Your business must route, process and store massive amounts of information. Each touchpoint accounts for time and money spent to achieve your primary goal of serving your customers. While many executives suspect these costs could be streamlined, the actual investment is often grossly underestimated and thought to be of low value. From largely unmanaged cost centers to inefficient processes, document production and management initiatives can actually provide real wins by installing significant cost controls, empowering your personnel and enhancing your own customers' experiences exponentially.

Many organizations across the globe have turned to managed print services (MPS) as a means of decreasing operational expenses, and this year, more than one-third of hardcopy device procurement will take place through MPS contracts. However, the benefits don't just stop with cost controls. MPS can have a dramatic impact as part of a total IT strategy that works to boost overall business output.

A successful business relationship between you and your MPS partner requires your selected partner to possess or develop an in-depth knowledge about your business. This requires a keen understanding of everything from your device fleet and usage to your business processes. Remember, this is a strategic solution, not a day-to-day hardcopy offering; you'll need some way to discriminate between sales fluff and real experience.

The financial aspect of MPS
Time after time, companies have found there are significant financial benefits to be realized by converting to a MPS environment. It is obvious that fewer, better-utilized machines and a lower volume of paper and other consumables will result in cost savings. There are plenty of financial benefits that go beyond these easily recognized examples.

Most organizations (that haven't implemented MPS) don't really understand their printing costs today. Some of the expenses are buried in departmental budgets and expense reports. Others, such as technical support, are often not broken out at all. According to Photizo Group research, printing costs can run in the range of three percent to six percent of revenue. Hardware costs, the easiest to identify and track, account for only five percent of the total cost of ownership. Operating costs account for 45% and the remaining 50% is spent on support. Internal assessments typically identify only 10% of the total costs associated with printing. An objective assessment by a knowledgeable partner is very important.

For a more in-depth resource in your MPS journey, download the CXO's Guide to MPS.

The softer side of MPS
A managed print environment is really a managed document environment—or a managed information environment. Once an organization has achieved the savings and efficiencies associated with right-sizing their fleet of equipment and are monitoring their print activity, they need to look elsewhere for less obvious benefits.

Capturing the information contained in paper and electronic documents and using it to improve workflow or automate processes is the next step for many companies. Newly acquired knowledge of document use and detailed information about the departments or individuals who interact with documents allows companies to extend control to business processes beyond printing.

If you are considering a move into managed print services, there is a lot to learn. MPS is a far-reaching undertaking. Some of the necessary knowledge can be acquired internally, some from prospective MPS providers and some from reports and studies. A great deal of valuable knowledge comes from networking with other companies that have already undertaken the task.

Managing your document environment has many advantages. With the right kind of help and guidance, companies can turn a wasteful and expensive administrative expense into a strategically integrated function of the workflow. Actively managing the documents your company uses to do business can add value to the products and services you provide—not just lower your costs.

KEN STEWART serves as the director of Channel Analysis for Photizo Group, a research and consulting firm in the imaging industry, and acts as a leading advocate of MPS channel research and consulting. He is the founder of the industry blog and has successfully navigated the technology and business landscape for over a decade, advising businesses on using technology process and people to overcome challenges. For more information, visit

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