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Print management is moving to the cloud… our expert panel give us their thoughts

Cloud-based print management is gaining momentum – 73 per cent of respondents to Quocirca’s Print 2025 study (second edition) expect to increase the use of cloud print management by 2025

Whilst the many perceived barriers to cloud adoption have not entirely disappeared, more and more organisations are embracing cloud to drive business efficiency and cut costs. PrintIT Reseller invited a panel of industry vendors to share how they can help channel partners to capitalise on the opportunity to deliver dedicated cloud print management services.

Adam Bishop, Strategic Marketing,

Channel vendors who are not already embracing the cloud should make it a focus for 2020. Cloud computing has come of age and many organisations have adopted cloud-first strategies. Extending the traditional MPS offer to include serverless cloud print management provides the opportunity for dealers to have conversations that are much more aligned with CIOs agendas.

When you frame the conversation around the topline benefits of making print a true outsourced service – simplifying the print infrastructure, eliminating print servers, automating time-intensive, manual tasks that don’t have a direct business value-add, and significantly reducing the burden on IT, senior decision-makers will sit up and take note.

Whilst MPS brings multiple business benefits, ongoing print management can still be a pain for IT – think supporting print servers, managing multiple printer drivers and security – keeping on top of patches, updates etc. all of these tasks take time and most importantly are chores that are not core to the customers’ business.

Cloud MPS frees up IT to focus on other areas, it delivers industry-leading security, enables consumption as a service, and provides a consistent user experience. Channel businesses that can deliver on that promise, have an opportunity to get deeper into their customers’ organisations.

From a dealers’ perspective, cloud print infrastructure solutions such as EveryonePrint Hybrid Cloud Platform can lower the cost to serve as well as create a new level of stickiness not to mention ongoing recurring revenue. There’s also a strong case to make in terms of motivating sales teams – cloud gives them the opportunity to change the narrative from devices, features and costs, to one that will differentiate them from the competition.

With a cloud-based print infrastructure whether it’s on-premise, private cloud or a mix of both, creating a print environment on the HCP multi-tenant platform can be done in a matter of minutes and, remotely. With HCP, partners can deploy and control the entire printing infrastructure from a single web-based interface, completing end-user fulfilment and device provisioning automatically. That dramatically slashes the time to install and removes the requirement to tie up expensive professional services staff on a customers’ site. Moreover it makes ongoing troubleshooting and management seamless, taking lots of unnecessary steps out of the process. If a problem is reported, partners can simply log on to the system, access the necessary information and resolve the issue, promptly and hassle-free.

Whilst in the main it is enterprises that are defining the scope, within the SMB sector, it is channel vendors who can really effect change and ultimately win new business. Moving print to the cloud really is a no-brainer – you’re providing customers with a future-proof, scalable and flexible solution that is always on, always up to date and always secure.

Martin Fairman, Managing Director UK & Ireland,

Martin Fairman
Martin Fairman


Channel resellers provide essential services in supporting and maintaining print infrastructure for their customers. As IT complexity continues to expand, they must attend to the needs of infrastructure complexities across numerous customers, requiring broad knowledge and expertise. Traditionally, whenever a printer broke down, resellers dispatched their engineers onsite nearly all of the time, irrespective of the level of issue – meaning the resulting travel-time is both an inefficient use of technician time and frustration for the customer waiting to get back online. Furthermore, each customer visit significantly limits partner profitability.

The core benefit of cloud print management is it enables resellers to reduce downtime and simplify device setup all while improving customer service and reducing costs. Remote repairs and software updates such as firmware upgrades mean resellers can provide a more proactive approach to servicing customers. Minor issues can be resolved remotely without requiring an engineer attending onsite, and analytics can identify problems before they occur, with engineers dispatched ahead of an issue occurring, in turn reducing downtime.

The management services and analytics tools that come with Lexmark Cloud Services provide partners with the capability to track page counts and supply usage in near real time, meaning the partner has the tools to help identify bottlenecks, maximise toner yield and minimise paper consumption. The partner can also place a message on touchscreens to inform end-users that service actions has been initiated, reducing tech support calls.

Carlo Longhi, Director of Channels,

Carlo Longhi
Carlo Longhi


Looking ahead, vendors must focus on showcasing the benefits of the cloud and providing a more flexible and collaborative approach for partners to take advantage of, as businesses continue to take the technological leap towards cloud services.

From a customer perspective, cloudbased solutions will help customers to meet the demands of mobile employees. We anticipate mobile workers to account for over half the workforce by 2025, with more than half of end-users expecting mobile print volumes to increase. Easy access to printing across locations and devices, offered by the cloud, means that organisations can enable employees to work from anywhere and let efficient processes – not technological limitations – define workflows.

