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The typical organization has an annual print budget equal to about 6 percent of revenues, according to the Gartner CIO Research Group. That’s about the same percentage as the average IT budget for many organizations. Yet while one budget (IT) often is microscopically scrutinized, the other (print) often goes unchecked.
The still-challenging economic climate has led a growing number of companies to contract with an IT services provider to manage their printers, copiers, scanners, and related equipment. The managed print services model is emerging as one of the fastest growing areas in the broader managed-IT-services marketplace and is part of a bigger trend in which businesses reduce capital expenditures on new technology purchases and turn IT into a monthly operational expense by contracting with outside vendors.
The managed-print-services model goes beyond the traditional break-fix model by which, when a printer breaks, a service rep is dispatched to fix it. A managed print provider still offers maintenance and repair services, but also works with you to design a printing/document imaging strategy that makes sense for your business.
Before making the switch to managed print services, evaluate the current state and costs of your print environment. If your business gets by with a minimal amount of paperwork generated by a few local printers, managed print may not be for you. But if you’re using multiple networked printers, copiers, fax machines, and scanners, your total cost of ownership goes far beyond what you paid for the devices. Consider what you’re spending on paper, toner cartridges, service contracts, and staff time. You’ll likely be surprised at the final tally.
Cost savings is the main driver in the decision to go with the managed print option. Organizations that have made the switch have saved from 10 percent to 30 percent of their print-associated costs. Managed print also contributes to an organization’s sustainability goals by reducing the print power consumption and print carbon footprint.
When considering managed print services, evaluate potential providers on the quality and effectiveness of their processes, systems, methods, and procedures. What products and services do they offer? How are they priced? What customer references can they provide? At the end of the day, the services they’re selling must have a positive impact on your business’s operations and financials.
President and CEO
Computing Technology Industry Assn.
Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
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