The Expanding Scope of Managed Print Services (MPS)

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Nov 4, 2009

InfoTrends’ MPS service clients are aware of the impending expansion of MPS scope, which is currently focused on the office environment. In our May 2009 document entitled “The New MPS: Scope and Services” (login required), we discussed research data and vendor announcements that clearly indicated managed print in the Office would  grow beyond this scope to include virtual/remote workers, CRD, in-plant production, and even commercial print. As an example:

  • InfoTrends’ Professional and Managed Print Services research indicates that only 11% of MPS prospects would not roll old hardware into new contracts, implying that MPS could quickly cannibalize currently unmanaged devices and environments.
  • At AIIM / On Demand 2009, HP announced that its latest version of Web Jetadmin (device management) added support for large-format DesignJet devices. HP also announced MPS support for remote/virtual users that included a limited number of devices bundled with next-day replacement support and supplies replenishment.
  • Although not formally announced, press releases regarding Xerox wins implied that remote/virtual workers and their devices were indeed managed under enterprise MPS contracts.

Last week, Xerox finally formalized its Enterprise Print Services (EPS) offering. Specifically, the announcement expands on the scope of their MPS offering to include remote/virtual workers and production-class print. More importantly, the inclusion of intelligent print routing tools helps encourage users to print to the “most appropriate” devices.  These tools are a rapidly emerging component of advanced MPS offerings and are commonly referred to as “least cost print” and “behavior modification software” solutions. (It’s worth noting that Xerox regards “most appropriate” according to customer metrics — least-cost, least-environmental impact, and least-distance routing were all mentioned in our discussions).

The announcement and clear expansion of Xerox’s MPS scope raises several important questions. For example, Xerox announced the availability of print-from-smartphone capabilities as part of its remote/virtual environment support. Should we, therefore, expect a maelstrom of new document solutions that addresses this growing segment, either supporting the users’ remotely connected MFPs or mobile devices? I imagine those virtual workers file quite a few expense reports…

Another important question is the impact EPS will have on production print volumes and sourcing strategies. On the one hand, centralized management across print environments implies that sourcing of external (commercial) print strategies could be managed and negotiated by Xerox on behalf of its clients. This clearly could raise concern to print service providers (PSPs), many of whom are loyal Xerox customers.  On the other hand, Xerox’s on-site resources and new software enablers (e.g. desktop “Web-2-Print” and print routing) may help identify new print applications and volume that are currently printed on lower-segment Office devices. This enhanced MPS support may in fact help drive increased opportunity for PSPs. In either case, the opportunities to sell value-added print and marketing services (e.g. transpromo, multi-channel campaigns) remain strong.

These questions and more will be answered in our upcoming analysis. In the meantime, let us know know your reaction to Xerox’s announcement!

Several analysts contributed to this post, including InfoTrends’ Office, Production, and Sr Management teams.

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