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6 Managed Print Services Benefits for SMBs

Managed print services could be a crucial key to your success.

While maybe not as exciting as other areas of digital transformation like bots or low-code, it is nonetheless a vital aspect of any modern organization.

Digital transformation has revolutionized many aspects of business, but paper is, and likely always will be, a constant factor.

The average employee prints an astounding 10,000 pages a year.

That’s a lot of resources (and money) for an SMB to be dealing with today.

And why are people printing so much today?

Well, the answer is actually quite simple: there’s more data in the world today than ever, and the proliferation of data among SMBs especially has meant an increased need for effectively handling large amounts of information.

90% of all data in the world was created in the last two years.

The issue here is that businesses are dealing with a mountain of data, but often using outdated methods for organizing it.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.

In a year, the average employee prints 8,874 pages and 17% of them will go unread.

These costs are further embellished by organizations which may have struggled 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 they have with their print situations.

This typically involves old hardware, security, best practices, costs, and a lack of organizational structure.

Let’s take a look at what MPS can offer you and what to expect from a quality MPS service for your business.

Related Post: Managed Service Providers: What to Look for in a Partnership

1. Workflow Solutions

This is where managed print services as a wider tool for digital transformation comes in.

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.

You may already be familiar with the connection between managing print and digital transformation.

The role of MPS as an enabler for wider digital transformation efforts is being recognized more frequently and widely than before.

In 2018, only 23% of businesses agreed that MPS played an important role in digital transformation. In 2020, that number is up to 54%.

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, improvements that can be made to a printer fleet by utilizing smart multifunction printers (MFP) is significant.

MFPs bring improved productivity to 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 access.

Organizations using MPS are 55% more likely to have implemented organization-wide policies for managing both paper and digital information compared to those not using MPS (29%).

Printing costs productivity-employees have trouble finding what they need

2. Security

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

Think of all the sensitive material that comes out of your printers.

All it takes for catastrophe to strike is to lose one piece of sensitive data, and sometimes all that stands in the way is a humble printer.

This should be a serious concern for any organization, and is one of the main reasons printer security should be at the forefront of any business 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 cryptomining 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: In 2017, it was found that 44% of print-related data losses occurred because documents were 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.

Print security stats among businesses

3. Supplies Replenishment & Monitoring

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.

Organizations spend approximately 1-3% of annual revenue on printing. 90% of North American companies are unaware of how much they’re spending on printing.

When something breaks, 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.

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 that spending and then keep it at a suitable level for the future?

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of 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 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.

4. Green Initiatives

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.

40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for the production of paper, and over 30 million 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.

5. 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:

Office tours & mapping

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.

Employee interviews

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 have to use and 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.

6. Reduce Expenditure, Improve Cash Flow

We’ve touched on this already, but of course what a lot of decision makers are looking for is to save on unnecessary expenditures.

One of the chief reasons managed print service providers are partnered with is to find those expenditures and remove as many obstacles 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 them done.

Impact Networking has been in the managed print services business for over 20 years. 

Print management is an important part of reducing costs for small and midsize businesses that are budget-conscious and looking for ways to cut down on expenditure and their environmental impact. For more information about what print management can do for you, take a look at our Managed Print Services page and discover what you could get from a partnership with a managed service provider.