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MPS 2.0: From Managed Print Services to better business processes

The next level of MPS provides a roadmap to business transformation and frees IT resources to focus on strategic activities

IT faces a dilemma. Budgets are shrinking, even as companies increase their expectations that IT organizations innovate and deliver on business objectives, according to Angèle Boyd, group VP and general manager of Imaging/Output Document Solutions and SMB at research firm IDC. Mobile devices and cloud-based applications, the explosive growth of unstructured data, and the demand that social media be integrated with key business functions are all creating security concerns and adding to IT workloads.

The impact of managed print services solutions on these challenges was discussed during a recent InformationWeek webcast, sponsored by Lexmark and featuring Boyd and John Crandall, Lexmark VP and general manager of Worldwide Enterprise Business and Global Services.

What's driving MPS 2.0?

The highest level of managed print services — MPS 2.0 — helps optimize a company’s business processes to make employees more effective and efficient. Several industry trends are behind the ascent of MPS 2.0, according to Boyd. The doubling of digital content every two years, largely due to compliance requirements, is causing companies to look closely at costs. Employees and customers also expect that content to be available anytime, anywhere.

Companies are also moving many applications to the cloud and enabling business processes to be used on tablets and smartphones. With multifunctional devices, companies can capture a large variety of information and introduce this content into common digital workflows. According to Boyd, the need to manage and secure this vast amount of content is driving the demand for management services, which IDC expects to grow from today’s $12 billion worldwide to $19 billion over the next three years.

Boyd also notes that IDC found that 37 percent of employees use cloud-based file services such as Dropbox, often without permission from IT.

“Storing valuable data in a potentially insecure way is a big risk, but business process improvement software can manage smart multifunction printers, which scan and store documents and then trigger a sophisticated workflow with rules and routing,” says Boyd.

Strong savings and proactive management

According to Boyd, MPS 2.0 takes a holistic approach to printing, scanning and managing documents and tying it to business optimization.

“MPS 2.0 delivers 25-50 percent of sustainable cost savings, and reduces the number of pages your organization produces, saving printing, storing and warehousing expenses,” Boyd says.

What’s more, MPS 2.0 reduces bottlenecks and business process cycle times. Companies that take maximum advantage of MPS save an average of 29 percent of their printing and document handling expenses, enabling IT to shift resources to more strategic activities. As Boyd points out, “MPS is really about helping you grow your business and differentiate your services from your competitors.”

MPS 2.0 goes beyond addressing a company’s cost-per-page printing expenses. A key benefit is that it brings all of a company’s output devices into one view. Most managers do not have good visibility into their printing and document management costs, says Boyd, which are usually much greater than they think.

Part of the problem is that many groups share ownership of these costs — IT, facilities, operations, lines of business and procurement — so it is typically difficult to get an accurate roll-up.

Understand the entire business process

MPS 2.0 helps companies better focus on process optimization to enable employees to spend more time with customers. A key part of MPS 2.0 is change management, which includes incentivizing and motivating employees to embrace the changes that are necessary.

Although many customers who implement MPS go into it with a focus on procurement and consolidating devices, hardware expenses are really a small part of the overall costs, according to Lexmark’s Crandall. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the entire business process, the role that documents play in it and why and when users need to print.

“It’s critical to understand how users are doing their work and to consider the technology that supports business processes before you do a quick push to consolidate devices,” explains Crandall.

Choose a provider with a broad understanding

Customers should look for a solution provider that has a broad enough portfolio to deliver MPS 2.0, says Boyd.

“Don’t base your search only on who has an impressive portfolio of hardware, but look for a provider with the software tools and experience — business process management software, intelligent capture — that are necessary to optimize workflow. Professional services skills are also important.”

Make sure the provider offers capable proactive services to maintain equipment and replace consumables before employees have to get involved, adds Crandall.

“Your environment should be automated to detect when it’s time to replace consumables, order them and schedule their installation. This way, employees can be more productive.”

Seek out expertise and excellence

Choose a vendor who can deliver a workflow solution — not just “scan to archive.” The solution should be specific to a company's industry, and work in both the front and back office, so it can streamline workflow in an end-to-end manner. Companies should also make sure the solution can scale globally, Boyd says.

Finally, companies should do business with an MPS 2.0 provider that has demonstrated operational excellence in their industry and has business process expertise. The provider should understand the importance of helping employees be more effective and productive.

The Lexmark difference

Most MPS providers will center the conversation on equipment — removing devices, redeploying units or redirecting print jobs to centralized reprographic centers. At Lexmark, the focus is on people, or more accurately, the people who drive daily business processes, and on how to make them more efficient. Achieving long-term value from an MPS investment starts when a company is able to focus less on the cost of printing and more on the total cost of doing business. Lexmark helps unlock value from the data collected from a company’s managed infrastructure so it can be used to optimize its business.

Using analytics and statistical modeling, Lexmark mines the data, looking for trends and patterns. Lexmark can combine the information with real-world observations and insight into an organization — not only what it does, but why it does it — to recommend software-based solutions that deliver incremental and breakthrough improvement in the performance of the organization.

For more on MPS 2.0, listen to the full webcast