by Doug Bies
What is Managed Print Services? This question is so simple, yet so complex. Years ago, in the pre-MPSA era, if you polled 100 industry resources on this question, you probably would have received 100 different answers. Not that any of them were wrong or right, it’s just that an organization like the MPSA didn’t exist to help define MPS. MPS in its infancy was fairly basic and often considered a new business model to capture revenue on HP printers.
Since that time, our industry has evolved greatly, as has MPS. Although the MPSA was founded in 2009, many of its members have been involved in MPS for many years prior. Through our MPSA members, we helped define MPS and used this definition to help our own organizations develop MPS programs and sell them to our customers.
What was once considered basic HP printer support has witnessed a complete evolution to what we know as MPS as today.
On December 2, the MPSA announced an update of the MPS definition. A special committee that included many of the brightest minds in the MPS industry collaborated over a number of meetings to talk through what MPS was, is, and how the MPSA should define it.
As a result, MPS is now defined as, “The active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information, including input and output devices.”
Let’s face it, when you compare the updated definition to the previous one, I can see how some would not see a difference, as structurally, MPS is defined pretty similarly to how it was previously. There is reason for that though.
MPS has evolved, yet much of the revenue associated with MPS engagements comes from the printed page.
Our paying organizations exist because they are profitable and drive this profit from recurring pages generated through MPS, hence the inclusion of “input and output devices” in the definition. Although corporations are seeing less reliance on document output, the complete death of page volume is more fiction than fact.
“Business Processes” and “Information” are what really stand out to me in the updated definition. Think about these two key phrases and how you help your customers today. It’s not about saving customers 30% or a few mils on clicks, it’s more about how you can help your customers with their business processes and the information they use to run their organizations. MPS isn’t as easy as it once was, but with customers today having complex needs, MPS should be leading sales conversations.
We as an industry owe it to our customers and ourselves to focus less on the perceived commodity behind MPS and deliver MPS that can help our customers achieve positive business outcomes. Let the MPSA’s updated definition of MPS help guide your discussions and sales efforts today and into the future.
Doug Bies of Canon USA is vice president of the MPSA and co-chair of the education committee. Doug entered the print industry after receiving his marketing degree from Northern Illinois University in 2005. After successfully selling hardware, software, and solutions, for a number of years at Océ, he played a key role in creation and monetization of Océ's MPS Program. Following Canon's purchase of Océ, Canon leveraged Doug's experience at Océ to further develop Canon's MDS Program. Doug's experience with MPS program development, social media, sales, marketing, and planning will play a key role in both the future of both Canon and the MPSA.