Monday, January 17, 2011

CIO's: What to Look for In A Managed Print Services Company. The Perfect 10.

2011 -

The pressure is on.  The role of a CIO is, or should, be evolving into " of managing relationships rather than managing technology and getting lost in the detail..."

Your refresh project has been delayed for two years now, server upgrades lagging, storage running low, your DC is over heating.

Meanwhile, the number of open, output related tickets is approaching 40% - wow -  and to top it off, printers just aren't sexy.

And now your role is "evolving"? Wonderful.

Managed Print Services to the rescue.

By now, you have heard about this new, Managed Print Services thing.  It sounds like something that would benefit your team, reduce some costs and make your users happy.

Before you google-tize "managed print services" consider this: What is MPS?

More importantly, what is your flavor of MPS and what should you look for in an MPS partner?

Here are 10 simply aspects to reflect upon. Arguably, there are hundreds of angles, processes and actions to consider.

But these are a good start.
  1. Define your Managed Print Services.  MPS is an IT initiative, not a printer/refresh project.  MPS is also a process that simply begins with the roll-out.
  2. Define the "M" in Managed Print Services and be prepared to understand exactly how your prospective MPS partner manages your engagement. (PM,SOW, Milestones, Benchmarks, etc.)
  3. Take control of the entire fleet.  Yes, this means the copiers.  Wrest control from Purchasing.
  4. Look to your MPS partner candidate. Are they monitoring oriented or action oriented. Can they provide you a dashboard or reside on your existing, single pane? Do they manage to the activity?
  5. Brand your MPS.  This is key. No other IT initiative will touch as many of your customers as this "printer' related project.  Don't waste the opportunity; to market IT, internally. Communicate, Communicate and then, communicate more.
  6. Be prepared for challenges.  MPS has more continuously moving parts than any project you've ever been involved with;  the machines are mechanical, all your end users interface with documents daily.  Your most demanding (loudest) customer will squawk off at the first opportunity.  Be prepared.
  7. Look beyond the obvious, beware the "P" in MPS.  MPS is not all about printing - that is to say, MPS doesn't end at printing, it starts with printing.  It is easy to get bogged down in the mechanics of the initial stages of MPS - but there is more than print.  Find a partner who can help you look over the horizon.
  8. Customer Satisfaction.  Your end users need to be happy, correct? How aligned will your MPS Partner be with your customer satisfaction goals.
  9. Account Reviews.  This is tricky. Most MPS providers pay some tribute to Quarterly Business Reviews. But scheduling a QBR does not guarantee relevant content.  Dig deeply into this using past project review sessions as the barometer.
  10. Be prepared to pay for an assessment.  What quality would you expect from a deep-dive into your network, if the Cisco Application Networking Assessment was free?  Expect the same OR more from a MPS Assessment.
These are just 10 areas to look at, each with many sub-areas of interest.

One more issue: Consider an example in the extreme. What if your goal, as the CIO and as charged by your corporate mandate, was to ELIMINATE ALL YOUR OUTPUT DEVICES? Back to ground zero and up into the cloud - pure, digital content.

Impossible, I know. But how would you go about that and what financial impact would such a revolutionary move result?

This is just the beginning.

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