Buyers' guide: MPS advice

Advice for outsourcing and implementing managed printer services contracts

Burnside War Memorial Hospital chose a Kyocera Mita managed print services solution.

Burnside War Memorial Hospital chose a Kyocera Mita managed print services solution.

An MPS blueprint

Depending on your business objectives, MPS is unlikely to enable a great many benefits in isolation. A combination of workflow and document digitisation, employee recognition and moving to smaller offices has formed part of Allens Arthur Robinson’s attempt to cut its carbon footprint by five per cent each year.

Printing has certainly had its effect – the legal firm went from printing 61 million pages annually in 2004 to 24 million last year – but greater digitisation, server virtualisation and the deployment of widescreen monitors, helped to encourage the desired outcomes of the organisation’s virtual corporate social responsibility team.

“We’ve now got people coming into meetings with a one page agenda and other people looking at them and saying ‘did you really feel you needed to print that?’” Taylor says. “It’s a cultural thing.”

It also needs to be remembered that MPS can be a long haul. The NSW Department of Education and Training, on the edge of renewing its first three-year contract with HP, is yet to see a significant portion of the thousands of institutions it encompasses turn to the service, but support is accelerating.

According to MPS client manager at HP, Hamish Patterson, where the first MPS contract is often about implementation and consolidation, “the second term becomes more about how you can use the technology to make gains.” Those initial cost savings - up to 55 per cent in some cases - are likely to level off, too, but long term gains can be found in reducing environmental impact and paper use through scaled restrictions.

The “set and forget” mentality toward MPS is unlikely to yield many gains. Instead, taking the opportunity to review the rollout and identify potential areas for improvement - such as further outsourcing - have, in the case of RAC, proved beneficial.

“It really is worth revisiting after about four to six months after things have been bedded in for a while and looking at your phase 2,” says John Gilmore.

Deakin University has found a similar opportunity, with the impending staff rollout allowing Debbie Louttit to asses what went wrong over the previous 18 months, how to solve those issues, and what additional features or change management processes might be more beneficial in the second rollout. The vice chancellor’s initiatives have already set the wheels in motion for the educational institution, but the challenges posed by the initial rollout have also set the requirements in stone.

Managed print services are unlikely to spark the same level of interest in all IT staff that it has in Gwenyth Taylor, but the enabling possibilities of the service will, at the very least, alleviate pressures on IT departments to focus on projects and daily processes that are more interesting and ultimately more important to the core of the business. Implemented effectively, MPS can see more than modest reductions in cost, paper use, environmental impact and required ongoing support from staff.

The service may require some effort and may even invoke a headache or two, but for those who have made the leap, it’s all worth it.

Top Tips for MPS

  1. Develop a clear internal understanding of infrastructure, costs, and print/copy consumption within the organisation
  2. Internally develop policies in place like duplexing, limit on color or environmental policies, and articulate these clearly to employees
  3. Understand the realistic cost savings that can be generated from MPS. It is not just about hard savings, but the soft costs such as paper, reduction in energy consumption and reduction in maintenance costs
  4. Study the capabilities of vendors and really opt for the right fit with the solutions you are looking for and their understanding of your business and the vertical you play in. Consider their clientele in the same industry and review any similar case studies
  5. MPS is also about managing a change in printing/copying habits of employees and needs to be managed internally to see benefits. Change management is often overlooked and ideally a project champion who sees through such policies would ensure success of such implementations

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: [[xref:|@j_hutch|Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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