MPS is about adding value, and if a provider has built its tools and infrastructure properly—or found the right partner—then it has options for expanding its managed services beyond print. “We’re a managed services provider for managed business services,” said Doug Johnson, chief strategy officer at MPS infrastructure provider LMI Solutions.. “It could be managed print today or managed IT tomorrow or managed energy services the day after that. Any outsourced service where you’ve got an internet-connected asset where you can suck data out via the cloud, run analytics on it, and offer value-added services is the kind of infrastructure we want to be part of. It’s the value of that data and the analytics on it that allows you to optimize the environment as it changes.”
“If a reseller gets really good at going in and consultatively selling, identifying pain, and prescribing solutions, and on an ongoing basis making sure that they are providing analytical services and recommendations, that’s a value-added service model they can use long after we all quit printing,” said Johnson. “With the internet of things, there are going to be more and more assets in customer environments where pulling out data about that asset, running data on it, and making recommendations is going to be a valuable business model for a long time.”
Some of the areas that LMI Solutions is looking to expand its managed business solutions model include 3D printing, IT services, and managed energy services. “We believe the market has bifurcated. You’re either going down a transactional path or a services-based path,” said Johnson. We’ve decided to go down the path of value-added services. Our goal is to help the services-led resellers to thrive with managed print and leverage that services-based model into other services based offerings over time where we can provide some of the infrastructure.”
Pure-play MPS provider OneDOC is starting up a utilities management service to complement its MPS offering. “It basically does what MPS does to the utility marketplace. We go in and take a look at the costs associated with electricity, water, or HVAC,” said Kevin Morris, CEO of OneDOC. We talk to the CFO and show how we are going to reduce those costs with software that is much like the industry standards of Print Fleet,” he said. As with MPS, the actual services would be outsourced to a partner.
Dealers don’t have to go too far afield to build new services on top of their MPS offerings. MPS provider Qualpath has chosen to focus on document-based services and software while avoiding higher risk opportunities like managed IT services. “We look at accounts as they relate to documents,” said Kevin DeYoung, president and CEO of QualPath and the current president of the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). “There’s a bigger opportunity in business consultancy and BPO along with the hardware and software that comes with it than taking over a network and having the exposure of a down server that takes out the whole operation.”
Once OneDOC has optimized a customer’s printer fleet, getting the right devices in the right locations, it then turns to workflow solutions such as back-end processes like electronic payments and invoicing and document management. “We offer a complete, broad array of services,” said Morris.
“Once you’ve optimized and rationalized the fleet, done everything for the customer from an environmental perspective, you run out of stuff to do and you have to start looking at things like BPO, workflows, and software solutions,” said DeYoung. “People are looking to get more productivity out of their workforce. Hardware and software have become part of the evolutionary equation. [Integrating them] is where we find value.”