PITRasks a selection of industry experts what they believe will be the major trends in print in 2015
Andy Milsom Head of Training and Partner Development, BNP Paribas
“For us, one of the biggest threats to our business also presents a significant opportunity to introduce leasing to markets which have traditionally used cash for IT investment. There’s no doubt that the biggest driver for change has been the wider adoption of the cloud and remote hosting. Organisations who choose to outsource their IT to be hosted remotely no longer have a requirement to invest in physical servers sited at their premises. As the market continues to move in that direction, this could potentially take business away from leasing providers who might otherwise fund that equipment.
“The opportunity, however, is that not everyone is comfortable with the outsourced option and there are many companies that wish to adopt a cloud solution but retain control over where the storage is housed. For many, the capital outlay involved in purchasing servers outright may be prohibitive and it’s here where we see an opportunity that lends itself to leasing; many organisations will see the benefits of renting as opposed to purchasing outright. This will bring leasing back into play in more areas of the business.
“Another trend that will continue through next year is the need to better engage with the Financial Director, who as we’ve all seen is now the key decision-maker in the print and IT arena. The sales cycle is getting longer and it’s essential to ensure you’re talking their language and engaging with the finance specialist at a very early stage.”
Phil Madders Managing Director, Print Audit Europe
“An ongoing challenge for dealers is the continued depressed profitability from the traditional click charge model; it is in software solutions and, in particular, SaaS (software as a service) where the potential lies.
“Everyone has now adopted the mindset that leading with solutions over hardware is a win win – it allows resellers to build an annuity and recurring revenue stream, whilst simultaneously boosting their value to clients’ business. At Print Audit Europe, we’re constantly looking at ways in which we can make life easier for our partners. That’s why our Premier pricing model is totally flexible, designed to support those dealers for whom this is a new area, as well as those who require the ability to seamlessly adjust the number of licences they deploy as customer requirements change.
“As an industry, we’ve evolved from MPS into MDS, and I predict that this will develop further next year. For this reason, we’ve introduced a cloud-based document management solution that will support partners who are acting on this opportunity to secure a new revenue stream.
“We are also seeing lots of convergence and consolidation. Cost cutting is the key driver for this and, again, it’s by leading with solutions that save money, improve productivity and increase efficiency that we will all stay ahead of the curve.”
Gary Downey Group Marketing Director, Balreed
“Increasing competition and pressure on margins due to commoditisation of the managed print service market looks likely in 2015. MPS was a key differentiator for some in the early years, but now, as knowledge of the term – if not the meaning – is becoming more common in buyers’ minds, more suppliers are claiming to be an MPS provider or actually beginning to develop those capabilities.
“Inevitably, those who can’t differentiate by service quality will drive sales by price. Page costs have already dropped dramatically and I expect the all-encompassing MPS pricing model to be under similar pressure in the New Year. Forecasts of continued growth in the MPS market are welcome, but this is still attracting new entrants from other industries and these are also likely to trade profitability for incremental revenues.
“2014 has been a year of solid growth for Balreed. The market has gathered momentum as more organisations have committed to and made the move to a managed print infrastructure. What has been really positive is the number who have gone beyond hardware and services and looked at their internal processes and workflows.
Discussions on how their organisations work and where processes can be improved and integrated within the new managed infrastructure are becoming more frequent. Efficiency and process are terms used by more buying teams and I very much hope this is something that accelerates in 2015.”
Aaron Anderson IT Channel Marketing Manager, KYOCERA Document Solutions
“Resellers should focus on service in 2015. Many still tend to think of business as transactional, thinking of the sale when what they need to do is start extracting value for the customer. Added to which, customers are much more knowledgeable and very specific about what they want. With changes in how people actually work, for example with the increasing use of tablets, customers are still printing but they are printing in a very different way, using cloud apps.
“With MPS, customers are tied in, so you’re likely to get fewer customers ‘grazing’ here and there. The biggest challenge for resellers in 2015 is holding onto their customers and providing the levels of service that will tie customers in – in reality it will take changing their business model to do so.”
Wayne Snell Product Marketing and Sales Development Manager, Olivetti
“According to InfoSource, the UK colour MFP market surged in 2013 by more than 17% compared to mono MFPs, which continued to decline by nearly 9%. So, despite the recent financial climate, the demand for colour print is still the key driver for our industry.
“In 2014, Olivetti recorded several record months when colour MFPs, both A3 and A4, continued to sell at a pace. Increasingly, units are being sold using Managed Print Service strategies, where commercial and corporate customers carefully consider the true total cost when replacing ageing fleets of printers.
