MPS: The “Real Level” of MPS Engagement

When perusing the internet and looking at reseller web sites, one would think that MPS is a required offering. Almost every reseller, office products dealer, and imaging manufacturer lists Managed Print Services (MPS) as an offering. But are these resellers all really offering MPS? Based upon the Photizo Group’s Decision Maker Tracking Study™ (DMTS), the clear answer would be no! In fact, what they are actually offering, in many cases, is just a ‘click charge’ labelled MPS!

Photizo Group has actively been tracking the adoption of Managed Print Services (MPS) since 2008 by survey corporate and SMB decision makers who are either already in an MPS contract, or who are evaluating MPS contracts. In analyzing data from late 2015 in North America (2,096 respondents), the numbers showed that almost half the respondents who thought they were buying an MPS service were actually purchasing a standard click charge labeled as MPS.  This is shown in the following graph from our 2015 DMTS Report.

How did we come to this conclusion? In our most recent waves of the study, we began asking how the respondent’s MPS contract was structured. Was it a bundled supplies and service billing, an all-inclusive billing on a per page basis, all-inclusive per seat billing, or separate supplies, service, and equipment billing. Based upon our investigations with dealers, we have found that unbundled contracts are typically representative of ‘click charge’ contracts – not true MPS contracts. Part of the reason for this is, a true MPS contract requires actively managing the fleet, the supplies, and services to optimize performance off all three elements of the MPS contract to bring maximum cost effectiveness and efficiency to the customer. Conversely, by their very nature bundled contracts imply some level of management and optimization which is consistent with true MPS contracts.

As the market has matured, and MPS has become more of a ‘requirement’ for customers, some vendors have begun to promote their click charge programs labeled as MPS in order to capitalize on the growing awareness of MPS without making the investment and changes required to their business model which are commensurate with offering a real MPS offering. We have also seen the percent of customers planning on bringing their MPS back in-house or switching vendors also going up during this same period. Is there a correlation between the two? Yes.

Unfortunately, once customers are sold an MPS engagement which isn’t actually MPS (and thus can’t provide the cost savings or other advantages of MPS), they tend to be very dissatisfied and to some extent disillusioned with the industry.  Making it harder for vendors providing true MPS offerings to sell their value proposition!

I would love to hear your experience in the industry. Have you seen this issue? Is it getting better or worse with time in your opinion?  You can contact us at info@photizogroup.com.

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