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The changing nature of the MPS industry

Anna Grubb, ECI’s Managing Director of International Sales for field service and Jonathan Rogerson, Senior Consultant for field service discuss the changing nature of the MPS industry, the main trends they expect to accelerate in 2022 and how businesses are adapting

According to Rogerson, 2022 looks set to be focused on efficiencies. Whether this is driving more efficient ways of working or reviewing outdated systems that no longer meet business requirements, one way or another, he said, the industry is going to transform.

“We are hearing more from organisations reliant on legacy business management software, which is no longer being upgraded or supported. One of the main reservations potential new customers have is around the prospect of key business data being lost during a migration to a new system,” he explained.

With this in mind, ECI is continuing to invest heavily in its expert migration team and drawing on its many years of experience in this area, as well as strengthening the tools at their disposal to make this process as seamless as possible for new customers coming on board.

Completely different world

The massive changes in work patterns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic means businesses are having to re-adjust to a completely different world to the one they operated in back in 2019.

“With a far greater number of organisations now offering remote or hybrid working, MPS businesses will need to adapt their offering and service capability in 2022,” warns Grubb.

“The number of organisations realising that their on-site servers are no longer fit for purpose has certainly increased, with cloud-based solutions having proved themselves as more reliable, practical and efficient during the pandemic,” she added.

ECI launched its new device management solution Printanista at the end of 2021 and expects the roll-out to continue at pace over the next 12 months. The scalable software complements its core ERP e-automate solution and enables businesses to reduce service delivery costs, improve supply fulfilment and drive profitability.

Jonathan Rogerson

Accurate overview is crucial

Rogerson point out that it’s crucial for MPS providers to be able to access an accurate overview of device status, usage levels and any maintenance issues. “However, without cloud-based software this becomes virtually impossible,” he said, adding: “With teams split across a number of different locations, managers often find themselves working from outdated or incorrect data. Over time this hinders a business’ ability to make any real efficiency savings and will potentially result in customers feeling dissatisfied.”

Grubb concurs: “With margins increasingly tight, businesses need to be able to access a complete overview of their operation to help identify any potential cost saving initiatives. Pre-pandemic, when the majority of teams were located within the same office, this was a much easier task.

“Specialist technology with built-in visibility features such as ‘cost recover’ mode allows managers to set limits of print spends, as well as keep a track of print volumes across the team. This can help identify any worrying trends before they spiral – even with employees working from home.”

Declining print volumes

It’s been well documented that print volumes are declining, an issue that means traditional print providers have to adapt if they are to thrive and survive.

“While declining print volumes created challenges for the MPS industry, a number of businesses have diversified into new markets. Our industry has many entrepreneurial individuals willing to pursue new opportunities and being prepared to innovate and provide new services that their customers may need,” Rogerson said.

He continued: “At ECI, our focus has always been around helping dealers to eliminate costs, as well as being able to apply a proactive approach to the service they offer. It’s actually a really exciting time as they make those changes and uncover new potential and we speak to these individuals on a regular basis to help understand how we can best support them to adjust to a new normal. By incorporating an ERP such as e-automate, which saves time and resources on key processes such as contract management and invoicing, our customers are able to invest more time into future proofing their business.”

Grubb argues that the market is also still very much in recovery mode. “We want to ensure our customers are supported in the office, at home or across a hybrid working format. Providing customers with a strong MPS solution, able to facilitate the new ways of working is our key philosophy, hence why we continue to invest in product enhancements and development, as well as bolstering our team of experts and customer support representatives,” she concluded.