As yet another year draws to a close, the leading print OEMs share thoughts on what 2022 will hold for the print and IT sectors
Dave Prezzano, Managing Director UK & Ireland, HP Inc.
“There are three key trends and opportunities we see for the channel – security, sustainability and data intelligence.
“Firstly, cybersecurity teams will need to prioritise security that is fit for purpose for the hybrid worker. Research shows 70 per cent of employees globally want flexible working options to continue post pandemic, and nine out of ten organisations will be combining remote and on-site working in the future.
“The move to hybrid work ushered in a new age of shadow IT, and as cybercrime activity grew both in frequency and sophistication throughout 2021, organisations focused on built-in protection, from the silicon to the cloud.
“Often overlooked, printers can be a vulnerability for both centralised and distributed workforces, with 45 per cent of ITDMs seeing evidence of compromised printers being used as an attack point in the past year. HP Wolf Security combines hardware-enforced security that’s built into the endpoint with isolation and deep learning-based protection providing resilience against conventional attacks during the life of your printer, laptop, or desktop. For example, the HP Managed Print Flex, a new cloud-first MPS subscription designed for the hybrid work environment, allows users to maximise productivity with a secure and scalable solution for the home and office. The Wolf Security pack ensures the hardware (the endpoints) are configured with the right security settings, and with HP Roam, workers can print securely from virtually anywhere.
“Securing print endpoints not only protects the company but also ensures IT/security teams have time to focus on training and protecting employees, who inadvertently can be one of the biggest threats to cybersecurity in the workplace. In response to evolving threats, we can expect to see an increased investment across the wider industry in tools, training and hardware designed to offer multi-layered solutions to protect users, businesses and brands.
“The second key trend surrounds sustainability. Environmental policies are gaining momentum, especially with focused attention at COP26, coupled with increasingly eco-conscious customers. Our data shows that over 50 per cent of corporate customers transitioned to sustainable print solutions in 2020, and 81 per cent of print service providers are seeing ‘green’ print solutions as ‘more important’ than ever before. As end customers demand sustainable solutions, we can expect to see a greater market share for partners that have a dedicated focus on promoting environmentally friendly solutions.
“Next year, we will continue to see the industry develop products, services and consumables designed with sustainability in mind. For example, in another step in its commitment to climate action, HP launched the world’s most comprehensive carbon neutral managed print services offering. This service helps customers optimise their printer fleets, cut paper waste and improve resource efficiency. Our latest devices in large format printing – the HP DesignJet Pro and PageWide XL Pro ranges – are fully compatible with HP Eco Carton cartridges, which contain 80 per cent less plastic and are rated as ENERGY STAR 3.0 compliant, meaning they use less energy.
“Companies wanting to remain competitive and viable beyond this decade are redefining their priorities to be focused on accelerated and expansive change that is better for the planet.
“Finally, this year it’s become evident that data intelligence is one of the core components to future-proofing business success. With worldwide data usage expected to reach a staggering 175 zettabytes by 2025, businesses that prioritise data at the centre of their vision and strategy are 58 per cent more likely to beat their revenue goals than non-data driven companies. HP recently unveiled HP Amplify Data Insights, a new partner platform designed to turn data analytics into rich insights that inspire new strategies, steer innovation, and anticipate customer needs. By bringing data-driven insights to every customer conversation, HP’s partners can deliver unique, digital-first experiences that satisfy customers’ current demands and anticipate future needs. As insights become the new currency for business, partners who leverage data effectively will cement themselves as dynamic, trusted sellers.”
Terry Caulfield, General Manager, Brother UK
“Reviewing the working arrangements introduced when offices reopened will be a priority for many businesses in the new year. And this will focus at least partly on how they use technology to help employees work more securely, productively and cost-effectively across multiple locations.
“Vendors and the channel should jump at the chance to conduct new needs-based assessments for customers. We know that IT leads expect the shift to hybrid to be a permanent one – our research found that they expect less than two thirds (64 per cent) of employees to be commuting five days a week in two years’ time. And businesses will look to transform their work spaces and, in turn, their print and scan networks as they plan for the long-term in the new world of work.
“We expect a sharp rise in demand for managed print services, given the flexibility they provide businesses to scale-up their print estates, keep their print network up-to-date, efficient and secure, support better cost forecasting and enhance remote monitoring capabilities.
