PrintIT Reseller caught up with Toni Gibiino, Marketing Director, ABC Managed Services to find out more about how the company has evolved from a managed print services provider to one that dilivers technology-as-a-service
ABC Managed Services was borne out of a desire to simply look after its customers, and with a strong client retention rate, it’s a promise it has obviously delivered on.
Headquartered in Congleton, Cheshire, ABC, which serves customers nationwide, also has offices in Stoke Prior, Redditch as well as Castle Donnington. It opened a new base in the East Midlands just six months ago and has already moved into larger premises as a direct result of business growth.
ABC’s portfolio is comprehensive and includes content management, visual displays, print and document solutions, security and door access solutions, and unified communications. IT services is another key component of its offer. “We entered the IT services arena after acquiring a specialist IT services company,” Gibiino explained, adding: “Integrating this expertise into the business placed us in a much stronger position to win new business in the IT and security arenas.”
More recently it partnered with unified communications provider 8×8 which has just launched a series of new capabilities to its 8×8 X Series cloud-based technology platform for business communications and contact centre. The new capabilities include advanced speech analytics, an enhanced integration framework, and real-time dashboards which help businesses of all sizes to accelerate growth by improving communication experiences between employees and customers.
“As a managed service provider we strive to become our clients’ technology partner, providing them with a one-stop service that meets all of their technology needs,” Gibiino said. “That’s why we are continually shaping our offer to ensure we continue to meet changing customer requirements.”
ABC has now restructured its business and transformed its entire go to market strategy by becoming a technology-as-a-service provider. “Our clients look to us to recommend solutions that will enable them to become more efficient across their entire business – whether that’s via new printing devices, document management solutions or video conferencing,” Gibiino said.
“The point is that they don’t need to get hung up on the hardware. What we’ve done is move away from the traditional siloed approach to providing a managed print service contract for example, largely funded as a CapEx project, to providing everything they want and need ‘as-a-service’ – and by that I mean for a fixed monthly fee per user.”
Essentially ABC’s new customer centric approach is structured so that it can address customer needs in three key areas:
Workﬂow: managed print services including a full suite of software solutions to streamline, improve and secure document workﬂows.
Workplace: from energy audits and PAT testing; supply, delivery and installation of a whole suite of AV and digital signage solutions; to room management systems, interactive touch panels alongside Access Control Systems and IP based CCTV solutions.
Workforce: end to end tailored IT services spanning hardware from mail servers to file and print servers, to cloud storage and Software-as-a-Service, through to network infrastructure provision, VOIP telephony, video conferencing and communication systems.
Flexible, future-proof and scalable “The real value-add is that clients can essentially bolt-on additional services, increase the number of users, upgrade to the latest hardware or software versions, or build in new equipment as and when they need to – for an additional fee. It’s ﬂexible, future-proof and fully scalable,” Gibiino explained.
ABC trialled the new concept with a number of long-standing clients prior to rolling out company-wide. “It was time for change, the cost per copy billing model for print is outdated, it’s a legacy of the OEMs and not geared to deliver what end-user customers now want or need,” Gibiino said.
He continued: “The proof of concept stage went extremely well. It wasn’t a huge step-change for clients, as consumers we have all bought into the subscription economy and IT professionals are already accustomed to purchasing IT services on a seat-based billing model. Extending this concept into other areas of the business makes sense and that fact that technology investments can be funded as OpEx has been really well received.”
The concept also stacks up for the sales team. “I firmly believe that the OEM model of rewarding partners with rebates based on unit sales is broken. In order to attract and retain good people you have to reward on service and solutions and not just on box sales. We changed our employee pay model some time ago and whilst this fresh approach required some minor tweaking, our people are on board and excited to roll it out to our wider customer base,” Gibiino explained.
A natural progression
From ABC’s perspective, providing technology-as-a-service was a natural progression. It already offers ABC Connect which enables clients to bolt on five additional service packs onto conventional MPS contracts. These include:
ABC Control enhances the scanning, workﬂow and security of scanned data, helping organisations achieve seamless workﬂows and processes from MFPs.
ABC Secure safeguards the document and print environment and includes Standard, Plus and Premium packages.
ABC Productivity helps organisations achieve a more ﬂexible approach to using the print devices and the data produced by them.
ABC Assist from remote monitoring of the print estate through to restoring hard drives on printers supports a business’ technical printing requirements, maximising the availability and functionality of all devices across the business.
ABC Eco services include energy consumption analysis, toner recycling stations and collections, through to environmental settings on print devices.
“We have plans to remodel that offer so it wraps around all of the business technologies we provide,” Gibiino added. “We are an MSP, but around two-thirds of our revenue comes from print. That allows us to bolt-on new services. Getting new business is tough and margins on print are at an all-time low, we want to retain our existing customers. That’s why we are doing this, our business is about service – that’s what we provide – and the way we have approached this restructure is to ensure recurring revenue, increased client stickiness and a fast return.”
In order to communicate this fresh and different approach ABC has launched a brand new website. “The new site has been months in the planning and has been crafted to clearly articulate our service offering,” Gibiino explained, adding: “We have also rebranded as ABC Managed Services, a move that illustrates the shift away from print toward technology-as-a-service.”
The new website will include a new client portal where customers can log in to access contract details, current news and information as well as find out about new services. “We will also be running an active blog posting lots of fresh and relevant content designed to help our customers realise further efficiencies in their businesses,” he added.
The business is growing, there are a number of further acquisitions on the cards and plans to increase headcount within the sales function. “We are a very progressive company and with this new approach, we are proactively responding to market demand,” Gibiino said in conclusion.