Cloud services are re-writing the rule book when it comes to business operations and customer expectations. Managing IT infrastructure in the cloud make it easier for organisations to flex and scale, reduces costs, and increases employee efficiency and flexibility. For vendors, cloud services offer recurring revenue streams and increased customer stickiness
Adam Bishop, Chief Revenue Officer, EveryonePrint:
“I don’t believe that MPS providers will be able to recover from all of the losses as a result of the pandemic. The move to home working has changed the game – perhaps forever. The reality is that many individuals have simply got used to not having access to a quality printer and have changed the way in which they work and collaborate – with the new hybrid working model set to be the norm moving forward, I believe we will see the pattern of printing less continuing. That said, this disruption also creates opportunity.
“MPS providers now have to decide what kind of service provider they’re going to be. Whether that’s to continue to ‘limit’ their offering to a traditional MPS offering – hardware, toner, service etc. all wrapped up in a monthly billing cycle – a largely commoditised offering – or, to transform their go-to-market strategy and become a cloud MPS provider. Leading with a cloud-native solution will see channel vendors deliver all the benefits of traditional MPS, as well as taking care of the underlying infrastructure that supports print – providing customers with a solution to address many of the pain points associated with the print infrastructure as well as enabling them to flex and scale as business needs change. It seems inevitable that customers will continue the march to the cloud, and will be looking for providers that can take that headache away. Offering cloud services will help MPS providers to differentiate – which will be key to winning new business as we return to business in the new normal.”
Hugo Marqvorsen, Co-founder & Sales Director, Printix: “Admittedly, our initial traction as a cloud print service provider came from managed service providers (MSPs), who understood cloud. However, the print element of deployment is not typically in an MSP’s responsibility. They tend not to know about print drivers, how to configure printers, etc. But MPS providers have this deep print knowledge. A synergistic offering that leverages the skills of both MSPs and MPS providers offers lucrative opportunities in cloud print management.”
Christoph Hammer, Senior Vice President Cloud Services, ThinPrint: “Hybrid working is here to stay with most eligible employees likely working from places other than a corporate office three to five days a week. These employees need to print from home, from shared workspaces and corporate offices. MPS offerings have been successful by focusing on corporate offices. In the future that will not be sufficient. Unmanaged printing is a cost as well as a security challenge. While monitoring either in a corporate office network can be done with a number of tools, bringing printing in remote locations and home office into the managed and monitored corporate environment is a challenge. Cloud print services are best suited for addressing this challenge. Outside of the limitations from VPNs, network segmentation or access controls, they can make any printer part of the corporate print infrastructure.”
Kerry Rush, Product Manager, Sharp UK: “This is a difficult one. Many of the MFP providers – including Sharp – already offer access to cloud print, but I do feel that going forward it will be a necessary feature instead of a ‘nice to have’ or an add-on. It’s definitely a key consideration for MFP development to be able to offer access to cloud print and scanning with ease across all platforms. It is important for MPS providers to stay relevant and ensure they have a range of products and solutions that will support the way their customers want to work moving forward. We need to provide a value proposition that clients want to invest in.”
David Warrington, Client Services Director, Office Fox: “The pandemic obviously hit a lot of MPS providers whose revenues were solely focused on printed output. Across the board, printing volumes in the office steeply dropped. However, in most instances print just migrated to outside of the office. The flow and need to access information increased as agile working took hold. This did however offer more challenges as businesses needed a way to monitor, track, budget and obviously make that information secure.
“Cloud-based services will undoubtedly help the print channel secure some lost revenue streams but also help to access more technologies that can assist in the new normal. One of the biggest assets to MPS providers is their ability to adapt and capitalise on emerging opportunity, I believe we will be seeing a lot more cloud offerings and true consultancy-led sales to help organisations really benefit from the technology available.”
Steve Holmes, EMEA Regional Director, PaperCut: “MSPs who don’t offer cloud print services will not survive the digital transformation of business over the coming years.
“It’s not outside the realm of possibility that we’ll be working remotely or in a hybrid work model through 2021 and beyond. This means we’ll see teams bouncing between working in their office and working remotely, which in turn means businesses will continue to think about reducing their office footprint on a more permanent basis or even transition to shared office spaces. The reality for MSPs, is that they need to provide a flexible portfolio of offerings.
