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Managed print services: Assess for progress

Published November 21, 2016 - Tyler Martin

Everyone knows that to achieve any goal, it’s important to have a clear starting point. Sometimes that starting point is easy to determine, such as jumping on a scale before starting a new diet. Of course, circumstances and goals can change, requiring a fresh start along the way. A person’s weight is a perfect example since it can fluctuate for all kinds of reasons. It isn’t static.

The same goes for your enterprise and your managed print services. Is everything the same as it was a year ago? Unlikely. Staffing levels have probably changed. You may have opened or closed locations. Perhaps you’re using new business processes or technologies. 

Changing workforce and workplace

Here’s something else to think about: Are more of your employees working from home at least a few days a week—or even working remotely all the time? Many organizations are creating flexible work spaces where employees don’t have assigned cubicles or offices. This includes “hotelling” where temporary workers reserve desk space as needed. Such options are becoming more popular with today’s workforce. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com:

  • 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.
  • 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
  • Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show they are not at their desk 50-60% of the time.

Going mobile

“Mobile devices are transforming business productivity. For many, the workplace is no longer defined by the traditional office; employees are now accessing corporate applications, data, and services from multiple devices and locations every day,” said Louella Fernandes, associate director for print services and solutions at Quocirca. “With a highly mobile workforce, organisations need to ensure employees have the same access to corporate applications as they would from the desktop, while protecting sensitive data. One area in need of better control, which has yet to catch up with the desktop experience, is printing.”[1]

Consequently, enterprises need to deploy print management solutions that enable easy-to-use mobile printing across all locations.

All of these factors—and more—have an impact on your daily operations, including the number and type of printers and multifunction products (MFPs) you have, versus what actually matches your current business needs. If your workforce is becoming increasingly remote-based, your office environment will need to be reconfigured—and your optimized fleet will look different than an enterprise that’s bringing on more headquarters-based employees.

So, even if you’ve already had an assessment for managed print services and assume your fleet is optimized, you might be surprised at what you could discover—and how you could benefit from the findings. Think about if you truly know everything about your fleet and how your enterprise has changed since the last time you had an assessment.

Assessment is vital

You might not spend much time pondering assessment, yet it should be a vital part of every ongoing MPS engagement. A sound MPS strategy includes a comprehensive assessment of your current print operations in order to create a solid foundation for faster, smoother business processes that reduce costs throughout your print and document environment. Optimizing your print environment—including the appropriate placement of multifunction products (MFPs)—is a significant step for both paper reduction and better business processes. Yet, it may be tempting to skip the assessment step if you think it will take too much time or you assume you already have a firm handle on what exists in your print environment. Think again.

“In our experience, organizations underestimate the size of their print fleet by as much as 45%,” said John Salsman, director of North America professional services at Lexmark. “This number varies some by industry and certainly if the environment is already managed by an MPS provider. However, we rarely encounter an organization that has a complete and accurate picture of its fleet.”

This lack of visibility equates to potentially unnecessary expense and effort. A professional assessment creates alignment between the customer and the provider. Basically, the process forces decisions and establishes priorities for the bigger project.

And, it ensures the fastest path to implementation. If you make implementation plans based on what you think you know about your fleet—only to learn your counts are off—you run the risk of a rocky and slow implementation.  That, of course, costs you valuable time and money.

Ask MPS providers about assessment expertise

To get the most out of managed print services, make sure your provider has solid assessment experience. You can find out how providers stack up against each other by asking questions like these:

  1. Who will be conducting the assessment and are they experts in your industry?
  2. How many assessments have they completed (overall and in your industry)?
  3. Are the assessment deliverables specific to your organization and do they reflect industry insights and trends? 
  4. How thorough is the assessment? 
  5. How does their assessment process uncover the unique requirements of each part of your organization?
  6. How do they support modern workplace environments and mobile employees?
  7. What type of data collection tools and databases do they use?
  8. How do they assign consultants to your organization? Are they providing truly expert insight?
  9. Can they quickly scale to take on the project at your enterprise, regardless of size or complexity?

[1] Quocirca, The Mobile Print Enterprise, 2015, by Louella Fernandes and Rob Bamforth

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Tyler Martin
Director of Global MPS Marketing, 
Lexmark, Intl.

Tyler is responsible for sales enablement and communications for managed print services, delivering the Lexmark value proposition across the portfolio of hardware, software and services. He joined Lexmark in 2005 and has held several roles, including global industry manager for banking, director of content management practises, enterprise solution specialist and consultant in the retail industry. 

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