MPS adoption growing

As the adoption of managed print services (MPS) garners momentum in the Middle East, opportunities are opening up for partners to target the SMB, midmarket and enterprise segments.

Tags: Canon Emirates (www.canon-emirates.ae)Canon Europe N.V.Canon IncorporationCanon Middle EastOKI Europe (www.oki.com/eu/printing/)
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MPS adoption growing
By  Manda Banda Published  August 18, 2018

The high level of responsiveness among small and medium businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises in the region regarding the benefits of managed print services (MPS) has greatly upped the stakes in the adoption of these services in the Middle East market.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) MPS market is driven by the strong presence of major managed print service providers and leading copier and printer manufacturers.

According to global market intelligence company Transparency Market Research (TMR), the worldwide market for managed print services (MPS) is poised for a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.8% during the forecasted period from 2015 to 2024.

Maintaining this pace, TMR said the opportunities in this market should rise from $26.18bn in 2015 to $94.97bn by 2024. MPS, stated the TMR report, is driven by evolving customer needs and demands which have compelled players in this market to focus on delivering more innovative, flexible and cost-effective solutions.

One of the key challenges, stated the report, is the ongoing transition to a more digitised paper workflow. Companies are looking to reduce their reliance on paper and this poses a major hurdle in the widespread adoption of MPS. Nevertheless, experts in the industry believe that, owing to the significant role that printing plays in various business operations, companies will continue to be reliant on it.

Mohamed El Bahrawy, business operations director, Canon Middle East, said the region has witnessed a steady growth in organisations increasingly relying on specialist third party providers for managed print services (MPS). “We have seen strong and steady growth in MPS in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, especially in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon,” he said. “We expect this trend to continue, particularly led by the robust growth of regional economies and across all business sectors.”

El Bahrawy said the company has successfully developed Canon Emirates, its subsidiary company in the UAE, as a benchmark for MPS solutions. “This direct approach sets a business best practice that helps us to consolidate our business,” he said. “We also strengthen our market presence in the region through Canon Middle East business development managers and our regional partner network.”

El Bahrawy noted that last year the company signed its 100th MPS customer, which is a milestone for Canon as it continues to expand this service to customers in the region.

He said MPS enables organisations to achieve significant cost savings, increased document security and improvements in workforce productivity and workflow through expert print and information management consultancy, in addition to benefits such as reduced print output, paper usage, and electricity consumption. “All these are key drivers for companies of various sizes and industries to adopt MPS,” he said.

El Bahrawy added that managed print services have helped Canon achieve a reduction in the environmental impact of our hardcopy fleet. “With a broad range of benefits offered by MPS, decision-makers use a wide set of criteria when selecting which solution and provider to work with,” he said. “Overall, customers are looking for suppliers with strong reputations to reassure them and they also want partners to have sufficient scalability to manage change and any unforeseen occurrences.”

Shakeeb Ahmed Khan, consumables sales manager, Middle East at OKI Europe Ltd, said for the last six years, large enterprises started showing more interest in the document workflow automation to reduce cost and here is where OKI MPS has been extending in the Middle East vertical segments to help businesses achieve their objectives and include business process automation, document workflow and information management.

Khan said capitalising on this growing trend, the Middle East market for MPS is poised to register huge growth in the coming years and that’s why OKI MPS offerings are designed to help users achieve their business objectives by streamlining operations and ensuring utmost efficiency. “Companies are adopting OKI MPS to achieve their business goals by reducing printer volume, accurate allocation of costs, reducing printer fleet, minimising IT workload, lowering paper usage, enhancing security and authentication, and lower consumption of electricity, which leads to overall business efficiency, and 20 to 30% reduction of overall costs,” he said. “The market for managed print services is divided on the basis of size of enterprise into large enterprises and SMEs. Large enterprises mainly witness 20 to 30% of print cost reduction, whereas SMEs are slated to up their usage of managed print services with increasing awareness regarding the many advantages of these services.

With channel partners constantly being bombarded with a barrage of information in the MPS segment, what trends are driving channel partners to get involved in this market sector?

Latik Gupta, head, Enterprise Division, Jumbo Group, said vendors and distributors are starting to promote MPS more aggressively because the opportunities for the channel are huge.

Gupta said channel partners are realising that significant costs pile up simply due to inefficient processes and diverse and ageing printers. “They are now becoming more aware of what can be done to cut costs and update workflow using the new generation of small-footprint and more energy-efficient devices,” he said.

According to Gupta, enterprise and midmarket firms have been the early adopters of the MPS model as they were always at the forefront of technology and best practice implementations. “Multinational companies are taking a step in the right direction and are encouraged by the concept of adopting the concept of managed print services from more mature markets in Europe and North America,” he noted.

Gupta remarked that many organisations adopt MPS strategies to cope with runaway print costs and data security vulnerability. “Managed print services help streamline the workflow, improve service quality, reduce printing costs and enable security, compliance and green reporting,” he said.

He pointed out that adopting MPS also allows organisations to focus on core businesses, move on to managed IT services or vice versa, and achieve more accountability.

Ameet Gwalani, chief business enabler, at Xpandretail, said medium to large businesses monitor their costs when it comes to IT, human resources and almost every other area of the business. “So why should printing be any different,” Gwalani asked?

He said business owners who are seeking to reduce operational costs may find that MPS have a great deal to offer. “From freeing employees to concentrate on other tasks to ensuring that all documents, printed materials and digital scanning efforts are able to produce superior quality results, working alongside the professionals may benefit many aspects of your daily operations,” he said.

He said it is that solution providers make their case for MPS to CIOs and other C-level and business line executives in an organisation. “MPS is an IT initiative, not a printer/refresh project,” he said. “MPS is also a process that simply begins with the roll-out. Define the ‘m’ in MPS and be prepared to understand exactly how your prospective MPS partner manages your engagement. Embedded MPS technology accumulates a lot of data that reveals gaps and opportunities.

Canon’s El Bahrawy observed that when approaching C-level and other leadership executive, the case for MPS needs to be linked to performance level indicators, or a performance matrix. “Usually C-level executives focus on the overall business and if MPS can enhance a part of their goals, then that should lead the conversation,” he explained.

For example, added El Bahrawy, if targeting a CIO, the focus can be on enhancing team productivity by a given percentage, similarly with a CFO the conversation can be on cost cutting and overall profitability on the long-term.

While there is no doubt MPS bring immense benefits to organisations, there are still challenges and resistance to MPS adoption and channel partners have to overcome these hurdles in order to develop this market  segment further in the Middle East.

El Bahrawy said a key focus should be on educating businesses what benefits they can expect to generate via installing a multi-function device, implementing MPS or tracking print expenditure, etc. “Indisputably, there is a hunger to learn more about technology and its benefits. In the current enterprise environment, flooded with a tide of data and information, technology is a route to improving workflows and the way documents are processed,” he added. “The lack of awareness on exactly what technology can do is a barrier, but once tackled vendors have the opportunity to open a healthy discourse with customers about how technology can help them transform into the business of tomorrow.”

According to Office Insights 2018, the shifts in attitude towards information are already happening today as the majority of businesses in Middle East agree that their goal is to develop a ‘paperless office’ model.

El Bahrawy noted that MPS is growing as an industry and the current extent of automation shows that around 45% of businesses in the region have already automated the processing of at least one type of corporate document. “The growth of the SME sector – now a key contributor to the economies of the MEA market, means more businesses are exploring cost-effective options to manage their imaging and printing requirements,” he said. “This opens up tremendous opportunities for outsourcing services, particularly relating to printing solutions.”

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