise, we see multiple barriers to cloud adoption. A couple of common themes are surprisingly not technical-related.

“The first one is creating a simple and clear IT strategy and getting all the stakeholders on board with the strategy. In an SME, the IT responsible person, sets out to ‘go cloud’ without really defining the end goals. Often diving into technical endeavours before defining clear end goals and benefits for the business. When presenting their plan to the stakeholders without a clear and concise strategy, they often encounter resistance when the stakeholders don’t fully understand the end objective and the benefits. This brings us onto the second common theme we find in SMEs – security.

“Having physical hardware on- premise seems to give SMEs some comfort that they can see and touch the device. When you remove that physical comfort, they get very nervous about security. Whilst moving to any IT infrastructure has its security risks, capitalising on large-scale security environments such as Microsoft 365, will naturally provide greater security than if you hosted this yourself.

“The third common and unfortunately complex obstacle we find is legacy software systems. CRMs, ERPs, SAP, whatever the acronym, some form of software which acts as the spine in the business which runs most processes. Clients’ over reliance on these systems sees them become outdated and much larger beasts to migrate to a cloud infrastructure, than should they have done them progressively had they kept up with leading software innovations. Sometimes we see business go extreme and set up their new cloud infrastructure with a new software system and abandon the legacy software, starting afresh.”

Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith, Chief Information and Strategy Officer, Kyocera: “As we have seen the change to cloud technology become mainstream, we have also seen the evolution of roles within the IT department. Increasingly we are seeing the need for IT leaders to manage contracts in greater depth, including their technical detail, but also their commercial approach and service level agreement. There is a need for IT leaders to upskill to bridge the gap between procurement and IT in managing these different types of contracts.

“We see this as a key change and trend but the biggest barriers – or perhaps challenges – we also see for IT leaders are based around data and cybersecurity. Increasingly, data is being understood as the currency of business and importantly, businesses are understanding the value of their data and that of their customers. Greater demand being placed on data placement, ownership, control, transparency and flexibility, both in SaaS models and cloud in general, will continue to be a key hurdle as cloud adoption continues.

“It is not new that IT leaders want to know how cloud providers are taking care of IT security. However, with today’s threat landscape and the belief that it’s ‘when’ you are attacked rather than ‘if’, greater emphasis is being placed on ‘ownership’ of the cybersecurity agenda within cloud services, such as how this is governed and evidenced. This will be a key area of focus for cloud providers and customers alike as adoption trends continue.”

Henning Volkmer


Henning Volkmer, President & CEO, ThinPrint Inc: “The devil is in the cloud’s detail. Email accounts, word processing or CRMs are comparatively easy to set up in the cloud. But when the cloud needs to connect to resources local to the user, interact with parties outside one’s own organisation, bridge silos within an organisation or satisfy a very specific use case, things tend to get a little trickier. Data may need to travel from the internet into the user’s network – without compromising security – or data may need to be in a different format so it can be processed by the next party or data may need to be sent to a third-party’s network that the user is not even part of.

“With ezeep we concentrate fully on one aspect which people are looking to shift to the cloud – printing. Our solution provides a secure, flexible and highly adaptable cloud print platform while ensuring that all the potential difficulties mentioned above never cause a problem. Between the ezeep Cloud and the ezeep Hub – a solid-state micro-appliance that can act as a local endpoint on the receiving network without permanently

opening ports or having to do other networking magic – we can process and deliver print jobs from Macs, PCs, smartphones and tablets like iPads, virtual desktops like Azure Virtual Desktop, backend systems like ERPs and even other cloud services through the ezeep API or ezeep.js plug-in and deliver them to the office, home office, a remote site, a customer’s site or systems or wherever they are needed.

“ezeep helps us bridge the gap between digital and physical worlds just as much as it helps connect different digital estates.”

Steve Holmes


Steve Holmes, EMEA Regional Director, PaperCut: “When organisations start thinking about the move to cloud, they often cite concerns around security, integration issues, lack of internal expertise and making trade-offs on the solution stack.

“Print is just one function that organisations can migrate to the cloud, and, for many, it makes sense to do given that print needs to be secure, easy to manage and suitable for today’s hybrid working models. The goal is simple enough; reduce the need for on-premise print servers and supporting resources by leveraging a cloud platform. PaperCut’s solution portfolio offers customers a range of cloud options whether that is hosting PaperCut MF in a private cloud or utilising public cloud solutions, such as PaperCut Hive or PaperCut Pocket. Those solutions deliver on the goal to remove onsite infrastructure, enabling customers to achieve their cost reduction and sustainability goals, whilst also addressing other challenges such as hybrid working and security concerns.”

