By, Joy Lipari, Vice President, MPS Center of Excellence

CIOs that have successfully deployed Managed Print Services (MPS) often refer to it as “low hanging fruit” for uncovering new sources of cost savings for the business. And it can be – the City of Rochester saved $2 million; Procter and Gamble has printed 8 million fewer pages and cut costs by 21 percent; Los Angeles Trade-Technical College cut costs by $1.5 million and plans to boost student recruitment with more efficient and environmentally-sensitive technology.

But as I told an audience at the Lyra Imaging Symposium today, to get those kind of results, you have to do it right. Here are three keys to success:

Joy Lipari, Xerox, and Bill Haslett, Northrop Grumman, pause for a photo after sharing a case study at the 2012 Lyra Imaging Symposium

1.       Define What You Want: MPS can be a one-time tactical answer to a cost problem or it can deliver long-term benefits to the business. To do it right the first time, you have to define what you want up front. Ask yourself, do you want to:

  •  simply take cost out by consolidating print, copy and fax devices?
  •  establish a governance process to reduce unnecessary printouts?
  •  simplify processes to improve employee productivity?
  •  improve document and device security?
  •  reduce your environmental footprint?

You can do all of the above if you set specific goals going in, and continually measure them along the way.

2.       Change Management is a Must: 20-30 percent of savings are at risk and never recoverable without a plan to communicate changes and the benefits of MPS to employees. Change of any kind is hard to swallow in an organization, and end user acceptance of an MPS strategy is critical to the success of the project. The most successful MPS clients have a strong change management and governance process.  Xerox clients like P&G have launched commercialization campaigns to help employees better understand the reason for MPS. P&G’s campaign was targeted to business leaders and end users for each site as it underwent transformation and shared information about how the new print environment would make P&G a more sustainable and cost-efficient company.

3.       Manage Print Like You Do Your Balance Sheet: To measure your return on investment, extensive reporting is critical to MPS success. Just as CFOs measure business performance with P&L and balance sheets, CIOs should have a balance sheet to measure the effectiveness of IT assets – from device uptime and utilization, to timely supplies, employee satisfaction and of course, cost savings.

The economic climate raised the profile for print/document output as the last unmanaged frontier when it comes to optimizing IT infrastructure. It’s creating a tremendous market opportunity for vendors but it’s important for clients to understand that success in MPS comes from effective execution, not up front promises. Companies with future plans for MPS should check references and portfolios carefully, and look for validated and clearly measured results.