Solution providers can solve a bevy of customer pain points by adding managed print services to their portfolios and open the door to recurring revenue opportunities for themselves, said a Xerox executive Monday.
Chris Iburg, director of managed print services at Xerox, told attendees at the XChange 2012 conference in Dallas that adding managed print services, particularly if they are already selling managed services in a consultative capacity, can be a boon to business. XChange 2012 is run by UBM Channel, the parent company of CRN.
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Customer concerns related to printers include not knowing how many devices they have and how those devices are being used as well as having no visibility into what their current printing costs are. They are also looking to get more productivity out of the assets they already have, support environmental initiatives and meet security and compliance requirements.
"It's an incredible opportunity for sustained revenue and growth, "Iburg said.
Iburg offered his take on the seven things MSPs need to know when taking on managed print services:
1. Your peers are already doing it: Iburg said a good number of MSPs have already taken the plunge into managed print services, citing an MSPmentor survey in which 30 percent of surveyed MSPs said they offer them, up from 20 percent the year prior.
2. They can help you secure your existing customers: Solution providers need to decide whether they are going to take an offensive position and lead customers toward managed print services or if they will sit back and play defense. If they choose the latter, they open the door for "that copier guy" to encroach on not only printer opportunities but more general IT services as well, Iburg said.
3. Sometimes it's best to start simple: Iburg said even getting in on the low-end of the managed print services spectrum can provide margin for solution providers. He touted eConcierge, Xerox's supplies replenishment program, as a starting point.
4. Integration of tools is more important than just having tools: "Tools are important, we recognize that they are the heart of the beast, ... but we all have great tools. Success comes from how well tools are integrated," he said. Xerox offers a toolset to solution providers that is integrated into its own back office systems as well as its managed print services extranet site and partner-facing portal.
5. Strut your service: The biggest asset solution providers have is the level of customer service they can offer, Iburg said. "What you do well for your customers is provide excellent service ... you're the trusted advisor. I think you can leverage that to showcase how much you're doing today and how much you could do in the future."
6. Distraction vs. Opportunity: Solution providers shouldn't view the prospect of adding managed print services to their portfolio as a distraction from their existing offerings. "Network print devices are nothing more than another network appliance," he said.
7. Partner with experience: Iburg recommended that MSPs pick a managed print services partner with a proven track record. Of course he pointed to Xerox as just such a partner. "Support is key; you want to make sure you have support behind you."
PUBLISHED AUG. 20, 2012