“Print IT infrastructure will be redesigned, office environments will be re-imagined, and while the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation in many businesses, not everyone is ready to make the leap. MSPs play a key role in supporting the breadth of needs and the period of change that will continue to be out there for the foreseeable future.
“Print management in the cloud has been on the upward swing for a few years now, and hybrid working is expediting this transition process for many businesses. The timing of the pandemic has created an opportunity for cloud-native products to rapidly mature, which is certainly the case for our cloud-native solutions PaperCut Hive and PaperCut Pocket.
“For industries like legal and healthcare, however, hybrid working introduces the risk of cybersecurity vulnerability for some workplaces. This, in turn, expands the opportunities for consulting on solutions for both on-premises and in the cloud with the highest security and compliance standards.
“While COVID-19 may diminish over time, it has catalysed a change in business needs that MSPs need to be ready to support and embrace – those who don’t, won’t survive long-term.”
Sajan Shivshanker, Chief Operating Officer, Aura: “The new normal
hybrid working model has certainly brought fresh challenges but more importantly innovation to print – which is a great thing. We have helped many organisations deliver augmented print and workflow and other cloud-based solutions (such as visual communications and workspace collaboration solutions) for employees irrespective of their location without compromising agility, security and compliance.
“As to whether I think this is a key differentiator – in the short- to medium- term – yes – as there is a significant investment from MPS providers to build an experienced team, proactive service infrastructure and a track record with customers. However, overtime I think a greater number of providers will offer cloud-based print solutions as an extension to their services. These cloud-based MPS solutions can provide a new revenue stream to help recoup some losses MPS providers may have experienced during the pandemic, but only if they are comprehensive and offer solutions for office, home and mobile employees. It is of greater importance to focus on the needs of customers and recognise that the pandemic has changed the way we work forever.”
Tony Wills, Country Director, Canon UK & Ireland: “Over the last year, workplace boundaries have expanded, and many businesses must now support employees who are working from multiple locations – whether that’s from the office, from home, from remote locations or a combination. Whilst this has brought about many challenges, it has also highlighted the cloud’s ability to support an ever-changing working environment.
“One of the most pressing and complex challenges of the hybrid working world is cybersecurity. According to a Tenable report, over 40 per cent of businesses have experienced at least one cyber-attack related to the pandemic in the last year, highlighting the challenging and changing environment that businesses are now operating in. One of the main benefits of the cloud is its ability to ensure a company’s software is up to date. In doing so, businesses can be certain they are receiving the latest updates to help mitigate risks. With cyber-attacks on the rise, being able to offer businesses peace of mind will be a crucial selling point for MPS providers that will ultimately help drive sales.
“For the print channel specifically, being able to offer cloud-enabled print hardware will also be important. Research from the last year has shown that despite moving to a hybrid working model, there is still a demand for printing solutions, with 38 per cent of employees stating they missed a printer the most whilst working remotely. Cloud-enabled digital workflow solutions will allow users to print from anywhere, whilst also ensuring information is tracked and stored securely. At Canon, we’ve seen a rise in the sale of printers that are compatible with print security solutions over the last year, and we anticipate that this trend will continue.
“As customers recover from the pandemic, a move to the cloud will also be able to offer a more flexible way of working. It’s clear that hybrid working is here for the long run, and MPS providers who fail to offer a strong and complete cloud-based proposition will fail to regain revenues lost from the pandemic. As a result, we would encourage MPS suppliers within the partner community to think about their long-term strategy for coping with the changing face of working environments and work closely with OEMs to leverage their capabilities so they can remain relevant to clients.”
Mark Bailey, Managing Director, EBM Managed Services: “To grow after the pandemic will require flexibility, there is no doubt about that. As B2B suppliers, our growth only comes from the success of our customers. We must be able to anticipate their needs, and to really listen to them. Cloud printing services offer
the flexibility craved by many businesses right now. It’s a great option, and there’s clearly room for it to grow. However, I anticipate that most providers will offer cloud printing soon – if they don’t already. Long-term, it won’t be a strong differentiator but it’s possible that in the short-term it could be the foot in the door that MPS providers need to the build fruitful business relationships that really enable growth. In that sense, it could play a very important role in the industry’s pandemic recovery.”
