Analysis: The myth of managed print

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This article appeared in the March, 2011 issue of CRN magazine.

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Analysis: The myth of managed print
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Here’s a true story. Two technicians walk into a 100-seat publishing company to carry out maintenance under a managed print contract. An employee asks them which reseller they belong to and one technician replies, “We’re from the vendor. It’s much cheaper buying managed print services if you cut out the middle man.”

For years printer vendors have trumpeted managed print services (MPS) as the way to higher margins, annuity revenues and multi-year contracts. The timing could not have been better as resellers watched margins on hardware fall through the floor.

However, the cost to entering managed print made it difficult for many to take up. Managed print requires technicians with vans, expensive inventories of parts, not to mention the effort of transitioning a business from a transactional sales cycle to the flatter cash flow of an annuity business.

Most printer vendors have their own managed print services divisions which target the enterprise and have encouraged resellers to seek out SMB customers.

But what chance does a reseller have when a vendor decides to target SMBs with their heavily resourced direct team?

There have been concerns about the ability of resellers to compete in the MPC space given the fact that so many print companies are going to market directly.

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