“Two distinct trends have emerged: one is the control and management of printing in the office; and the other is to offer employees the convenience of Print Roaming and Mobile Printing. To help Olivetti meet these customer needs, we have partnered with YSoft to sell and support YSoft SafeQ5 in the UK and Ireland. We believe that by offering this solution we can assist our dealers in meeting this customer requirement and help them generate a future income stream from continued software support.
“The YSoft SafeQ5 solution is a perfect fit for Olivetti as it provides security, print and access management with monitoring and reporting across all products regardless of the parent OEM. This server-based solution is sold on a per-device licence basis, so it is easy to manage. It also offers a range of IC Card and embedded technologies (d-Color MF specific models) and print roaming, enabling the customer to pull their print file to any print device connected to the server.”
Mark Robinson Market Business Developer, Canon UK and Ireland
“We expect mobile technology to play a key role in printing and document management in 2015, providing multiple new opportunities for resellers.
“A recent Canon survey highlighted that only 16% of people working in small businesses that use mobile phones every day are using them to send documents to print. Shockingly, half of those not currently printing from their connected devices (49%) have either never considered it, never set it up or simply don’t know how. However, of those already printing from connected devices, almost half do so because they are working on the move – a trend we expect to continue throughout 2015 and beyond.
“This presents two great revenue opportunities for resellers. First, by educating SMBs on the additional device proficiencies available to them and demonstrating how mobile working can support their business. More than a fifth of respondents said that they are interested in printing from tablets and mobiles at some time in the future, meaning there is potential to sell mobile printing equipment to first-time buyers.
“Second, dealers can further support the growing number of home, remote and mobile workers across the UK. Some of the most desirable features amongst small businesses include printing through wireless technology (85%), printing from tablets (61%) and printing from mobile devices (49%), so we expect printers and MFDs that support a host of connectivity features, like our recently launched range of MAXIFY business inkjet printers and i-SENSYS laser printers, to be in significant demand as we enter 2015.
“Ultimately, the products that support flexible working, home working and those working in small office spaces will thrive as the speed and efficiency of mobile technology solutions become increasingly vital for small businesses.”
Steve Mitchell Group Product Marketing Manager, KYOCERA Document Solutions
“While mobility and BYOD feels like old news to the industry, it will continue to be a key topic for customers and verticals in 2015, as access to digitised documents on the move becomes even more important. Likewise, workflow and document management systems that give channel partners key insight into their customers’ business processes will be big news.
“At KYOCERA we expect to continue to see a rise in customisation – bespoke solutions for key customers to improve the user interface. We’re also predicting a continued focus on A4 MFPs with improved functionality and software capabilities and of course some significant product launches from KYOCERA!”
Bob Davies Commercial Director, Integra Office Solutions
“3D print is an exciting sector in which we anticipate real growth in 2015/2016. However, the majority of dealers will not yet be aware of the opportunities or target audience. Suppliers in this sector need to be more proactive to educate dealers.
“One concern would be that MPS specialists will continue to erode dealers’ business. MPS at dealer level is realistically only an opportunity for larger resellers with the infrastructure to implement it. Dealers need an MPS ‘champion’ within their business and a will to change the way they go to market.
“Regarding toners and ink, OEMs still have 75-80% of the market. The conversion of core OEM is still very slow and remanufacturers are increasingly fighting for the same 20-25% of the market. As a consequence, price has become the key driver in the re-man sector. Quality remanufacturers are disappearing, leaving the premium brand leader as Xerox. Because the OEM market share is so large, there’s still a huge opportunity for remanufactured toners.
“Printers remains a very competitive sector, as copier and printer companies are now targeting the same market. Hardware deals are always available, with users increasingly looking at total cost of ownership. Dealers should always look for tangible ‘all-in’ deals e.g. Samsung’s cashback deals and five-year FOC service support or Canon’s range of cashback deals, educational support and special prices.”
Phil Jones Managing Director, Brother
“The workplace will become more community-based and democratic, with a focus on mindfulness and wellbeing. Psychology and Neuroscience will increase its penetration into the workplace under employee engagement initiatives as organisations look to retain talent, create more agile working cultures and adapt to the growing number of millennials in the workplace.
“CSR transitioning to Citizenship: 2015 will see business leaders put a greater focus on corporate citizenship aligned with employee recruitment and retention, in addition to hygiene factor responsibilities. As the battle for talent hots up, a greater spotlight will fall on an organisation’s purpose and meaningful impact in communities aligned with key causes.
“As our population ages and people look to make new choices about how and when they work, more businesses will move to flexible workforce models, with full-time employees moving to part-time (contracted) or self-employment. This will provide multiple benetits around retention, flexible scaling up and down, employee satisfaction, as well as providing capacity for new workers or apprentices.
