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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are You Considering Managed Print Services ? - What You Should Know and What your Service Provider Should Know

April 2009

Managed Print Services is still being defined - or is it?

I firmly believe in "the best advice is the advice you ask for...", so please don't give me any advice - unless I ask.

I extend the courtesy to you if you're not asking for advice and don't want to know my opinion, skip this article.

But if you are a prospective Managed Print Services client, and you're just a bit curious as to how to go about choosing a provider, read on.

Introducing, Greg's Top 10 Must-Know's before engaging in an MPS assessment.

Imagine, you're sitting across the table from a Managed Print Services representative. He or she seems to know a great deal about printing and output and supplies.

After he gives his 5-minute canned intro, pull out the yellow pad with these questions written down, hopefully, you have left plenty of room for his responses.

Let's begin:

1. How do you(the client) define MPS? Have your prospective provider define MPS.

2. What is his Process? Leave it at that, let him further define your question. You want to see the detail of his process if he has one.

3. Tell me about your assessment. Get the gist of the assessment, the mechanics. You are trying to see if the proposal is the assessment - is that all he's got?

4. Clearly define the goals of your MPS engagement and have him respond to them. You should think before you meet with the provider. You do not need concrete goals, just a direction.

5. What goals does your prospective MPS provider have? Is his plan to replace all your existing equipment or supply source(s) with his?

6. How important is the assessment? Again, is the assessment the only tool in the shed?

7. How many units have the prospective MPS provider assessed in the last 6 months? This is simple and the numbers don't matter, it's how he answers that matters. Does he make excuses or wild claims?

8. How many units does the MPS provider manage? How? Same as above.

9. What percentage of savings has the prospective MPS provider achieved with clients and from what areas of cost? This is a great one, don't let him get away with quoting Gartner or All or InfoTrend or even Photizo, make him get specific. Again, the numbers don't matter as much as how he responds.

10. What was the Core business of your provider before MPS? The best question. This will tell you where he is going with your account and exactly how much infrastructure he has to support your fleet.


Some generalities and points to observe -

  • Does he use the word "partner" or "vendor"?
  • Does he say he has the cheapest program around?
  • What does he say he can not do?
  • Where did he learn about MPS?
  • What does he know about IT issues like power consumption and cooling?

As the captain of the Titanic said, "...this is just tip of the iceberg..." 

The ten points above can be expanded into even deeper discussions - would you like to learn more?

1 comment:

  1. Greg...

    This post is dead on the $$$.

    Process, process, process... metrics, metric, metrics... performance, performance, performance.

    Stellar work... keep at it.



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