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Is less really more? Rethinking managed print services

“Print less” strategies move from revolution to evolution as organizations look for new ways to manage information. 

Back when everything was on paper, managed print services (MPS) was a revolutionary solution. These days, printing less has become routine. People know that unnecessary printing wastes paper, supplies, money and time, hurts the environment and presents security risks. So does that mean the heyday of MPS is over?

“Many companies have already maximized efficiencies by optimizing the number of printers available and where they are placed,” says Kyle Farmer, vice president of Lexmark MPS sales and marketing. “Now they want to know what else they can do with these devices that can also scan documents and capture information.”

Far from over, MPS is evolving along with technology and business 

Now, many organizations are evaluating how the changing nature of MPS can provide an increasing return on investment. Today’s vision includes looking beyond managing printers to optimize and streamline workflows and business processes via print infrastructure.

“Organizations have the opportunity to reduce costs, increase productivity, increase security and compliance and mitigate risk by developing, acquiring, or partnering for new competencies related to both print and electronic workflows,” states Holly Muscolino, Research VP, Document Solutions at research firm IDC.

Enter smart managed print services. MPS is smarter than ever thanks to increasing capabilities, applications and analytics, and is able to not only help people optimize and manage infrastructure, but also streamline essential business processes across many industries.

Multifunction products support MPS strategy

Multifunction products (MFPs) act as a digital on-ramp to kick off various industry-specific business processes. Retail, manufacturing, insurance, government, healthcare and financial organizations are deploying smart managed print services in innovative and beneficial ways. For example, bank branches can benefit from MFPs for originating loans and opening new accounts in addition to accounts payable and receivables.

Associated Bank, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, uses Lexmark MPS and MFPs to streamline its new account opening process. “Associated is opening thousands of accounts each month,” said Paul Ho-Sing-Loy, Senior Vice President and Business Solutions Director. “In the deposit area of our bank, we have more than 100 forms used in opening an account. An unacceptable error rate existed in handling the forms resulting in inefficiencies and backlogs. The Lexmark technology allowed us to both enhance our customer service excellence and improve branch operations.”

Associated is planning to use this technology to automate processes in other areas, such as commercial banking and wealth management.

Searching for structure? 

With the advent of tablets and smart phones, people are printing less by default. So it’s a natural evolution for MPS to help organizations manage other types of content. After all, documents exist in many forms beyond paper.

Even as smart MPS morphs to meet the changing needs of organizations across many industries, paper-based processes and unstructured content still present daily challenges. Although organizations continue to reduce printing, in IDC research conducted at the end of 2013, respondents indicated that 55% of all documents their company used each day were in a paper-based format versus an electronic format.

According to IDC’s Muscolino, “The most mature organizations will reengineer print and document workflows to align with business goals, driving new business models, business transformation, and better business outcomes.”

For organizations that are already automating workflows, managing devices becomes even more critical since these devices are essential components of the workflows. Consequently, organizations need the fleet visibility that MPS provides, as well as the peace of mind of working with a partner that will ensure the highest possible availability of devices.

Big data analytics drive MPS ROI

The explosion of big data analytics also helps organizations reap the most benefits from their MPS dollars. With the advancing analytics trends, vendors can capture more data and get to know customers better—enabling vendors to better identify workflow optimization opportunities.

For Lexmark’s Farmer, one exciting aspect of the evolution of managed print services is “helping our customers grow their business with their customers, rather than just helping them reduce costs and build efficiencies. When that happens, it builds greater loyalties and synergies between our organizations.”

Matchmaking—finding the best managed print services partner

According to IDC, one way for an organization to develop higher levels of maturity in print and document management (PDM) is in partnership with a managed print and document services provider. Outsourcing of PDM initiatives continues to grow. In fact, IDC projects the total U.S. managed print and document services market will grow from $5.7 billion in 2013 to $7.7 billion in 2018.

If your organization has maximized its managed print services infrastructure, consider the additional benefits of taking the next step. With an MPS partner that listens to your needs, applies technology in an industry-specific fashion and uses a planned and phased implementation approach, you’ll be surprised at all the ways your PDM initiatives can evolve. 

author_sharon_apollo

Sharon Apollo 
Marketing Business Writer, Lexmark, Intl.

Sharon is a marketing business writer focusing primarily on managed print services. Her professional background includes working as a copywriter for an automotive marketing agency, a software company and a major retailer. She also has experience as a writer and instructor in higher education.

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