The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon has already provided a boost for solution providers in the networking, security and mobile device management arenas. But as more and more enterprise users turn to smartphones and tablets in lieu of traditional notebooks and desktops, solution providers in the managed print services (MPS) space also stand to gain by incorporating mobile print software, or solutions that allow users to print from their smartphones and tablets, into their broader MPS offerings.
Mobile print software vendor EFI has seen a jump in business over the past year, as organizations seek out solutions that allow their employees to print from smartphones and tablets. EFI's flagship mobile print offering, PrintMe Mobile, is software that not only enables employees to print from their mobile devices, but ensures they do so securely by arming IT teams with the ability to monitor, secure and store all mobile print jobs that cross corporate networks.
According to Tom Offutt, EFI's director of business development, business has been booming.
"We are in our third full quarter of shipping [PrintMe Mobile], and the growth quarter to quarter has been very, very strong," Offutt told CRN, declining to provide exact figures. "It's very, very large in terms of percentage growth from quarter to quarter, and that momentum is continuing on."
Offutt said EFI is seeing new business from Fortune 100 companies, while still maintaining a strong foothold in its bread-and-butter vertical markets, like education and legal. PrintMe Mobile is OS-agnostic, compatible with Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and iOS devices.
"People should be able to work where they want to work; they should be able to print when they want to print," Offutt said. "You are not going to alter the way business is done; there are just certain things that are done on paper."
EFI resellers are benefiting from the success of PrintMe Mobile, Offutt said. Many partners are selling the solution as either a pure software offering, or are bundling the product with other hardware offerings to further grow their margins. Meanwhile, some partners are rolling PrintMe Mobile into their broader managed print services practice, delivering the tool alongside additional services, such as mobile print monitoring or print cost analysis, to pull in even more revenue.
Scott Guercio, sales manager at Advance, a Managed Print Services provider and EFI partner based in Baltimore, said mobile print is generating a lot of interest among clients, and has become a standard point of conversation during Advance's first meeting with a customer.
"We've seen mobile print conversations for about the last 18 months and certainly [have become] 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 told CRN.
As suggested by Offutt, Advance offers PrintMe Mobile in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it's resold as a pure software offering. Other times, it's bundled into Advance's larger MPS offerings, where additional services are thrown into the mix.
"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.
While there are a number of applications available on iTunes and other app stores that enable mobile print, they don't offer the security and management features that solutions like PrintMe Mobile do, making them less suited for the enterprise. Many of these applications are also unable to preserve the original format of Word documents or other files, which can be a headache for business users.
This, in turn, positions enterprise-ready mobile print software as a big win among enterprise users, and gives Advance a leg up over its MPS competitors.
"In the short time that we have been selling this PrintMe Mobile product … it gave us the ability to get into new customers, which we have done through that product," Guercio said. "We have gone out to accounts that aren't ours, and answered or solved a problem that we couldn't have done without it."
Other vendors including Canon and Xerox have recently rolled out mobile print solutions of their own, arming MPS partners with an opportunity to broaden their offerings and cash in on the BYOD trend.