How 'as a service' models are pepping up the print sector

Westcoast’s MD Alex Tatham discusses the benefits in the managed print arena
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While only a few dealers have properly established themselves in the managed print arena, vendors and distributors are now better embracing the channel, says Westcoast’s managing director Alex Tatham.

What’s the perfect deal for a reseller?

Well, any contract that involves high margins up front, zero stock holding and a hassle-free, regular commitment from the customer for consumables would surely be right up there.

Of course, these are some of the primary benefits realised by VARs when they move their modus operandi away from traditional transactional sales towards more consumption-based ‘as a service’ models – fuelled by recurring revenue.

PRINTING AS A SERIVCE

It’s fair to say that the print sector is now beginning to adopt managed print – or ‘printing as a service’.

Those with experience or crossover into the photocopying business have been early adopters – after all, they’ve been used to selling contracts on a pay per click basis since Queen Victoria was alive.

But still, challenges remain across the sector. And there are a number of reasons. For example, although print-focused VARs have successfully incorporated this model as managed service contracts, most of the traditional channel VARs have found the model difficult to execute.

That’s down to factors which are peculiar to print such as overtly complex billing arrangements, the need for expensive, specialist engineers – and different shipments of toner on a regular basis.

Understandably, dealers have been turned off and only a few have managed to properly establish themselves so far. But there IS some good news.

DRIVING CHANGE

Things are changing, and the change is being driven by vendors.

Firstly, large print device vendors are embracing a wider channel, realising that some managed print reseller models create inefficiencies – stock holding both in their warehouse and in field, spares management, PDI and finance.

However, even more exciting are innovations like HP’s Partner Managed Print Services model (pMPS) which allows resellers to cut a contract and ship the hardware with installation services.

HP pays an upfront commission to resellers but takes care of the consumables and services on behalf of the partner.

It’s a way of VARs getting what they most wish for – up front margins, no stock holding and the opportunity for a totally different relationship with their customer.

Distributors are also playing their part with service plans and cost effective solutions for resellers.

The channel is now opening up its doors for the ‘as-a-service’ model.

Alex Tatham is MD at Westcoast. For more information on Westcoast’s solutions, call the distributor’s print team on 0118 912 6000.
www.westcoast.co.uk

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