The last few years have been big for managed print services. Businesses in this industry felt the pinch and began crossing over into the managed services world. It’s been challenging for many to adopt many of the value-added items that members look for because this change brings MPS’ a lot more responsibility. 2019 will bring a new set of challenges for the slow-growing MPS to MSP businesses. It’s an exciting year, but hold on to your pants because it will go quickly.

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the term “IoT devices” probably more times than you’d like to in the last few months. The Internet of Things, device pairing, and security concerns are all things that will inevitably affect the services that businesses offer. This is especially true when it comes to managed print services. The issue here is not that these businesses can’t handle the change, it is more so that they must ramp up customer-centric service and service transparency.

The second challenge is moving into the MSP industry while cloud computing is ever evolving. Managed print services usually don’t have much to do with the cloud. The majority of them deal only with copy and print machinery as well as document sales. All of these things are tangible and singularly managed, rather than included within other services. Even with many businesses shifting, there is still a threshold that hasn’t been crossed between the two. Even though vendors and distributors have tried, they are still seeing a disconnect.

Those making the shift are also finding it’s a lot more difficult than they thought it would be. They believed they’d have built in customers from their print services division. Instead, their print salespeople are arrived to introduce managed services to these leads in case something goes wrong. Now, they have to search for a whole new audience, but everyone and their brother knows them as a print provider, not managed services. Many also thought that their salespeople would jump at the chance to sell a new product, but in all reality, very few are really jumping on board in enthusiasm, either because they don’t understand the service, they don’t want to burn their customers, or their happy with their current commission checks.

Basically, MPS’ are broadening their service offerings with business communications first. This is an excellent start in the move toward complete managed services and lets print companies work out the wrinkles. This allows the industry to get closer to customers as well as more in-depth with current business clients. This is also a great way to transition without losing clients and simply upselling their current services. It also allows for new vendor relationships as well. Test the water, see if you are ready to dive in.