“Demand for public, private and hybrid cloud services will continue to grow and evolve as workers continue to work and print from anywhere. But four in five IT decision-makers told us they’re worried about network security for employees working remotely and connected to company systems. This concern will boost demand for document management systems like Kofax and cloud-native tools such as Microsoft Universal Print, which can help underpin security if you’re working in the office, a co-working space or at your kitchen table.
“Many firms have outsourced responsibility to employees for buying tech for the home office. But growing security worries will likely see this change in the year ahead. Putting procurement in the hands of employees less au fait with sometimes complex requirements introduces new vulnerabilities and presents an opportunity for partners to provide close counsel to these firms, which will help to both strengthen relationships and safeguard their customers.” www.brother.co.uk
James Pittick, Director of B2B Indirect Sales, Canon UK & Ireland
“Hybrid working will continue to play a key role in changing the work landscape as we enter the new year. This continued workplace evolution will bring challenges for businesses and opportunities for partners.
“Partners will need to continue to offer products and services that assist customers when they are working from home, the office, or any other environment. Cloud technologies will provide much of the backbone of these products and services and bring the ability to manage dispersed workforces. Endpoint security across devices and platforms will also be a particularly important growth area, as customers will want to enable safe and efficient working practices.
“In 2022, customers will also look to invest in robotic process automation to streamline operational tasks and save costs, enabling employees to carry out higher value, customer focused activities.
“Overall, the new year will still have its challenges as we continue to adapt to hybrid working. However, for the savvy partner there are growth opportunities and reasons to be positive regarding the outlook for 2022 and beyond.” www.canon.co.uk
Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp Europe
Office working to bring short-term respite for decline of print. “The decline of print has long been anticipated by both suppliers and analysts, though we have seen some recovery over the past twelve months. This has been due to some pandemic-driven factors, including a backlog of delayed purchases and businesses refreshing their fleets as some normality returns.
“The long-term reality is that print volumes will continue to decline, but this has been put into flux by more people returning to the office. The shift from office working to remote working, and now to hybrid working, has left businesses still trying to get the right balance for their print support. Once businesses have determined how often teams will be working in the office again, we’ll see just how central print is to companies and their day-to-day needs.
Security services to become cornerstone of IT offering. “The IT space will continue to be very important for suppliers in 2022, especially as the industry looks to improve its offering beyond print services. Where hardware manufacturers have been hampered by supply chain issues, IT service providers have enjoyed a period of high demand and fast growth. IT has been a big winner in the time of COVID-19 and the need for scalable services is only increasing as many businesses adapt to support a hybrid workforce.
Robust security is a key part of this, and for the whole infrastructure of a business. “Cybersecurity is of course important to all businesses, and the effects of the pandemic (such as IT staff shortages) has increased reliance on suppliers to provide holistic protection. With hybrid working especially, the IT infrastructure of most businesses has extended to employees’ homes and the number of vulnerable endpoints has risen significantly – increasing opportunities for bad actors. Now is the time for suppliers to incorporate security into their other services, such as physical and cyber protection policies for print hardware. It is an area of growth that I expect to see many customers looking to their suppliers for help with in 2022.
Pandemic disruption leaves suppliers and customers looking to annuity based packages. “The demands of the pandemic have led to businesses prioritising flexibility in their print and IT services. Similarly, the uncertainty of the past two years has left suppliers looking to the financial benefits of annuitybased subscription offerings. Prior to the pandemic, there was a clear trend toward ‘X as a service’ models from print suppliers as customers looked for greater flexibility managing their associated print costs. There is now an imperative for suppliers to extend these annuity-based, XaaS offerings to beyond print in order to secure new reliable revenue streams.
“This has largely been driven by the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, with businesses looking for support that can be scaled easily in case of any future lockdowns or other significant changes to working. This is the case for both hardware and software, and this service model will remain crucial over the coming years.
Simplification of cloud management for customers to become more important. “The evolution of cloud-based end point management systems has provided many benefits for both customers and suppliers. For customers, there is IT simplification and predictive support; for suppliers, there is greater insight into customer usage and data that can lead to the refinement of services and products. However, with businesses likely to use more than one supplier, dealing with multiple management platforms could become confusing and burdensome.
“As we head into 2022, the value of a singular cloud management platform for all devices and services will be more apparent. For example, the sheer scale of IT endpoints in the hybrid workplace makes a clear case for consolidation of these management systems. This will be key to improving the customer experience, especially for suppliers that look beyond print to collaboration & digital signage display solutions and IT services, like Sharp.” www.sharp.co.uk