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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The End Of Managed Print Services

"Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!..."

From coast to coast,  I've seen the promise of MpS scattered to the four winds as companies reject the outsource model, bring MpS in house only to realize they don't want anything to do with supporting print. Ironic, but what do they do?

Go back to doing nothing.

The days before MpS...

It was different back then - copiers sold for $15,000.00.  Color images were as much as 18 cents each and users generated 2,500 copies a week. (or was it 5,000?)

Copiers inhabited every floor and printers popped up everywhere overnight.

"Purchasing" or "Facilities" generated RFPs, negotiated for the cheapest CPI, signed leases, and dropped the entire project over to IT and the receiving department.

IT would complain to themselves, struggle with a copier technician connecting this huge, unknown machine - possibly integrating LDAP or creating user folders on a shared server or the unit's hard drive - all the while lamenting the difference between these clunkers and all the printers and scanner that easily hung off the network.

This entire process was unmanaged and costly - very costly.

Today, as old-fashioned copiers die off, relegated to government or educational accounts, A4 prices fall while generating fewer images, the real cost of print is approaching, but never reaching, zero. (See Limits)

Soon, instead of running internal assessments, generating an RFI, then an RFP, evaluating suitors, negotiating price, running lease and contracts through legal, signing a five-year lease/service agreement, scheduling delivery/removal, connecting to the network, installing ATF software, conducting end-user training and experiencing a 90-day spike in copier related help desk traffic, customers simply order a printer online, for under $2,500.00 including lifetime ink supply.

  • No copier demonstration.  
  • No comparing OEM to drill and fill toner.  
  • No back-end points on a 60-month lease.  
  • No stair climbers.
The days of $25,000.00 Edgelines and 5250i's are gone. Gone like a freight train and terminus is right back where we started - a sku, a price, and a delivery date.

Now, more than ever, fewer employees require a printer and if they do, devices are so cheap, there's no need to invest time into developing an RFP.  The decision process takes no more effort than a few mouse clicks.  As the cost of print shrinks and blends into operational overhead, the primary reason for MpS, cost reduction, vanishes.

So what do we do?

Continue and keep going.  Leave MpS, copiers, and ATF in the rearview mirror - someone will always want a copier or a printer.  Consider plumbing as a service, HVAC as a service, heck, think about interior design as a service - the Universe is calling.

Like the copier before it, MpS revenue will approach but never reach, zero...Remember, right this very second, somebody on the planet is making and selling buggy whips.

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Greg Walters, Incorporated