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The current state of play

This month PITR asks print vendors and resellers to share their thoughts what is having the biggest impact on the print market

Steven Hastings, IT Distribution Channel Director, Ricoh UK
Steven Hastings, IT Distribution Channel Director, Ricoh UK



What’s having the greatest impact on the market currently?

Steven Hastings, IT Distribution Channel Director, Ricoh UK: “Customers are demanding more for their money unlike ever before. They are typically looking for competitive costs and a printer that offers a maximum range of features.

“We predict that more SME and SMB customers will independently buy mono print devices for reliability and costeffectiveness in 2016 and beyond.”

Mark Ash, Head of Print, Samsung: “The print market has been invigorated by innovative technologies such as the cloud, M2M communication and open source software. Collectively, these technologies are enabling dealers, vendors and resellers to embed print into the Internet of Things.

It’s having a huge impact, as it means that +print is engrained within the connected workplace, and plays a big part in digital transformation objectives. “Open source software, in particular, is fuelling this growth, as personalised applications enable dealers to provide managed print service offerings that meet the requirements of many different verticals. By creating bespoke, tailored offerings based on individual use cases, they can approach new markets and integrate within the enterprise in a way that they previously couldn’t.”

Jason Cort, Director Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp: “More than 80% of Sharp end customers are SMBs. With the current economic uncertainty around Brexit, SMBs in the UK are under more pressure than ever to reduce or manage costs. They are cautious about spending and want to do more with less, being as efficient and savvy as possible. Services like MPS present growth opportunities for resellers, giving their customers the opportunity to reduce costs and have more control over the cost of printing.

“Digitisation has been happening within our industry for a decade, customers are printing less and using fewer devices (device

Jason Cort, Director Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp
Jason Cort, Director Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp

optimisation). It’s essential for us and for resellers to find opportunity in these changes and look for alternative revenue streams. Vendors will need to invest more in workflow solutions, and on-the-ground sales teams will need more support and ability with selling these solutions. Solutions are king – it’s no longer just about the product.

“Resellers also need to look beyond the MFP and its immediate software environment. With their existing skills and relationships they are in a perfect position to sell a broader portfolio of hardware and software. A reseller’s customer might have information display needs as well as printing needs, so adding digital signage and interactive displays to their product range seems like a sensible extension.

Beyond this, for the more adventurous resellers, if they manage a business’ connected devices, then diversifying into more general IT services is a natural opportunity.

“Thinking vertically, there are some examples that really make the point. Dealers who have been selling MFPs to schools and universities are in a great position to offer interactive flat panel displays, whiteboards and tablets. Schools are investing in diverse technology both to meet the needs of learners, who are digital natives, and a renewed focus on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum. They often welcome having fewer suppliers to manage and negotiate with.

“Dealers selling to SMEs are also in a good position to sell beyond the MFP. SMEs have document workflow needs, but also information workflow and collaboration needs, particularly as remote working and global customer bases increase. It’s easier than ever for businesses to buy, sell and co-operate on a global scale, no matter their size. However, while SMEs might have a global presence, they are likely to have a local travel budget, so video collaboration between people based in different countries is becoming more and more important.

“It’s not only cheaper, but more practical too when businesses are dealing with customers and partners further and further away. Instead of spending days travelling to and from, for example, the US for a meeting, video collaboration means they can save time but still retain the relationship benefits of speaking face to face. Businesses who manage to make that a seamless experience, those who conquer fluid remote working, will simply be easier to do business with and will have the competitive advantage in international markets.”

Shaun Wilkinson, Managing Director, UTAX (UK): “I think a combination of factors is behind the continuing adoption of managed

Shaun Wilkinson, Managing Director, UTAX (UK)
Shaun Wilkinson, Managing Director, UTAX (UK)

print solutions. MPS continues to evolve and become much more flexible and wide-ranging. That means companies of all sizes, from SMEs up to the large corporates, in all verticals, can benefit.

“We continue to see increasing interest in software-based managed solutions, new solutions continue to be rolled out an ever-increasing pace, which is exciting as dealers to join the dots and gain an advantage by offering a true software focused proposition. Combining reliable hardware with the latest software (often bespoke) can produce formidable and powerful solutions.

“The benefits of digital document workflows and the ways in which managed print and document solutions can save time, money and admin time are also being recognised more than ever before. The key here is that it’s not just about print, the full document lifecycle is at the forefront of the agenda, as is mobility and security.

“Data security and mobility also continue to be at the heart of business needs and managed document solutions can deliver it. If the right solutions are installed, they can be real drivers of change for businesses.”

Nigel Allen, Marketing Director, KYOCERA: “The issue which is having the biggest impact on the UK market across the board is of course Britain’s proposed future exit from the European Union. While we can’t predict the exact details or timescales, we have no doubt it will affect the market once agreed and put into process.

“More specifically, in the business world we’re being driven by the same trends as any other technology company – the changing workforce and a move away from traditional office based IT consumption. We’re also seeing a crossover between personal and business devices, as well as a shift towards cloud.

“This, in turn, impacts on our products. We’re seeing a growing demand from our users for software solutions. They want cloud printing solutions and apps that they can use across their devices, which need to be more easy-to-use and efficient than ever before in the new time-poor world.”

Wayne Snell, Product Manager, DSales: “The need for MFPs to interface with users’ mobile devices is now having the biggest impact on the market. That’s why Develop is including Near Field Communications (NFC) for simple mobile device connection into most of the new Develop ineo MFPs for the office.

“Users want to be able to print from and scan to their mobile devices straight to an MFP, cutting out the need to use a desktop PC. Another emerging trend is the requirement for the MFP to connect directly to the customers’ cloud account for scan-to and print-from applications.”

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