In general, businesses have become more comfortable with the idea of using the cloud, as they lack space to install software. As part of any office print suppliers offering there is typically a need for print drivers, software to facilitate printing from mobile devices, print management software, and fleet monitoring software for MPS purposes. Historically, these would be installed on the client’s server. Today customers are demanding that this is delivered as an online service, without needing to install anything within their own infrastructure.

Xerox is able to offer all of these core software components that are developed entirely in-house and designed to be more intuitive collectively as a consequence. What’s more, Xerox’s offering is delivered entirely from the cloud with no requirement for any on-premise footprint.”

David Abiani, Head of Global Presales,

David Albiani
David Albiani

One Q Technologies

Cloud computing has gained huge momentum over the last ten years. Software vendors and partners can massively capitalise on this by introducing various SaaS pay-as-you-go models in addition to more traditional on-premise solutions.

Recent studies point to the fact that the cloud is not to be ignored. The global cloud market is predicted to grow from USD 272 billion in 2018 to USD 623.3 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.0 per cent, according to forecasts by MarketsandMarkets. Furthermore, cloud was the top investment priority, after finance and accounting for the 700 small and midsize businesses who participated in a Capterra survey in 2019-20.

Ignoring these numbers would be a missed opportunity for software developers, the channel and not least end customers.

Paul Birkett, Director Client Engagement, Commercial Services & Software,

Market and client insights inform our strategy. We see an increase in the number of clients interested in cloud options for services and solutions because of their digital transformation initiatives. At a time when our industry is ripe for disruption, HP intends to change the engagement model with secure cloud-enabled products, services and solutions.

As clients and consumers increasingly want accessible, secure, personalised services (everything as a service), the cloud enables such scalable, flexible choice. Information and experiences can be delivered wherever work and life happens. With a focus on outcomes, our strategic intent is to leverage HP and our partners’ technologies and expertise to help our customers accelerate innovation.

HP continues to be a trusted advisor in helping clients move their infrastructure management and related applications to the cloud – in order to serve the needs of a mobile, multigenerational workforce. HP and our partners enable print services and solutions to be securely cloud delivered and managed – with public, managed private and hybrid options available. Services include print management, document capture, content extraction and process automation.

Craig Parrish, Senior Marketing Manager,

Craig Parrish
Craig Parrish


Print may not be the leading driver as organisations digitalise and transition to the cloud, but rather an afterthought on the journey. Nonetheless, print is most relevant, when cloud first, mobile first companies realise that they still have print servers and in fact print less.

Customers are looking for a path to transition print infrastructure to a cloud-based solution and simplify print management. Likewise, they are also looking for business models that better reflect actual usage and consumption, rather than excessive license fees and maintenance costs.

The changes, including removing hardware costs, removing lock-in contracts, replacing complexity requiring service and support with automation and providing customer insight and transparency, threaten traditional revenue generating activities of many managed print service providers.

Understandably, managed print service providers and vendors have not been the first to adopt to the change, perhaps seeing the development more as disruption rather than opportunity. We invite you to rethink delivery of managed print services and your business model, to embrace the cloud and benefit from both new and renewed market opportunities.

One of our most interesting findings has been uncovering an untapped SMB market. Smaller companies and schools have not typically been a target market for MPS as the cost often outweighs the classic benefits. In this market, the main driver has been for cloud-based print infrastructure offered as a low-cost subscription-based service. This is a new opportunity to include SMB customers in your managed services portfolio and introduce an attractive recurring revenue business model, while keeping good print customers.

For SME and enterprise customers you will see the motivation for adopting cloud or hybrid cloud print solutions to be security, simplicity and cost in supporting multiple locations, global deployments and a mobile workforce. Often led by the desire to remove hardware as with email and file sharing, larger companies will also want to maintain and seek better ways to ensure secure printing, mobile printing, tracking print usage and reducing waste.

Data insight is key for any customer, to not only monitor usage but show actual total cost of ownership, even if print is not business critical. Customers will want access to live data, greater control and greater transparency in contracts. They are tired of buying new machines, oversized and underused for the job and inconvenient for staff to use those devices.

Printix can help harness the power of the cloud to amplify the value of print management. As a low touch, low risk product, there is no need for extensive technical training and certification to sell it. Proof of concepts (POC) are active, and in the cloud, they don’t require a lot of investment. You can quickly light up a trial for a customer and let them loose to play. Very little pre-sales technical help is required compared to an on-premise demonstration or POC. The ease of doing business, combined with partner discounts, will allow you to maintain attractive profit margins with Printix.

