The subscription model is permeating all aspects of our lives. There are subscription boxes for products and clothes, and most software licensing has moved to subscriptions. Within the IT world, there is one subscription that has actually been around in businesses for many years, which is Managed Print Services (MPS).
Often businesses couldn't afford to purchase a large copier/printer outright and would pay a monthly fee for the device. Pricing was usually based per print and might include toner and paper. We now see printer manufacturers adopting this model for consumers as well with printer ink, like HP's Instant Ink program.
While there is definitely a market for managed print services (MPS), many smaller IT firms have shied away from offering them. Printer maintenance and support are not skills that most IT professionals have. While we can do some basic work on a printer issue here and there, when it gets down to hardware issues with the printer, it usually requires someone with specific knowledge about printers or even that particular printer or copier.
Still, office equipment dealers and MSPs are converging in some regions -- triggering multiple M&A deals in the sector. In many cases, MSPs are now taking a second or third look at the managed print sector.
Xerox MPS Accreditation Program
If your company is interested in adding Managed Print Services to your portfolio though, Xerox now has an accreditation program to help get your staff trained and certified. The Xerox MPS Accreditation Program participants receive custom training, exclusive access to sales and assessment tools, pricing considerations and marketing support, the company claims.
Within the Xerox MPS Accreditation Program, Master Elite distinction is the most prestigious level, acknowledging partners that have the greatest business performance and commitment to providing their SMB customers MPS solutions. A couple of Master Elite partners are already cashing in on the opportunity MPS provides for their business.
True believers in the effort include companies like Parmetech Inc., a national reseller of technology hardware, software and related services based in Havertown, Penn.; and Benchmark Business Solutions, A Texas-based company that offers document-related services and was named the number-one Xerox agency in the U.S. six times.
Subscription Services For All?
While a subscription model seems to be the way to go these days for recurring revenue for your business, adding Managed Print Services may not make sense for your particular company. I would evaluate the cost (including productivity lost) of training staff and becoming certified with the actual upside opportunity MPS offers your business. Many clients of MSPs are already under lengthy contracts with an MPS company, and it may be hard to break into offering it.