Managed print an under-recognized channel opportunity: HP Canada

HP logoSPONSORED CONTENT – Many solution providers are realizing greater margins from their printing business by adding managed print services to the mix, but still more are potentially leaving money on the table.

The term refers to a variety of services that can be applied to printing solutions, ranging from simple cost-per-page utility billing to fleet management through to customized workflow solutions built around print. Done right, managed print services will drive reduction in cost for end users, result in higher customer satisfaction, and increase solution provider profits.

And while Canada is enjoying “modest increases” in the printer hardware market, the kind of year-over-year growth being reported on managed print services, particularly in the channel-friendly 100 to 499 user space, is anything but modest.

While getting into print services has previously meant building up a practice and oftentimes been the territory of specialist partners, that’s not always the case today.

First Steps

Not every solution provider is going to want to start their journey towards managed print by going all-in and building a whole business around the technology. But that doesn’t mean that a partner needs to be locked out of the opportunity that managed print affords to bring in recurring revenues and drive customer closeness and satisfaction.

A great way into managed print is the PrintSolv program offered by HP Canada distribution partner Synnex Canada. PrintSolv makes it easy for solution providers to get into managed print, providing a streamlined path to doing page counts, supplies fulfillment, billing and other basic managed print services.

PrintSolv has been available through Synnex in the U.S. for some time, but just launched in Canada this spring

Getting into managed print through PrintSolv is a matter of training to understand the tool, and that training is readily available for Synnex partners.

“Synnex has done a great job of making it easy for both the partner and the customer, and will do joint calls with customers to introduce them,”  said Todd Bercovitch, business development manager at HP Canada.

Going Deep

For partners that want to really immerse themselves in a managed print specialty, HP offers channel programs culminating in the Managed Print Services Elite designation for partners that offer true specialization in the field as well as custom solutions and expertise for end users.

Getting to the designation requires an investment of time and training, with HP Canada offering partner education for managed services in both online and trainer-based courses. And increasingly, Bercovitch said, Managed Print Services Elite partners are made up of a mix of pure-play managed print solution providers and more generalist VARs that have built a MPS practice in their business.

“We want to be strategic with our Managed Print Services Elite partners, and cover the country,” Bercovitch said. “We’re working with partners where we have a deep relationship, so we know that where there are opportunities, they will come back with an HP solution.”

The investment made in training and business-building is greater than working with PrintSolv, but so too are the rewards, with margins growing substantially, particularly when partners enter the territory of developing and implementing custom workflow solutions for clients.

Long Term Customers

Whether a solution provider chooses to build managed print services through a service like PrintSolv or go all the way to a Managed Print Services Elite designation, there are benefits to enjoy. Along with greater margins, there’s also the benefit of customer loyalty. Outside of managed print services, most print hardware is purchased on a purely transactional basis. But by bringing customers aboard in managed print services relationships that typically range from one to five years, solution providers get the opportunity to get strategic over print. And deeper customer relationships means the opportunity to uncover more opportunities within the customer, offering assessments and developing a strategy that optimizes the customer’s printing mix while reducing costs.

“As you get deeper and deeper, there are a lot of opportunities to unlock more margins,” Bercovitch said.

Despite the fact that it’s been a growing technology for a number of years, Bercovitch describes managed print services as “a huge growth area, but not one that’s well recognized in the channel.” And while more partners are getting involved, there are more opportunities for partners to play in this space, and still more opportunities for partners to really go deep and “wrap their businesses around the model.”

If managed print services seem like a good fit for your business, contact your HP Canada partner account manager for more information, or get in touch with your Synnex Canada rep for more information on PrintSolv.

Keep your eye out for part two of our series on managed print services, where we’ll look at new and innovative print services from HP like ePrint Enterprise, FutureSmart and mobile printing, and how they fit into a managed print strategy.