Print Vendors, Partners Roll Mobile Print Into Broader MPS Portfolios4:00 PM EST Wed. Oct. 31, 2012
Managed print service (MPS) providers are integrating mobile print solutions, or tools that enable secured printing from smartphones and tablets, into their broader service offerings as a means to grow their businesses and keep a competitive edge in today's increasingly mobile world.
According to Scott Guercio, sales manager at Advance, a managed print services provider based in Cockeysville, Md., mobile print is generating a lot interest among clients, and it has become a standard point of conversation during Advance's first meetings with customers.
"We've seen mobile print conversations for about the last 18 months, and [they've] certainly [been] a lot more common in the last eight to 12 months, where every business we walk into is asking about it in some way, shape or form," Guercio recently told CRN.
Advance offers PrintMe Mobile, a solution from mobile print vendor EFI, as both a straight software sale and as a component of its broader MPS offering. In addition to enabling the actual act of mobile printing, both models allow print jobs to be tracked and monitored, a responsibility taken on by Advance if the MPS model is used.
"The way we are selling it could be part of an MPS engagement, where we are going to go in and really strategize on what gets printed and where and how and why, and optimize where it's being sent and what devices are used," Guercio said.
Other print vendors, such as Canon, have also rolled out mobile print solutions, arming MPS partners with an opportunity to cash in on the BYOD trend. Canon's print and workflow management solution, Uniflow, has been updated to include new capabilities for securing and tracking print jobs coming from smartphones and tablets, including those running on iOS, Android or BlackBerry operating systems.
"In cases where we are selling technology that’s used to track and manage output, customers who have purchased those technologies over the last three years are now coming back to us and saying 'Well, we want to enable mobile printing in this technology infrastructure,'" Dennis Amorosano, senior director of Solutions Marketing and Business Support at Canon, told CRN.
"The same holds true for net new customers," Amorosano continued. "We are finding that most of our net new customers ... want mobile print capabilities, and they want to be able to track it."
Amorosano also believes that, like print, other processes such as document imaging and workflow management will ultimately move to mobile environments, a transition that will again open new doors for Canon partners.
"I think what's interesting here is that as you start to get into mobility, in general, you start to bump into these issues with end customers in terms of how are they going to take some of their traditional business applications and enable them for mobile platforms," Amorosano said. "So this is not only true for prints, ... but I think you'll find over time that this is going to be true for document capture and document imaging-type workflow processes inside a company, as well."
NEXT: Xerox Also Embracing Mobile Print
Xerox, another major print OEM, has also rolled mobile print capabilities into its broader Xerox Partner Print Services program, a move that AnneMarie Link, worldwide manager of Workflow Solutions Marketing at Xerox, said has allowed partners to clearly differentiate themselves from their competitors.
"I don’t know of any channel partner that couldn't readily and easily have a mobile conversation with a customer," Link said. "So I think it’s a huge value ... to be able to align with the Xerox mobile capabilities because it truly offers a competitive differentiation and value for the channel."
Patrick Leone, president of MidAmerica Technology, a Bloomington, Ind.-based managed print services provider and Xerox partner, agreed with Link. Embracing Xerox's mobile print solutions has helped MidAmerica Technology stay relevant and keep a competitive edge over its rivals.
"If you look at the trends in IT, the big trend was managed print. ... You could see that that was growing at an incredible rate, so we started that back in 2008," Leone said. "[Today] the mobile market is going to be the single largest IT increase in units sold, more than anything that has ever hit in the technology space. So when you see that coming, you want to be ahead of the game and have something the other guys don't."
PUBLISHED OCT. 31, 2012