6 Managed Print Services Benefits for SMBs
Managed print services (MPS) benefits could be an untapped source of success for your business.
While maybe not as exciting as other areas of digital transformation like bots or low-code, it can become a vital aspect of any modern organization.
Managed print services (MPS) explained briefly: MPS is a service that incorporates a variety of tools and technologies to optimize or manage a company’s printing needs or document output while maintaining a set budget.
Tech is also incorporated to track printer use and ensure adherence to the budget. Managed service support and engineers typically perform maintenance duties, while developing better document workflows that include digitization where necessary.
Digital transformation has revolutionized many aspects of business, but paper is, and likely always will be, a constant factor.
The average office employee prints an astounding 10,000 documents and discards roughly 4 million tons of paper per year.
That’s a lot of resources, including money, for an SMB to be dealing with today.
Related Infographic: How Much Is Paper Costing Your Business?
But why are people printing so much today?
Well, the answer is quite simple: there’s more data in the world today than ever before, and the proliferation of data, especially among SMBs, has meant an increased need for effectively handling large amounts of information.
The issue here is that businesses are dealing with an onslaught of data, while still using outdated methods for organizing it.
Combine this with current employee printing habits, and printing costs for a business can begin to get out of hand quickly.
These costs further increase in organizations that were unable to keep their printing fleets up to date.
In short, organizations are spending more than ever on their printing costs as a result of long-term habits, old machines, and an influx of new data to account for.
For many businesses, managed print services (MPS) have been the solution through partnerships with managed service providers (MSPs).
MSPs help companies address common concerns about their printing environments without needing an overblown budget.
These common concerns typically involve old hardware, security, best practices, costs, and a lack of organizational structure.
Managed Print Services Benefits
Let’s take a look at some managed print services benefits and what to expect from a quality MPS provider for your business.
Please keep in mind that managed print services are different from production print, which involves the production of materials that goes 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.
Related Solutions: Production Print
1. MPS Help Streamline Operations
Managed print services benefits include the facilitation of a company’s digital transformation.
It’s not just about cutting costs or protecting yourself from cyberthreats (though those two are very important).
It’s about improving your processes to get the best out of the technology you use and adding new solutions where appropriate.
The role of MPS as an enabler for wider digital transformation efforts is being recognized more frequently and widely than before.
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 managing printing.
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 it was in the past.
In addition to this, the improvements that can be made to a printer fleet by utilizing smart multifunction printers (MFP) are significant.
MFPs improve productivity in a business, allowing end users to print from anywhere and allowing the MFP to automatically upload a scanned document 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 almost always got a certain kind of device in mind.
These are usually laptops and other mobile devices which pose cyberthreats to SMBs as entry points.
IoT devices extend beyond this, with printers posing a significant weak point 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 material that comes out of your printers.
Because sensitive data handled by numerous employees at different levels can often go through printers, it is imperative to include your printing environment in your company’s cybersecurity program.
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 both to acquire unsecured data on the hard drive and to access other parts of the company’s network which 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 slow on refills —of toner for example —to plan for deliveries.
Each employee’s printing habits cost a company an average of $725 per year, which could account for 5-15 percent of total business costs.
When a printer breaks or malfunctions, on-site service is provided and covered by the MPS provider.
You also get the advantage of being able to track your expenditures in a more efficient and organized manner. MPS providers with monitoring software can give you a detailed bill every payment cycle. Therefore, expect transparency from a qualified MPS provider.
It’s often the case that businesses are simply unaware of the printing expenditures because they’ve never had the means to monitor them.
This leads to costs gradually building up over a long period of time, becoming a constant drain on resources.
What if an organization is spending well above what they need to? What if, with some help, they could implement strategies to reduce their print spend and then keep it at a suitable level for the future?
The fact of the matter is that most companies don’t know the answer to these important questions because they do not monitor their printing habits.
An MSP 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 is in line with what you use and spend on printing resources. Once your MSP knows your budget, they’ll allow you to stick to it, so costs never get out of hand.
This helps you keep costs down and streamline your budget.
Related: Confluence Graphics as a Managed Print Services Case Study
4. MPS Help 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.
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.
The rate at which businesses in the US consume paper-based products is unsustainable, and sooner or later they will have to confront this by implementing print strategies to help.
36% of timber harvested in the United States is used to produce paper, and over 30 million global acres of forest are destroyed annually to help supplement this production.
It’s one of the reasons we at Impact implement sustainability initiatives for our customers.
These 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, too.
Related Blog: How Businesses Can Become More Sustainable with Paperless Office Solutions
5. MPS Offer Ongoing Consultation
A managed print service should always look to provide you with expertise for your work environment and processes.
Quality partners will recognize that a key aspect of demand for managed services is the consultation they provide.
Managed print service providers are no different; and there is a big difference between a vendor who will sell you a printer and call it a day; and a vendor who will take the lead on ensuring that your printing strategy is the best it can be for your needs.
When you engage in a relationship for managed print services, expect them to conduct the following:
Mapping & Setting Management
Specialists will assess your office to get a better understanding of whether the office is appropriately set-up for maximum productivity.
This means assessing which printers are overused or underused by determining whether they are placed in optimal positions.
They will then map out the environment to give a visual indication of the current and potential options. A simple but crucial step in ensuring better productivity in the workplace.
With an MPS, a company can also decide which printing behaviors cause unnecessary costs. For example, are color copies overused? Can there be a limit to the numbers of copies? With the correct settings, a company can increase a culture of efficient printing behaviors.
Employees and other stakeholders will be asked about current processes and any issues they might have.
This gives the provider an opportunity to get a better understanding of strengths, weaknesses, and needs of the people who rely on printing the most.
Data Gathering from Current Devices
They will identify how devices are being used. Underutilized? Overutilized?
What are the printing habits of employees and what are their needs?
The MPS provider will use an assessment tool to gather data from your existing print setup to get a better understanding of exactly how much each printing device is used and then determine what fits your needs best.
One of the main managed print service benefits is being able to find those expenditures and remove as many wasteful practices as possible. Most of the benefits listed in this blog post are either directly or indirectly related to saving on costs.
And it’s not just a case of printing less either. It’s making sure you’re properly secured so you don’t succumb to a data breach; it’s getting the correct digital solutions implemented and users trained so that they can effectively 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 provider for their printing needs saves them cash in the long run.
And this should be a primary ambition of any modern-day SMB; there’s no doubt that printing costs are getting out of hand for the vast majority of organizations and many of them haven’t the knowledge or means to keep those costs down.
A partnership with an MSP helps businesses understand where they can make improvements, and how they can save on print spend and modernize their environments.
If you’d like to learn more about how to take advantages of these MPS benefits and more, head over to our Print & Documents page. Read about our approach, and our commitment to transparency and customer service.