As a business owner and operator, you need to be willing to learn and open-minded to new ideas. Sometimes, there are pools of untapped potential right under our noses; we just need a little help seeing them. The way in which managed print services (MPS) benefits an organization could be one of those untapped pools of potential for your business.
While MPS may not seem as exciting as other areas of digital transformation like robotic process automation (RPA) or low-code programming, it can be a vital aspect of any modern organization.
Managed print services can be briefly defined as a service that incorporates a variety of tools and technologies aimed at optimizing and/or managing a company’s printing needs or document output while maintaining a set budget.
The Present and Future of Managed Print Services for SMBs
It’s worth noting that MPS technology is also incorporated to track printer use, secure access, and ensure adherence to the budget. Managed service support professionals and engineers typically perform maintenance duties and are also charged with developing better document workflows that include digitization where applicable.
Digital transformation has revolutionized many aspects of business and a huge spectrum of workflows that used to be 100% manual. While companies continue finding ways to make their operations greener, a lot of vital documents and core operations still rely on print.
For the foreseeable future, paper and print will be crucial for many organizations and critical operations. In fact, the average office employee prints an astounding 10,000 documents per year. This emphasizes the role that paper plays in many organizations still today.
The flip side of this figure is that the same average office employee discards roughly 4 million tons of paper each year. One of the benefits of managed print services is more intentional and measured printing processes. This, in turn, helps cut organizational waste and ensures that nothing is printed without reason.
That’s a lot of paper, time, and money dedicated to printing processes alone. But why are people printing so much in the digital era?
Well, the answer is quite simple: there’s more data in the world today than ever before. This massive influx of data, especially among SMBs, ramped up the need for effective information processing strategies.
90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years.
More data is typically a good thing for businesses. It generally leads to better insights surrounding consumer behavior and the overall marketplace. However, if you’re working with legacy systems or outdated processes and technology, you likely don’t have a good way to fully utilize this data.
Managed print services can help small businesses update their office equipment, keep things operating smoothly at all times, and even give organizations better techniques for handling, managing, and organizing data.
With outdated office equipment, current employee printing habits, and a piecemeal print strategy, printing costs for businesses can get out of hand quickly. As such, organizations are spending more than ever on their printing costs as a result of long-term employee habits, legacy office equipment, and an influx of new data to process, organize, and analyze.
For many businesses, managed print services (MPS) provides a viable and cost-effective solution that helps them cut costs, bolster their printing strategy, and update their office equipment, all through a partnership with a managed service provider (MSP).
MSPs can help companies address and modernize their printing environments and practices without a bloated budget.
Managed Print Services Benefits
Let’s take a look at some managed print services benefits and what your business can expect from a quality MPS provider. Before we do, it’s important to note that managed print services are different from production print services, which involve the production of materials that go beyond the capabilities of a standard office printer.
Production print includes high-volume printing, wide-format printing, using a fifth toner color, adding varnish or foil, cutting and binding booklets, product label printing, and more. If you're in need of these services, it’s best to look for a production print shop that can help you with specialized and unique print projects.
For organizations who just need help managing their printing strategy, office equipment, and associated operations, partnering with an MSP for managed print services could save you ample time and money.
1. MPS Help Streamline Operations
The benefits of managed print services include the facilitation of a company’s digital transformation and their roadmap into the future. It’s not just about cutting costs or protecting yourself from cyberthreats (though both are very important).
Embracing digital transformation is about improving your processes to get the most out of the technology you currently use while adding new solutions where appropriate. The role of MPS in the context of digital transformation is now being recognized more frequently.
81% of SMBs believe that digitizing paper-based processes will be important for driving their organizations’ digital transformation by 2025.
One of the reasons for this shift in thinking is that digital transformation; that is, the use of modern tools and technology to streamline operations, aligns very well with implementing a strategy for managed print services.
An obvious example of this would be installing a digital repository on the cloud for all your business data, meaning information is far more accessible to workers than in the past. Additionally, printer fleets are improved drastically when smart multifunction printers (MFPs) are added to the equipment roster.
MFPs improve productivity in a business, allowing end users to print from anywhere and allowing the MFP to automatically upload any scanned documents to a designated online storage space, making it available instantly to anyone in your business with granted access.
2. MPS Can Protect Sensitive Documents and Data
When people think about endpoint security, they’ve always had a certain kind of device in mind. These are usually laptops, smartphones, or other mobile devices which can be vulnerable to cyberattacks or serve as entry points for hackers.
IoT devices extend beyond these traditional smart devices and appliances. Wi-fi enabled printers can also pose a significant weak point in network security for modern SMBs.
In 2019, an estimated 59% of businesses suffered a print-related data loss. Only one-third of these were due to actions of internal staff, suggesting cybercriminals are more frequently turning their attentions to printers as a way into networks.
In 2020, already a million printers were at risk of attack.
Think of all the sensitive and valuable information that is printed in your organization during any given year. With so much sensitive data being put through printers, it’s imperative to fold your printing environment into your company’s cybersecurity strategy.
Some of the most common printing-related threats leading to data breaches include:
- Document Theft: When a company experiences the unauthorized movement of data via malware, it’s known as exfiltration or data extrusion—and Quocirca finds that printers are the biggest target for these activities.
- Cryptojacking: Cryptojacking occurs when malware installs illicit software on a device to harness processing power for mining cryptocurrencies. Often, such malware positions itself on a router or other Internet-of-Things device with direct access to multiple computers to maximize available power.
- Hacking: Any network-connected device is susceptible to being hacked. Hackers use printers to acquire unsecured data on the hard drive and to access other parts of the company’s network that otherwise exhibit better cybersecurity.
- Email Attacks: Print-related data losses can occur because documents are emailed to external sources via a printer.
- Printer Tampering: Unsecured printer settings can be altered—intentionally or accidentally—to reduce document security. Changes might include saving jobs to another area, rerouting jobs entirely, or resetting the device to its factory settings to eliminate any custom security features which may have been installed.
An MPS provider will ensure that your printer fleet is fully secure and minimize the potential for lost data.
3. MPS Help Reduce Your Print Spend
One of the most crucial offerings that businesses can get from MPS is visibility.
When you use a managed print service, your provider will know when you’re running low on supplies and when you need service. Managers with a digital monitoring solution can proactively check when a printer is low on refills —of toner for example — and plan for deliveries in advance, making for a smooth experience all around.
Each employee’s printing habits cost a company an average of $725 per year, which could account for 5-15% of total business costs.
When printers break down or malfunction, managed print services provide covered on-site service. High-quality MPS will leave you with almost no downtime, as their service engineers will fix problems before they can occur.
You also get the advantage of tracking your expenditures in a more efficient and organized manner. MPS providers with monitoring software can give you a detailed bill every payment cycle. Therefore, you should expect transparency from a qualified MPS provider.
It’s often the case that businesses are simply unaware of the printing expenditures they incur because they’ve never had the means to monitor them. This leads to costs gradually building up over a long period of time, which is a constant drain on resources.
What if an organization is spending well above what they need to? Well, with some help from a managed print service provider, they could implement strategies to reduce their print spend and then maintain that budget at a sustainable level into the future.
An MPS will make sure to track your printer use, and with MFPs they’ll be able to analyze your expenditures with precision.
This effectively means that it’s a whole lot easier to establish a budget that’s aligned with your available resources. Once your managed print services provider knows your budget, they’ll allow you to stick to it, so costs never get out of hand.
4. MPS Helps Increase Sustainability
Reducing environmental footprints has been an increasingly important goal for many SMBs.
Employees, more than ever, take concern in the issues and values that their company takes an active interest (or disinterest) in. In fact, 57% of employees feel that corporate America needs to play a more active role in addressing important societal issues.