“The channel will continue to see lots of merger and acquisition activity. Key players will want to ‘bolt on’ new portfolio businesses or de-cost acquisitions for market penetration, competitiveness and growth. Large players with outdated business models or cost structures will continue to find conditions challenging as margins remain under pressure.
“Distributors and wholesalers will continue to transition and transform their offerings to shore up the cost plus margin model, with an emphasis on services and value. For some, this means further focus on ‘specialism’ and for others it will mean continued expansion of direct business models either via ‘white labelled’ services or vertical supply from OEM to end user.
“The drive to services will continue with recurring and repeatable business models more favoured over transactional models.
Vendors particularly will drive the agenda and focus time, effort and resources on channel partners who want to expand their capability in this area.
“Almost everything will be assumed to be available to purchase ‘as a service’, which creates a lot of opportunity for existing transactional-led product portfolios and for re-thinking business models.
“The whole world is becoming polarised between lowest cost operators and premium. The market will continue to polarise with either low-cost or high-value players coming out on top. The squeezed middle will be the casualties between the volume and value providers. This will put pressure on business models and also highlight any skills gaps in resellers who aren’t in a state of readiness.
“Vendors with direct sales forces will accelerate their march from the saturated enterprise space into the SME market to grow revenues.”
Helen George Partner Marketing Manager, KYOCERA Document Solutions
“Managed print service contracts will continue to evolve and include content management as a standard deliverable.
The print infrastructure will be used as the on-ramp for digitising paper documents and, in combination with scanners and document management software, will provide companies with the opportunity to share information more effectively, support their clients better, streamline their operational processes and compete in what is becoming a more digital world.
“Next year will also be a turning point in the mainstream adoption of 3D print in the enterprise market. Although 3D print has been around for over 20 years, four main changes will drive this growth: the reduction in device prices, improved quality of the printed object, greater ease of use and more intuitive design applications, plus growing business awareness of its transformational potential.”
Ben Appleby Technology Product Manager, VOW
“I think that 2015 will see A3 print become a focus for some of the major OEMs as they focus more on the SOHO arena.
“In managed print, it is very likely that a spectrum of machines that enable an even more successful MPS proposition will be produced.
“It’s also highly likely that an increase in enhanced wireless technology is on its way. We’ve already seen Samsung integrate a tablet into their printer to replace the less modern keypads or smaller touch screen displays. This allows users to download from their cloud or browse the internet while standing at a printer.
“And finally, print costs are undoubtedly going to become cheaper, with Epson’s unveiling of its RIPS system (replaceable ink pack system) with an ink capacity of 75,000 pages a good example.”
Shaun Wilkinson Managing Director, UTAX (UK)
“I firmly believe 2015 will be all about adding value to print. While it’s obviously still hugely important, high quality, reliable hardware is now seen by consumers as the norm, which means the point of differentiation will revolve around printrelated business solutions.
“Print will become smarter and see value added through the integration of user-specific software solutions that increase efficiency and reduce manual admin processes. For example, end-users will be looking for tailored document management solutions that optimise workflows through simplified digital document handling that is consistent across an organisation. Fully customisable operation panels will play a vital role in helping to achieve this.
“Following on from this, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to incorporate the right mobile technology to maximise office productivity. Yet, a fraction of SMB employees have the freedom to print from the device of their choice, whether that’s a laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet. Mobile print features will therefore be important, as will value added features that facilitate information sharing and collaboration, locally and globally.
“Security will continue to be high on the agenda in 2015 and I predict end-users will specifically demand print software that encrypts data and prevents unauthorised access to it. The same applies to document management, so I expect to see more requests for user-specific access control vi smart cards or PIN codes.
“While there are signs the economy is recovering, the value proposition will still be high on the agenda for many companies, which means continued interest in managed print solutions and total cost of ownership. This is where machine quality and service maintenance costs will really come into play. In addition, the use of template-based print management solutions will increase to reduce the cost of printing letterheads and forms externally, while device and department or individual user settings control the use of colour/mono and duplex printing and monitor expenditure for effective cost control.
“The best print solutions in 2015 will be the ones that tie excellent, relevant hardware together with solutions that make businesses slicker, more secure, mobile and in an ideal world, save some money too.”
Mark Smyth Operations Director, Vision PLC
“I believe 2015 will be another year of consolidation and innovation. As the economy continues to improve, businesses will be keen to invest in technology that helps drive efficiency and profitability and we, the resellers, must take advantage of this opportunity.
“Consolidation will come from both manufacturers and resellers remaining acquisitive with the aim of increasing market share, revenues and margins, either as part of a growth strategy or simply just to hold their market position.
“Technology will continue to develop with data storage and applications (apps) really starting to emerge in our market. This is another area that must be taken advantage of and will result in a stronger foothold for the print market in the Information Technology space.
“2015 promises to be another exciting year of change and development!”