A shared vision
Mark Smyth explains how Vision’s partnership with Samsung is helping the managed print and managed document services provider to achieve its ambitious growth plans
Vision is a fast growing managed print services provider that is successfully diversifying to provide large corporate and public sector organisations with a range of services including document management, IT and unified communications, as well as managed print.
The company has achieved double-digit growth for the last four years and is two years into a five-year plan to double in size by 2020. In March, it was named as one of London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.
Vision has been working with Samsung for almost seven years and in that time has won awards for Partner of the Year, Innovation Partner of the Year and Capital Partner of the Year. The strength of this relationship was underlined in June, when Vision was made a Samsung Global Partner, one of just two in the UK and six worldwide.
PrintIT Reseller caught up with Operations Director Mark Smyth to find out more about the benefits of partnering with Samsung.
PrintIT Reseller: How have your customers’ print and document requirements changed in recent years and how does Samsung technology help you satisfy these changing needs?
Smyth: We’ve got clients on their second and third generation of managed print and we are seeing print devices transition from just being part of an MPS to being part of an organisation’s digital transformation. It is no longer just about managing print; it’s about managing the document and the document content – its storage and retrieval and the processing of that data into other applications and ERP systems.
Samsung machines help with this. They have a very open architecture, which makes it easy to work with and collaborate with other software platforms, and their scanning capability is among the fastest, if not the fastest, in the market. In the early stages of digitalisation, organisations often have a high volume of documents to scan and Samsung MFPs can scan both sides of a page in a single pass at very high speed.
We are seeing much greater use of cloud-based applications like Google Docs, Dropbox and Evernote to collaborate with and work on documents. The latest technology in smart devices, particularly Samsung’s tablet display, makes apps far more accessible and gives a far better user experience.
The customer requirement that we see most through tenders and proposals is for a roadmap of innovation. Customers want to know more about the technology platform and the capabilities it supports. Samsung’s SmartUX Center platform is dynamic, innovative and offers much more than just basic print/scan/copy, which is what MFP technology has traditionally delivered. The familiarity of the control panel has a comfort factor that helps users get more from the device. Effectively, it is a large tablet and it lets you access applications the same way you would with your smartphone.
PITR: Has Vision developed any apps on behalf of customers?
Smyth: Yes, together with Samsung, we have developed apps for some very large education clients and universities. Examples include university directories; maps to help people find their way around a campus; and apps for loading student profiles.
I think this will be a growing part of the business. Other manufacturers are trying to follow suit, but in some cases their operating system is locked down which means you can do very little with it. Samsung’s platform is very open. Essentially, it has put a mini-computer/PC tablet on the device, and you can do with that just what you would with a smartphone and tablet.
Larger clients like the open aspect of Samsung SmartUX Center and the fact that it’s ground-breaking technology. Nothing in the world of print and hardware devices had changed much. Then, all of a sudden, you get this – it has changed the market.
PITR: Do you develop apps to generate revenue or at the moment are they more of a deal clincher?
Smyth: I would say that at the moment they are a deal clincher – a differentiator, a USP against the competition. Long-term, I expect there to be recurring revenues and annuity from some apps, especially if they are cloud-based or seat-based.
The market is still developing; in that respect, it’s a bit like 3D printing. However, as time goes by, people will start to realise what apps let you do. For example, Samsung has one that lets you scan a document or pull it down from cloud storage, view it on the control panel and edit, redact and amend it, subject to permissions.
The next two to three years are going to be very interesting. More and more schools and educational establishments are adopting biometrics for authentication; law firms are more open to innovation; and commercial organisations are more willing than ever to accept cloud applications, whereas two to three years ago they wouldn’t look at hosting off-site.
Going forward, you will see more app development to help organisations use cloud-based technology to collaborate more effectively and drive efficiency. We are already seeing an increase in remote working to cut down on travel, to use time more efficiently and to make employees and employers more productive. The acceptance of cloud-based working, which MFP apps support, is only going to accelerate.
PITR: Samsung is not only developing apps for end users. It has also developed servicing apps that can reduce costs for the channel. This must be a great attraction in the current climate.
Smyth: Margins are continuously being squeezed – even more so with the recent decision to leave the EU and with the weaker pound, which has caused our costs to rise by 8%, 10%, and 15% in some cases. As we try to keep price increases for customers to a minimum, we are continually focused on operational efficiency. Samsung apps that give field service technicians instant access to device fault logs, error codes, service replaceable unit lifecycles etc. let us maintain devices and resolve errors and faults far quicker.
Often there is no need even to send out an engineer, delivering a better client experience and saving us time and money. We have a much higher success rate for remote resolution and fix on Samsung products. Other manufacturers have recently released tools that give them the capability to remote fix, but our success rate is still much higher with Samsung.
PITR: One of the reasons HP gave for wanting to buy Samsung’s printer business is the simplicity of its MFP design compared to traditional copiers. Has this been your experience?
Smyth: There’s little doubt that the Samsung print engine is very efficient. As far as I can see, what HP intends to do is to combine its own fairly robust security platform with Samsung’s print engine technology and some of its user interface and create a market-leading product. We see the convergence of HP and Samsung’s print business as very exciting.
PITR: Samsung is a leader in so many different technologies. How has your relationship with Samsung helped you to diversify your business and develop new sales opportunities?
Smyth: Vision has been a Samsung partner for seven years and earlier this year was made one of only six Samsung Global Partners, giving us special bid support for large tenders and even faster access to all Samsung technology.
Already, we provide other Samsung solutions alongside a managed print service. Right now, for example, we are providing large education clients with Samsung tablets and smartboards. Offering IT services is a big part of Vision’s growth strategy and our relationship with Samsung is useful in developing this part of the business. We also provide customers with mobile and telephony services though our telecoms division.
I went out to Korea two years ago, to Samsung’s Digital City. There you really understand the size, the scale, the depth, the R&D and the history of Samsung. It’s an incredible story.
To find out how Samsung can help you win more business and operate more efficiently, please visit: