Print Services on demand

As print management services take hold in the Middle East, the enterprise sector in the region is offering partners the chance to offer integrated printing solutions to their end-user customers

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Print Services on demand
By  Piers Ford Published  February 21, 2014

As print management services take hold in the Middle East, the enterprise sector in the region is offering partners the chance to offer integrated printing solutions to their end-user customers.

There has probably never been a better time to get into print management services. Across the Middle East, enterprises are investing heavily in integrated printing solutions that take the administrative and financial pain out of document production and turn it into a scaleable service fit for a truly multimedia environment.

This trend is reinforced by the acceptance of managed print services (MPS) as a significant element of the overall global managed services market, which MarketsandMarkets anticipates will grow from $143bn last year to $256bn in 2018. Which channel player would not want a foot in a market that is growing at more than 12% each year?

The benefits to the enterprise are clear. First and foremost, they can gain visibility and control of their spending, according to Simon Howells, MPS manager, global document outsourcing, at Xerox MEA.

“This helps them free up budget for innovative projects that improved efficiency and drive competitive advantage,” said Howells. “By far the most popular service is focused on print. MPS in the region is growing at a rapid rate and will no doubt form the platform for individual services lines to be built upon to broaden the offering.

“Organisations in the Middle East have grown quickly, which has led to a sporadic purchasing model. This model lacked structure. Now CIOs and CFOs are turning their attention to an area which is causing them cost and management issues: print.”

Howells said hotspots for a reseller to target in a customer’s printing strategy include: the potential to reduce costs by up to 30%, as well as increasing efficiency; improving employee satisfaction and productivity; enhancing document security; and improving environmental sustainability. All of these elements should feature in a reseller or service provider’s understanding of the enterprise’s business.

“MPSs have penetrated almost every domain including government services, healthcare, education and various other enterprises in the region,” said Howells. “Channel players are realising that value-add is the future and Xerox, through its market-leading position, can offer more value-add in spaces such as MPS.”

At Sharp, Ravinder Kumar, general manager – business solutions division, said the uncontrolled print environment is the key driving force behind the widespread adoption of enterprise print services.

“Ever increasing print costs and untrained IT staff that handle breakdown of imaging devices will continue to drive demand for enterprise print services across the region,” he said. “Services such as ours are easily customisable so they can be implemented across GCC, Africa and CIS countries. The only difference is that certain markets demand some extra features within the solutions while others focus primarily on the basic features.”

Sharp suggested that the print services sector is so dynamic that it is relatively easy to set up a professional service channel. But he warned that it is not a free ride for new channel businesses.

“At the end of the day, it is a customer-based industry and if a customer finds a newly-introduced technology complex to use, there is a high chance they will take a step back and look to traditional channel and systems integrators,” he said.

Xerox recently launched a print services training programme for its partners, backed by a range of e-learning initiatives that allow specific curriculums to be created and tailored for individual channel players and their staff.

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