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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Death of Managed Print Services : Photizo Identifies The Fourth Horseman

Sept, 2009

TheEndOfTheWorld as WeKnowIt 

It was a free Photizo webinar about vendor-provided MPS programs and how somebody looking to get into MPS could evaluate all the choices. 

A simple, straight forward, easy to understand theme. Attending would be a good way of keeping up with what others think. 

Besides, I could work some spreadsheets and email while keeping one eye on the slide deck. The presentation was interesting, the questions posed engaging - the answers even more gripping. 

For instance, when asked about the future market growth for MPS, Ed responded by saying copier sales may increase by 3% by 2013, contrasted against a 28% growth in MPS. 

More importantly, of the 80% of dealers NOT providing MPS, 50% will disappear. 

 Ominous? Yes. 

But there is something more - a darkness slowing creeping over the MPS Ecosystem. 

At first, it's just the feeling that someone is watching you, then that slight prick at the back of your neck, the sudden chill - a kick in the breeze, movement at the edge of your peripherals - are those...hooves...I hear? 


A question was posed by somebody trying to reconcile the "box moving" mentality with this new MPS paradigm; Transactional vs. Relationship. And Ed hit it, 

"...whoever owns the service levels, owns the customer..." - makes sense and is self-evident. 

But then the question turned to the future of MPS - I think somebody actually asked Ed to define the 3 Stages, Control, Optimize, Enhance - "what would be the fourth stage?" was the follow-up question, it seemed to be a rhetorical one. 

But Ed has an answer. The Fourth Stage. 

The first board meeting of your Managed Print Services Association was held this past Friday. This is a significant event and trumpets in MPS as a real, defined philosophy and business niche. In order for the MPSA to begin, MPS needed to have some sort of definition - vague or otherwise, there had to be a common idea to rally around. 

Part of the definition formed around the three stages of MPS, observed by the Photizo group. To be certain, HP, Xerox, and all the other players in MPS either had or developed their own definition in "stages" or "phases" - but the basic 3 stages, Control, Optimize, Enhance apply to most MPS programs. 

As observed here on DOTC, the first two stages are sufficient and fall nicely into the traditional copier, office equipment model. The Third stage, Enhance, is a bit more advanced and demands more expertise. But the Fourth Stage is purely mind-blowing. 

Ed defined the fourth stage a managed print services Practice, managing the entire network. 

Imagine your remote monitoring software reading supply levels, meter reads, service events as well as network traffic, power consumption, and desktop PC usage. Imagine being hired by your client to optimize the network completely. Asset management, service calls, data flow - everything - managing the dynamic IT infrastructure. 

Yes, the Fourth Stage will take the "P" out of MPS - or will it? It is my opinion, that the Fourth stage will see the end of MPS. Hybrid firms swallowed up by the likes of EDS/HP, IBM, InfoPrint, and print devices showing up on Tivoli, UniCenter or MainView not PrintFleet, or Print Audit. The Fourth Stage is the Fourth Horseman - you know who rides and you know what follows. 


  1. Greg, excellent post and perhaps one of your best yet!

    Doug Johnson said something the other day that really struck me as boiling down something we all know: "The glory is in the Fortune 500, but the money is in the SMB."

    I completely agree with Ed's extension of his model, and adheres to the tenants of basic project management in that regards - the maintenance phase. Obviously, smart consultants and strategically thinking clients will continue to phase in iterations of the program, but that is typically the normal and organic methodology all business goes through.

    To your point about the trend in the market - specifically about the 'P' dropping out of MPS - i also agree. However, I don't see infrastructure providers like Print Audit or Print Fleet necessarily going away, but will probably have to evolve and learn to play with other traditional IT client management suites.

    Even with all of this, and to my earlier quote, these large management suites tend to be very expensive, resource intensive to configure and maintain, and generally tend to be local to the client (both from an operational and security standpoint). Sure, the client might allow the provider to remote in by some approved manner, but SMB's typically don't have the infrastructure to even support a "vendor-funded" iteration of these types of suites. So how is the vendor/parter to manage the site.

    Some might argue an adaptation of a traditional FM might work (without the necessity of a CRD in the SMB marketspace). I like the idea of a "for hire champion", as an aside.

    In the end, an outsourced model will most likely have an a natural cycle, which we will see wax and wane. However, I do think as this industry matures the larger players (or mega dealers and mfg's) will dominate the bulk of market share. Of course HP and Dell are really intriguing to watch with their recent acquisitions. HP stands high on its long standing brand and engineering, while Dell has really done a solid job of building its new platform around the SMB (really focusing on the 'S').

    Again, great read, and you struck a chord that will resonate for years! While our pontification may or may not prove us hero's and zero's, those who are leading need to pick their sides well. Otherwise, they will expect their growth goals to be anything but achievable.

  2. What? Is this a blog-a-mercial or something?

  3. Greg, as always a very interesting read. However, I would see this as more of an expansion than an 'end of the business'. The question resellers must ask themselves is, are they embracing the change and evolving their business model and capabilities to be able to compete in this new market?

  4. Gentlemen - three of my top readers -

    It is good to hear from all of you.

    Ken - absolutely. Jim's quote is a great one! I shall steal and use.

    I see a possibility of acquisition(s) as MSP management tools expand over the print fleet.

    Oh, and "SpiceWorks"...(whispered, like "rosebud'...)

    Max - it's "or something"

    Ed - as you know, I like to illustrate from the extreme and as usual, your response is tempered with restraint - good form.

    Agreed, change or die.

    This is good fun, isn't it?

    Thank you for commenting and keep coming back!



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