One of the most important issues, climate change, is affecting SMBs who want to incorporate a responsible green policy to reflect this interest in corporate values. This is no better showcased than by the raging Canadian wildfires that have eaten up 11 million hectares of land sending smoke all across New York City, Chicago, and the Midwest.
In addition to the ongoing climate crises across the globe, the rate at which businesses in the US consume paper-based products is unsustainable, and sooner or later they will have to implement print strategies to mitigate their carbon footprint and printing costs.
36% of timber harvested in the United States is used to produce paper. Over 30 million global acres of forest are destroyed annually to help supplement this production.
At Impact, we believe in implementing sustainable practices for our clients. Some of these practices include “re-leafing” programs to counter deforestation, sustainably sourced paper, and solutions for reducing paper-based processes.
These initiatives also have the additional benefit of cutting down on unnecessary costs, ultimately contributing to the savings your organization yields.
Related Blog: How Businesses Can Become More Sustainable with Paperless Office Solutions
5. MPS Offer Ongoing Consultation
A managed print service should always provide you with expertise revolving around your work environment and processes. Quality partners will recognize that a key aspect in the demand for managed services is the expert council provided.
Managed print service providers are no different; and we pride ourselves on being the type of vendor who takes the lead to ensure your printing strategy is perfectly aligned with your needs, rather than being the vendor that sells you a piece of office equipment and calls it a day.
When you engage in a managed print services partnership, you can expect the following:
Mapping & Setting Management
Specialists will assess your office to gain an understanding of your current set-up and identify areas in which you can improve. This means assessing which printers are overused or underused, if any equipment is outdated, and if there are any missed opportunities in your current arrangement. Ultimately, this creates a plan to optimize productivity in your office.
Your MPS partner will then map out the physical environment to showcase how they envision incorporating solutions into your environment. A simple but crucial step in ensuring better productivity in the workplace.
With an MPS, a company can also decide which printing practices create unnecessary costs. For example, are color copies overused? Can there be a limit to the number of copies?
With the correct settings, a company can develop a culture of efficient printing practices without sacrificing productivity or quality of work.
During the assessment, employees and stakeholders will be interviewed about current processes and any pain points they might have with the current office equipment.
These interviews provide deeper insights into the strengths of the current printing environment, its weaknesses, and most importantly, the needs of the employees and staff who rely on printing the most. Insights from the interviews can then inform additional solutions that would simplify workflows or streamline processes.
Data Gathering from Current Devices
MPS consultants will then start to comb through the existing office equipment in a more granular way. Looking through the data, they’ll be able to tell if machines are being underutilized, over utilized, or are experiencing operational issues.
Office equipment data can also shed light on the printing habits of employees and get to the root core of what they need regarding printing solutions.
The MPS provider will use an assessment tool to gather data from your existing print setup to better understand exactly how much each printing device is used and then determine what solutions will fit your needs best moving forward.
One of the main benefits of managed print services is being able to find extraneous expenditures and remove as many wasteful practices as possible. Most of the MPS benefits listed are either directly or indirectly related to cutting print costs.
This doesn’t just mean printing less, either. It’s ensuring that you’re properly secured so you don’t succumb to a data breach, getting the correct digital solutions implemented, and training users so that they can effectively and safely share data.
Whether it’s safeguarding your network from threats or cutting on paper consumption, in one way or another SMBs find that partnering with a managed service provider for their printing needs saves them time and money in the long run.
Printing costs can easily get out of hand for any organization if it goes unchecked. Without a proper print strategy, modern equipment, and security-conscious practices, SMBs can find themselves spending much more than they need on print.
A partnership with an MSP helps businesses understand where they can make improvements, how they can save on print spend, modernize their environments, and implement sustainable practices.
If you’d like to learn more about how to take advantages of these MPS benefits and more, head over to our Print Services Page. Read about our approach, and our commitment to transparency and customer service.