November 9, 2016
Luke Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Clover Imaging Group (CIG), looked at how companies gather data on machines as well as users.
The Imaging Channel hosted an article from Goldberg, in which he asked whether companies are “tracking machines or users” in modern MPS, and noted that when MPS “was in its infancy, the most important considerations” included “how do I collect the page counts, how do I account for cost per page and how much should I charge?”.
His view was that “while these are still valid questions, they are not indicative” of the “mature” MPS market, which has “moved well beyond the initial value propositions of reduced costs and optimised printer fleets” to “transcend even the device itself” and into user management. The “most important” change was the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), with recent analysis predicting around 6.4 billion connected devices this year, and over 20 billion by 2020.
Some are printers, copiers and MFPs, and Goldberg notes the latter are “no longer just hard-copy output devices”, but “intelligent, connected and part of company networks, with all the advantages (and disadvantages)”, such as their “role as incredible data collection mechanisms”. With millions of printers and MFPs “in the field right now”, he asks the reader to “think about the massive amounts of data generated” by connected devices in an MPS programme.
Building on this, he points out that the data is “far more than ‘what’, you’re gathering the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of printing”, including user identities, their work, how they print and also how often, when and where, alongside “historical service and ticketing data […] tech support calls [and] live chat”. Goldberg states that big data and “predictive analytics” offer “the opportunity for amazing insights into your users”.
One example is using historical data to “determine patterns and create predictive analytics”, clustering service calls “with replacements of consumables” and saving money on “freight, inventory and downtime”, so that “every fast and painless service call” or “maintenance need anticipated, creates customer satisfaction”.
The “valuable insights” into users can also provide “increased efficiencies in your processes” through combining “constantly changing real-time data from the field with the structured data from your office systems”, so calls and processing “all become faster and more efficient”, or even “implemented straight from a mobile phone”. Goldberg highlights that mobile “is a key word when it comes to today’s users”, who use phones for “many functions” including printing.
With staff “in the field who have access to data when and where they need it”, they can “make real-time decisions accordingly”, while sensors in vehicles provide GPS data, and machine interaction allows “devices to signal for maintenance and automatically order parts and supplies to be sent to coincide with the scheduled service”.
He moved on next to discuss applying ‘big data’ to MPS, as with MPS and “lots of data”, you can collect and analyse it and “put it to good use” by changing “your entire MPS billing model”: a “thorough understanding of your customer environment, including users, can allow you to introduce […] seat-based billing”, which CIG previously discussed this year.
This requires “a depth of understanding that goes beyond basic device metrics and delves into user behaviour”, but “once you’ve reached that point, it is possible to implement a programme that will allow for profit protection from the cost-per-page model, higher margins and access to new revenue streams”.
He believes there are “multiple opportunities for providers who are ready to move beyond”, and concludes that “there are many naysayers putting out the word that print is dead and managed print is an outdated business model. None of it is true. The business environment is an ever-changing one, and those who learn, adapt and take full advantage of all the technology on offer today can thrive in it. So ask yourself this question: is your MPS programme a relic of a bygone era or at the front and centre of today’s technology?”
Categories : Around the Industry