Neil Sawyer, Director of Channel & Partner Alliances, HP Inc: “We have seen a significant uptake of printing at home, with many users looking to support their family and their work with a simple to use, low cost printing option. As the vaccination programme takes impact, we expect to see an increase in office use, but it is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels. A combination of office and home printing services will offer the best opportunity to meet client requirements and to maximise revenue and profit.
“Many clients have driven digitalisation of their business processes during the pandemic, replacing dated manual activities with the latest cloud services platforms like Monday. com, ServiceNow or Microsoft Power Automate. In helping businesses understand why and how print is being used, we can provide options available to help reduce operating costs which will open opportunities to offer more advanced digital services in the intelligent automation space. This can include data capture and extraction, content management and workflow, and secure document output. HP will continue to deliver updates and new advanced features to enable our partners to grow into the new automation arena to meet their clients’ evolving needs.
“Another key differentiator is security. The shift to home and hybrid working has created operational blindspots that hackers can exploit. According to the HP Wolf Security Blurred Lines & Blindspots Report, 45 per cent of ITDMs state they have seen compromised printers being used as an attack point in the past year. HP’s new Flexworker offering, part of HP Wolf Enterprise Security Services, is a scalable cloud-based print service for hybrid workforces. This extension of MPS facilitates IT departments to arm hybrid workers with secure, company-approved printers to enhance home productivity and reduce potential security threats. Through leveraging the HP Instant Ink and MPS ecosystems, we’re delivering a fully automated secure enterprise managed print experience.”
Steve Kendall-Smith, Managing Director of UK & Ireland, Lexmark: “Key research shows us that the hybrid working model is here to stay, long after the pandemic has gone. Cloud print services have evolved to the point that they can help navigate the new work landscape, playing an important role in recovery for both businesses and MPS providers. Cloud technologies can bridge the gap between users and devices, expanding access to MPS across enterprises and complex networks. Whether you’re at your office or at home, cloud print management can ensure continuity of process, unlocking advanced printing capabilities in any network environment.
“It’s vital for MPS providers to consider these types of integrated connectivity solutions for the coming years. It’s also vital that any cloud print service supports the hybrid working model, including working remotely from home via VPN for example.”
Aaron Anderson, Head of Marketing, KYOCERA Document Solutions: “Hybrid workspaces represent the ‘new normal’ that we’re still all adjusting to. Today, MPS is no longer simply about managing printer fleets and consumables, instead favouring a holistic approach that includes managed document solutions (MDS) and covers the entire document lifecycle across each area of an organisation.
“MPS in the new hybrid working model does bring fresh challenges, however those that are able to successfully align their hybrid strategy with their digital transformation objectives will be able to improve their document management and printing processes, and secure a better return on investment.
“In a cloud MPS environment, traditional printing and document management processes are streamlined, so paper usage and waste is minimised while user access management allows authorised users instant access to important documents. Not only does this improve teamwork and collaboration, but reducing printed paper copies of documents is vital for sustainability and cutting business costs.
“Switching to a cloud MPS model also decreases the probability of sensitive information being accidentally leaked or accessed. A trusted cloud MPS will offer document protection and security features as standard, ensuring only those with access privileges can view, download and print specific files. These features are proving essential due to the recent rise in phishing and ransomware attacks.
“These are just some of the reasons why prioritising the hybrid workforce and cloud MPS can help providers to meet the demands of a changed working world. Workspaces have evolved to cater to staff who now work at any time and from any place. Providers that can offer affordable and reliable cloud print and document solutions will be able to meet these demands and recoup any losses they may have suffered during the pandemic.”
www.everyoneprint.com : www.printix.net : www.thinprint.com www.sharp.co.uk : www.officefox.co.uk : www.papercut.com www.aurafutures.com : www.canon.co.uk : www.ebmltd.co.uk : www.hp.com : www.lexmark.co.uk : kyoceradocumentsolutions.co.uk