Pete Lunn, Sales Director,
Kyocera Document Solutions UK

Pete Lunn
Pete Lunn

The move towards cloud-based printing continues to gain momentum and, as we move into 2020, we expect to see an increasingly diverse range of print and document propositions become available. This will include the growth of consumption-based managed services and contracts that utilise the latest cloud platforms. Adapting to this pace of change will be vital for the channel over the next few years.

As revealed in Quocirca’s Print 2025 study (second edition) 76% of organisations believe that the digitisation of paper-based processes will be important by 2025, highlighting the significant shift to digital document management and a reduced reliance on paper. These statistics show most respondents are aware of the need to transition to more sustainable, secure and cost-effective document management processes.

The environment is clearly a priority, as 83 per cent expect sustainability to be important to their business by 2025, up from 73 per cent in 2019. Cloud printing and document management services will make print cheaper, more efficient and reduce its environmental impact. This will gather momentum as both the public and private sectors look to remove legacy technology, consolidate their existing print estates and streamline supplier contracts.

The potential of cloud technology to provide unprecedented flexibility and agility will be vital. Fully managed print services and document management in the cloud will also help to drive down CapEx, reducing overall costs while freeing up internal resources that can then be redistributed into more important areas. This presents a fantastic opportunity for channel partners involved in the sector.

Manufacturers and suppliers will need to re-evaluate their traditional sales processes and embrace change across their partner networks. As digital transformation increases, new solutions and services will become available, but these can be a cause of confusion and anxiety for businesses. Key decisionmakers and staff may be reluctant to adopt new technologies and embrace new ways of working, but the channel can help guide them through this process.

The Office of the Future: Survey Report 2019 identified that 92 per cent of public sector organisations will experience a high level of digital transformation in five years, moving towards smarter working. This correlates with the use of cloud computing which will aid flexible working from multiple locations without a negative impact on work, with 89 per cent having made some level of progress towards cloud computing, this will greatly support the current position and future progress towards smarter working initiatives.

It also found that although 81 per cent believe their organisations are in need to restructure their services to meet customer and user expectations, only 33 per cent expect to experience rapid cloud adoption in the same period. This suggests there is still a lack of confidence in the cloud, but this is where suppliers can leverage relationships with channel partners, not just in the public sector, but the private sector too.

To thrive in this rapidly changing landscape, ongoing collaboration and strategic partnerships, with a shared vision, will need to be built to win the trust of customers. End-users will be looking to the channel as trusted experts who can provide consultation and recommended the best configuration of systems, software and services. Suppliers need to ensure dealers and VARs are up to date with the latest innovations and can provide the right guidance and information.

A strong channel partnership will be best positioned to advise end-users on how to effectively migrate to the cloud and take advantage of the latest print and document services. Suppliers should focus on supporting their partner network so they are able to offer a broader range of services and build strong customer relationships, as this will be the key to success.

Kyocera has the experience and partnerships in place to recommend the best configuration of tools, technologies and processes for any organisation hoping to move towards a paper-light office. This can be achieved through the right combination of print management software, energy-efficient printers and MFPs, content services and document management systems. This is an area where Kyocera has a strong track record, both in providing the relevant products and expertise, and cultivating the channel relationships needed to maximise success.

Nicola Williams, Senior Business Manager,
Brother UK

Nicola Williams
Nicola Williams

We’re seeing an increasing number of businesses take to the cloud for their MPS needs as they optimise their IT assets. Our research of more than 200 IT decision-makers found that nearly half see the 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 significant opportunity. By using this technology and a vendor-led cloud solution, they can streamline customers’ as well as their own IT infrastructure and offer managed print solutions in all areas of their clients’ organisations, while realising new efficiencies.

Cloud-based data collection agents (DCAs) will enable MPS to be seamlessly integrated into systems without impacting existing IT assets – a key USP for IT decision-makers striving to optimise their networks. By partnering with a vendor, dealers will also be able to reduce the amount of upfront investment which would otherwise be required for developing the right infrastructure, from the programme interfaces to the server software, and the costs for ongoing maintenance.

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 dealers’ existing services and appear as if it comes directly from the partner, are now available to partners for cloud managed print. For example, they can invoice for all clicks that the MPS customer consumes, enabling the dealer to invoice the customer as they please – 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 admin from the dealer.

MPS is an arm of our business that has grown 200 per cent year on year. We owe this success to the 2,000 partners that are delivering managed print to customers Europe-wide.