Gary Mellor


Gary Mellor, Professional Service Manager, Sharp UK: “Whilst cloud adoption has been increasing rapidly, some businesses are finding that there are barriers holding them back. Three of the biggest barriers that we’ve identified are lack of internal knowledge, security concerns and cost.

“First and foremost, businesses and their employees need to understand
the benefits that the cloud can bring, in addition to how simple cloud-based tools can be. We work closely with our customers, sharing experience and providing ideas and options around private and public cloud, hybrid and full cloud-based environments. We always look to understand our customers and offer the best fit solution for the customers’ strategy and environment. We work with the business leaders to help them understand the value that cloud can provide, as well as the IT team to talk techy, share the options available and explain how cloud can both help the business and themselves as the people who support and administer the IT function.

“Secondly, the correct level of security is critical when developing a cloud-based environment. We ensure that the solutions offered meet the security requirements of the customer and we work with our customers to ensure that they understand the security that our solutions can provide to their business, users and data. We look to educate, provide peace of mind and share experiences of other similar customers. The pre-sales team also support customers with security-focused meetings, where they explain how the solutions available can strengthen the security of a business and the technologies that are on offer.

“Lastly, it is important for any business to understand the full potential cost savings that they could achieve through the adoption of cloud-based services.
This includes the additional costs that are obtained through the removal of on-premise infrastructure and additional software, support and services that have been historically required. At first sight, subscription-based SaaS solutions can appear expensive compared to on- premise perpetual license alternatives and we ensure that all costs are considered – ensuring a true cost comparison.”

“Lastly, it is important for any business to understand the full potential cost savings that they could achieve through the adoption of cloud-based services.
This includes the additional costs that are obtained through the removal of on-premise infrastructure and additional software, support and services that have been historically required. At first sight, subscription-based SaaS solutions can appear expensive compared to on- premise perpetual license alternatives and we ensure that all costs are considered – ensuring a true cost comparison.”

Gabriela Garner_


Gabriella Garner, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Kofax: “The biggest barriers are based on misconceptions. The cloud isn’t as secure as on-premises – in fact, cloud is more secure because the customer will have SOC/ISO compliancy, as well as industry and geo-political requirements like GDPR and HIPAA. While security in the cloud is important, application security is equally important, and this is where Kofax adds significant value. Security is at the forefront of our solutions, where Kofax offers multiple levels of security including document encryption, document storage in customers’ secure cloud, Azure AD authentication/Google Workspace, zero trust network to name a few. In addition, our secure print functionality controls access to printers and MFPs, ensures document confidentiality, and so on.

“It’s cheaper to run on-premises and with less control is another common misconception. However, the solution is being managed in the cloud for the customer. The IT department will have more time as they aren’t managing upgrades/patches or having to stay updated on the latest security exploits. This leads to a better TCO when running in the cloud vs. on-premises.

“Being in the cloud doesn’t give me the flexibility for deployments and features that my organisation needs. It’s too complex. – another misconception. It’s possible cloud apps may have some limitations due to native cloud considerations. However, Kofax manages this with providing feature-rich print management that can be deployed in a hybrid environment for the use cases that require extended features and functionality. For instance, integrations with cloud-based apps with on-premises based solutions to extend all customer use cases and feature concerns. This flexibility then allows the customer to migrate on their timeline.”

Mark Ash


Mark Ash, Chief Revenue Officer, Konica Minolta: “Unfortunately, one potential barrier to cloud print adoption is the possibility of it being overlooked
in the first place! Whilst the benefits of cloud hosting have become particularly evident since the pandemic, some businesses still manage to overlook their vital print function when they migrate to a cloud-based approach. This leaves this critical function running on local servers with limited functionality and inflexible working options, not to mention the cost and inconvenience of having to maintain infrastructure and the associated systems at each location.

“In some instances, there can also be a reluctance to embrace a cloud print approach due to concerns over security, but ironically one of the biggest potential issues with some legacy print systems is their lack of adequate protection. Data is the most valuable thing that any business owns (even print-related data) and its security must be paramount. To address this, our fully secure and affordable cloud print solution not only unburdens the in-house IT team and makes the full provision of print services seamless, but it also enables a full zero trust policy to be implemented to ensure the strictest security using a modern datacentre that is fully hardened to attack.

“Our cloud print solution datacentre is certified in accordance with ISO 270015 and full GDPR compliance, along with end-to-end encryption of data and the use of different locations for the main and backup data centres, ensuring continuity in the event of a disaster. Added to these, all the facilities have 24/7 monitoring, an uninterruptible power supply and automatic security updates – all of which an in-house print server and network would struggle to achieve on a realistic budget.”

