MPS Service Delivery Fundamentals

Your organization understands the value of optimizing its print and document infrastructure in order to achieve greater efficiencies and cost savings, increase security and better meet your regulatory/compliance and environmental/sustainability objectives.

In addition, cloud-based applications and mobile devices as well as the increasing consumerization of IT and the impact of social media on business applications are creating both new opportunities and new pain points related to document and information management. An increasingly mobile workforce presents additional challenges. Many organizations partner with third party providers to acquire new competencies related to print and electronic document infrastructure and workflows, and to leverage 3rd platform technologies (cloud, mobile, big data analysis and social media).

You are considering engaging with a managed print services (MPS) provider. Or perhaps you are in the process of evaluating providers, or have recently contracted with an MPS provider. What are the factors that will ensure the success of your MPS initiative? What should you expect from your provider? What are the most important steps toward achieving your organizational goals?

To answer these questions, consider the principal phases of an MPS engagement. Your provider, in partnership with your organization, will perform different activities at each phase.

  • Assess – Your provider conducts a comprehensive assessment of the current state of your organization’s print, document infrastructure and workflows. Based on this assessment, the provider develops a detailed, optimized future state design, including projected cost savings and recommended solutions and services.
  • Transition – The organization converts from the current state to the future state design, possibly via a phased approach. The transition encompasses technology optimization as well as workflow enhancements. Your provider makes suggestions for additional optimization as the future state is rolled out.
  • Manage – The transition has been completed and the MPS provider is managing the day-to-day operation of the print and document infrastructure. There is ongoing data collection, review and analysis, with an eye toward opportunities for further optimization and continuous improvement in infrastructure, workflow and business processes.

As this last statement implies, this process is not linear, but cyclical, repeating as your organization grows to higher levels of print and document management maturity, as depicted in figure 1. Print and document management maturity refers to a progression from optimizing devices; to optimizing documents (how they are created, managed, and used); to optimizing document intensive workflows - which may mean not printing at all.

Of course, in this increasingly connected world, all phases must be conducted with attention to security, including security of output devices and other components of the print infrastructure, a secure network, and secure content.

Fig 1
Primary Phases of an MPS Engagement

Service Delivery Excellence in MPS

Each phase of an MPS engagement has its own set of factors that drive success. Organizations and their providers frequently focus on the device and related software solutions that are deployed. But one aspect that is often overlooked is service delivery excellence. What is service delivery excellence? Simply put, it is the superior execution of each phase, and each cycle, of the engagement.

At the end of 2015, IDC conducted a survey of large organizations in the U.S. and Western Europe that had carried out successful MPS initiatives. Respondents had been engaged with their MPS provider for a minimum of three years. Respondents were asked what factors contributed the most to the success of their MPS contracts.

Almost half of respondents (46%) cited execution as the key to the success of the engagement (figure 2). Just under one-third indicated that technology was the primary driver of success. A similar number stated that their relationship with the vendor and its employees was significant in the success of the MPS engagement.

Fig 2
Execution Is the Key to Success

What contributed the most to the success of your MPS contract?
(% of respondents)

Figure 2: Execution Is the Key to Success

 Execution of the contract from assessment through transition

 The relationship with my vendor and its employees

 The technology deployed under the contract

We asked survey participants how they measure success in their MPS engagements. Not surprisingly, over half of respondents use cost savings to gauge success. One third of respondents indicated that they use reduced transaction cost and/or reduced print/paper volume to measure success – both of which are cost related. Other important parameters include device uptime and performance, reducing the burden on IT resources and increased employee productivity. Twenty percent of respondents noted improved information and/or document security as a primary measure of success.

Interestingly, when we asked survey participants about their satisfaction level with the same three parameters, the responses were almost equivalent and respondents were highly satisfied with all three. In other words, respondents were equally satisfied with the technology that had been deployed, the execution of the contract and the relationship with the provider, but it was the execution that most often contributed to the success of the engagement.

Fig 3
Measuring MPS Success

What are the top three metrics that your organization uses to measure the success of your MPS engagement(s)?
(% of respondents)

Cost savings
52 %
Reduced transaction cost
31 %
Reduced print/paper volume
30 %
Device uptime/performance
26 %
Reduced burden on IT resources
22 %