Print.IT Reseller - issue 79

ANALYSIS 01732 759725 46 Quocirca Director Louella Fernandes, says that 2021 will be the year when industry players will be forced to capitalise on opportunities beyond printing Print industry opportunities for 2021 Security will take centre-stage Organisations need to protect their data and IT infrastructure from cloud-based threats now, more than ever before. Home printers are the new attack vector. Print channel vendors should expand security assessments to evaluate the vulnerabilities of both the office and home print environments. Cloud- based tools that can provide visibility on a user, device and activity level are key to managing and securing a hybrid print infrastructure. Advanced remote monitoring tools can detect at-risk devices, ensure compliance and remediate when a security incident is identified. Industry players must also expand their security propositions to incorporate zero trust and integrate with IT security endpoint threat detection and monitoring platforms such as cloud access security brokers (CASBs), data loss prevention (DLP), and security information and event management (SIEM). Shift to the cloud Although cloud adoption continues to accelerate, the growing number of cloud options – multi-cloud, private and public cloud – is increasing cloud complexity. This is an opportunity for MPS providers to build expertise and help customers navigate their cloud journey. The cloud transforms the traditional MPS business model – moving it from being transactional and product-centric, to a far more value-centric discussion. Forward-thinking providers must aim to extend their customers’ ambition beyond the basic benefits of cloud, and build lasting, value-led relationships that elevate MPS into the realms of a strategic partnership. This will mean delivering complementary productivity-boosting services, security innovations and advanced analytics that become critical to achieving customers’ business outcomes. Competitive differentiator Analytics will be key to the operational efficiency of the smart agile office. Print vendors should leverage device usage data to develop new services beyond traditional remote monitoring and predictive services. Through deeper analysis of how devices are being used, vendors can develop new products and services and offer increased business value to customers. These can extend to analysing home printing behaviour and developing appropriate tools to manage printing between the home and office environments, or analysing scan/capture activity on smart MFPs to develop new workflow services. Data visualisation and advanced dashboards will be key in developing enhanced analytics. These capabilities will become a key differentiator for next-generation print management. Integration with tools such as Microsoft Power BI will become standard as expectations for visualisation tools become mainstream. The industry is at a crossroads where those who take the path to reinvention and take advantage of the following trends will emerge stronger beyond 2021. It’s now or never; print industry players must adopt a future-forward mind-set to address the rapidly evolving cloud and hybrid workplace era – or risk being left behind. The office print industry has been plunged into a perfect storm. COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and speeded the shift to the ‘less-paper office’, which means that standing still is no longer an option. The beginning of the end The traditional reseller model based on transactional sales or a basic service contract is built on a legacy view and unsuited for future growth. Such approaches are financially unsustainable and today, in a flat to declining market, traditional channel partners are under pressure to find new revenue streams and adapt business models amidst eroding margins and hardware commoditisation. Those that fail to adapt will either go out of business or be acquired. Channel vendors that can press reset to reinvent their business – adopting an entrepreneurial mind-set and looking for areas where they can not only innovate their own but also their customers’ business, will succeed in the race to relevance. Hybrid workplace will create opportunities Home printing has seen a surge in the wake of office closures. But while demand for home printing has been boosted, it is far from a silver bullet for growth. While there may be opportunities in rationalising the printer fleet to support distributed workplaces (such as a shift from A3 to A4 devices), long-term relationships will be driven around solutions and services. The channel should be looking to expand their focus on comprehensive workplace assessments; take advantage of smart MFP embedded technology to accelerate customers’ digital transformation; and with a permanent return to the office still some time off, consider how to help remote workers access the high-quality printing that they are accustomed to in the office. Louella Fernandes Industry players must also expand their security propositions to incorporate zero trust and integrate with IT security endpoint threat detection and monitoring platforms