Adam Bishop


Adam Bishop, CRO, EveryonePrint: “The hardest barrier to overcome is customer awareness of how their problems are solved and their requirements determined. It’s about customers understanding their options in the market – and making that decision is much harder today since the upgrade is a completely new product, not just a change in price or characteristics.

“Cloud software abides to various security requirements and protecting confidential data and printer users is crucial – so customers know data remains safe. Hybrid Cloud Platform (HCP) is designed for zero trust, and a lot of risk is dodged with a cloud service offering features suitable even for a zero trust environment. HCP complies with well-renowned security standards and is ISO-27001 certified.

“People can utilise services available anytime from anywhere using any device with an online connection. High availability is one of HCPs greatest features, being hosted on AWS in five locations with three availability zones each. This ties into data sovereignty, as HCP meets data sovereignty requirements on data residency and localisation for all locations.

“Infrastructure flexibility is a big issue for print customers. With HCP, customers choose from public cloud, on-premise private cloud, or a combination of both. The infrastructure can scale up or down and seamlessly integrate with existing architectures. This makes businesses and IT departments more agile. Additionally, many believe that migrating to cloud has to take a long time. For some solutions, that’s true – for others, absolutely not. Moving your print to a cloud environment can be done in just ten minutes with HCP.”

Craig Pratt


Craig Pratt, Regional Sales Director, CMYK Digital: “CMYK is a managed IT and cloud services provider and has been for many years. We have been driving clients to adopt cloud services for some time and its very much business as usual for our teams.

“The benefits of cloud adoption can easily become the barriers, for example quick deployment, zero upfront costs, investment in hardware, these are
all great benefits financially, but this shouldn’t be seen as the driver to adopt
a cloud working environment. For some clients this can be a substantial culture change within their business, moving business critical data from a perceived physical location to the cloud. This change takes an amount of consultancy, ‘hand holding’ and scoping to ensure the roll- out is done correctly and efficiently.

“The migration is absolutely key to successful end-user adoption – this takes a degree of time to scope and deploy. Rolling a service out fast doesn’t naturally put your organisation in a better position, it needs structure, security, usability, accessibility to ensure it’s well received by end-users and manageable moving forward. That’s how our offering is different, we consult, we guide, and we add value – as a Microsoft Certified Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and a SaaS specialist with many other vendors we need to ensure the benefits don’t become the barriers. COVID as we know had a great deal of influence on organisations’ mind-sets around cloud adoption, mainly because organisations had no other option but to adopt cloud technologies to ensure they could continue to operate effectively.”

James Overton


James Overton, Director, SOS Systems: “If you go back maybe five years or so, some of the businesses we were engaging with had reservations around the location of datacentres, the security in general of their data, and levels of encryption. There were also far more instances of outages than there are now. Therefore, generally we aren’t seeing a massive resistance to cloud adoption, as most companies seem to be moving towards it. I would say that public sector bodies and secure government facilities however are sometimes reluctant to use cloud and I am not sure that will ever change.”

Stuart Mabe


Stuart Mabe, Service Delivery Manager, Brother UK: “There’s some inertia in the market over cloud migration of print infrastructure as businesses’ IT leads have been pulled in all directions over the last two years. Due to these disruptions, they have had to prioritise other projects, such as rolling out and monitoring remote working technology.

“However, we know that enhancing security, boosting productivity, and achieving cost-efficiencies are key goals in business IT. So, there’s work to be done in the sector to boost understanding of cloud migration in print as an effective solution to these goals – giving IT leads with less mature cloud strategies better reason to lift it up their list of priorities.

“For example, cloud solutions remove the need to store and license on-premise servers in order to run printers, which costs customers almost £4,000 a year, according to Gartner.

“Cloud solutions also enhance the security of the documents themselves, as they enable IT leads to keep track of what documents are being printed, stop confidential documents being printed and set rules to help further manage print jobs.

“A lack of compatibility between different vendors and print management solutions has also presented barriers to cloud adoption. This has historically made it challenging for IT leads running larger print fleets, using machines
from different vendors to integrate all devices successfully.”

Neil MacDonald


Neil MacDonald, UK & Ireland Channel Director, HP Inc: “Given the wide variance between cloud offerings and the vast spectrum of customer requirements, it’s critical that we always engage technical consultants to understand the customer requirements and fit solutions accordingly. A one-size approach will not fit all.

“The package we recommend will come down to the needs of the customer and there are many factors that can influence this, not limited to how the customers’ policies dictate the handling and residency of data and bandwidth usage. In these circumstances, HP SecurePrint is a convenient solution that works with customers to understand requirements alongside IT/data policies, which will inform the print solution put forward. HP SecurePrint can be architected to split control data and print data, keeping the customer documents within the customers’ IT system. Not only does this approach limit the bandwidth usage and latency if the customer has poor connection, but it also reassures them no sensitive data will leave their environment.”

Simon Hill V


Simon Hill, Managing Director EMEA & APAC, Vasion: “A variety of reasons for not moving to the cloud have come up in conversations with customers, but there are three types we hear most often. The first is the initial investment. Although cloud technology is generally cheaper over time, there are many ‘sunk costs’ with print servers and their management. Another concern is the perceived lack of control and availability with cloud offerings. The most common reasons, however, are security and compliance issues.

“PrinterLogic is an affordable cloud-based SaaS print solution. Most companies see an RoI in just the first year of using our serverless printing platform. We also offer management features with a centralised dashboard and excellent uptime thanks to our direct IP printing infrastructure. And with segmented and segregated network services, data is secure and fits in naturally with a zero trust model. That allows companies to focus resources on other security needs without worrying about print vulnerabilities.

“As humans we don’t like change. Ultimately, we need to give customers confidence and reassure them that they can trust in a true cloud-native solution over their current on-premise server products. This is the next step in the evolution of IT.”

Nigel Eaton, UK General Manager, MyQ: “In general, many users are talking about the cloud, but they are not sure what are they looking for. Often, they just want a serverless solution but are not aware of all its pros and cons.

“End-users often expect the same range of services and feature sets as an on-premise solution would provide. However, the cloud concept is different – you can easily compare desktop Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365: it is a similar product at its core but with different functionalities and logic how to use. It is more about flexibility and resilience than about functionalities which were must-haves in the past e.g. users policies and restrictions.

“We can meet the needs of all types of customers. For those who are just looking for a serverless solution, we can offer the MyQ X product installed
in a private/hybrid cloud with both perpetual and subscription licensing. We are also ready to support customers that are interested in a public cloud with a multi-tenant architecture, for which MyQ prepared the SaaS product, MyQ Roger.”

Tony Lomax


Tony Lomax, North EMEA Product Marketing Manager, Lexmark: “For many businesses, moving toward cloud technology can seem daunting. Changing the attitudes and behaviours of staff to embrace a new way of working that will be fully adopted is one of the main challenges. Equally, there are concerns around the security of confidential documents and cost, as there is an initial investment in the infrastructure.

“Lexmark works with customers closely to ensure the business as staff
are fully educated on Lexmark’s cloud technology and familiarise people with simple processes that ensure the adoption of new technology is high. Lexmark’s security features provide that confidential information is safe and secure. Cloud printing enables secure print release across an organisation, protecting confidential output from interception and saving the cost and waste of unclaimed prints. Cloud Fleet Management also relieves the pressure and resources needed to run a print infrastructure.

“Centralised data collection and detailed reporting about printing, copying and scanning across a business help identify problems and gain insights for informed decision-making. The more insights a business has access to, the more informed decisions it can make – saving time and money in the long run.”

Janis Kemers, VP Print & Supplies Europe, Tech Data: “A business’ commercial model, operational and financial flow are one whole package. The cloud managed print ecosystem needs to catch-up with virtual software services – hardware vendors, distributors, resellers, software solutions, logistics, financial services providers have to align. The ecosystem becomes more complex when several parties are involved to enable the desired seamless and fully flexible environment.

“MPS was probably the first successfully executed as-a-service business model in the industry, but also a failure at the same time because of its complexity and lack of transparency. It has also mainly been commercialised by specialist resellers or vendors directly, and not available via a broad reseller base.

“To solve this Tech Data invested in OpenMPS, a cloud-based services platform that allows resellers to offer MPS tailored to their business needs, to close competence gaps and retain their own strategy, commercial model, financial flow, and end-user relations. Tech Data enables value co-creation and does the heavy lifting by providing the OpenMPS platform to align with specific reseller requirements.

“This makes a huge difference, for example, resellers no longer need to worry about complex profitability models, number of pages printed by the end-user, inventory, and operations management. Individual resellers receive exactly the support that they need, and Tech Data works with its vendor partners to secure the best conditions possible.”

Next issue, we’ll explore how vendors are helping channel partners to deliver dedicated cloud print management services and hear from resellers already capitalising on the opportunity.