Articles

How Today's Businesses Leverage Advanced MPS Solutions

by Ken Neal
Published in CIOReview MPS Special Edition, November 30, 2016
Available for download with permission

Within the office environment, Managed Print Services (MPS) operations have changed dramatically over the past few years. “Today’s print ecosystem is much more complex, with many moving parts,” says Joe Marciano, president and CEO of Canon Business Process Services (Canon). “Organizations now often require advanced software, hardware and automated workflows coupled with technology that can help meet the demands of a growing mobile workforce.”

Beyond these needs, the security of print devices is critical to protecting valuable corporate data. Leveraging analytics in the form of dashboards is also extremely important because it enables companies to better manage their assets and make informed decisions when implementing changes. Indeed, far gone are the days of just plugging in a device, monitoring the number of pages printed and periodically changing toner.

The Need for Project Management Skills

“Because of these trends, organizations today look for service providers that offer in-depth project management skills,” explains Marciano. “Organizations want providers that have proven experience managing a wide range of activities from coordinating IT resources and teams of advanced solutions experts to implementing change management programs based on formalized policies and procedures and backed by communications strategies that reinforce new practices.”

Canon Business Process Services is up to the task. The company, headquartered in New York City and a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A, has been helping firms for over 30 years integrate their office print environment with IT and business process optimization strategies to better support business goals. Based on its MPS expertise and the value it consistently provides to clients, Canon has been included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Print Services for the past six years in a row. Additionally, the company has been named to the Leaders category of the IAOP Global Outsourcing 100 list for the past 10 consecutive years.

"We provide a complete, highly secure and flexible workflow solution that enables clients to more easily scan, process and distribute documents.  Our goal is to take our client out of the print business on day one so the enterprise can better focus on its core business and manage documents more effectively."

Canon’s Competitive Edge

Underscoring this track record of success are four capabilities in MPS that set Canon apart from competitors. “One way we provide value is by offering clients an integrated service delivery model,” says Marciano. He explains that Canon can provide staff, services and equipment onsite at the client’s location reinforced by tightly integrated logistics support services. Offsite MPS solutions span a range from centralized call center services to business intelligence reporting, print supplies management and implementation project management. “The key point,” adds Marciano, “is that our integrated onsite and offsite delivery model gives us greater flexibility to tailor a solution that best meets the client’s needs.”

The second element that separates Canon from competitors is the company’s ability to take a multi-vendor approach when optimizing a client’s MPS program. “Our goal is to take our client out of the print business on day one so the enterprise can better focus on its core business and manage documents more effectively,” says Marciano. To help meet this goal Canon assumes management responsibility for all of the client’s equipment fleet, regardless of manufacturer. This includes providing service and support via Canon’s multi-vendor call center and replacing print devices according to the MPS program’s policy when leases expire.

Its capability to go beyond just the MPS arena is a third way in which Canon is different from competitors. This includes providing intelligent document capture services. “We provide a complete, secure and flexible workflow solution that enables clients to more easily scan, process and distribute documents,” explains Marciano. Highlights include an intuitive user interface combined with personalized and secure “follow-me” scan workflows. These features and others provide greater control of documents and help organizations increase the efficiency of their employees, which in turn can help reduce costs for managing and storing documents.

A Unique Analytics Tool

The fourth key differentiator for Canon is the company’s special focus on quality management. This includes BusinessInsights, Canon’s analytics and reporting tool. It is designed for clients that need business performance metrics for benchmarking and continuously improving managed print and other document-intensive processes. BusinessInsights provides users with rich data visualizations along with a variety of options for identifying relevant information. The system’s secure, Web-based portal enables users to easily upload performance statistics and retrieve reports.

Clients can subscribe to one of two service levels for BusinessInsights. The Gold Level Reporting Service provides access to fixed metrics and standardized reports at the location and user level. With the Platinum Level Reporting Service, users have a dynamic enterprise dashboard offering advanced visualization and interactivity, delivered on a leading-edge business intelligence platform. Key features include in depth asset management and data discovery capabilities.

The significance of these capabilities for MPS is substantial. While many reporting solutions don’t go much beyond how many pages were printed last month, BusinessInsights takes MPS analytics to a whole new level.

“To continually drive MPS efficiency and cost-effectiveness, clients today need critical information,” notes Marciano. “They want answers to such questions as: How many machines are in my fleet? Where are they? When do their leases expire? Is there equipment we can repurpose instead of buying new machines? Our analytics tool can provide all this and other insightful data. As a result, our clients have the ability to gain much deeper insight into their print environment; insight that can enhance efficiency and help contain costs.”

Case History: Making a Difference

A case history example demonstrates how Canon’s unique skills and approach can make a difference for clients facing major challenges in their print operation. One of the country’s largest sports associations saw an opportunity to make three noteworthy changes in its MPS program. One, the organization wanted to streamline the way print jobs were submitted, monitored and produced. The second mandate was to improve overall fleet management by centralizing control and better managing numerous printers and multiple service providers to ultimately reduce the overall device footprint. Third, the organization required a more secure print environment with mobile print capabilities.

“The sports association’s print operation spanned one main print center and a satellite facility,” says Marciano. “Our team implemented a solution that began with redesigning the main print center’s job submission system. Now, via an online portal, users can submit print jobs easily from their desks.” Marciano explains that previously, employees either walked to the center or submitted jobs via email. Neither choice was optimal. Visiting the print center took time. One drawback of the email-based system is that it enabled the use of different file formats. Some employees submitted documents in a version of Microsoft Word that was different from the version used in the print center. This caused problems with fonts and other issues. Additionally, the email system offered no automated transaction history including such data as when a job request was received; its status and expected completion time. The online submission system with its uniform interface addressed these and other challenges.

Canon also centralized management of the organization’s standalone printers, which provides better accountability for tracking service and supplies while transitioning print activity to more cost-effective MFDs (multifunction devices). This included installing monitoring software to better understand how employees were using devices and to track print volumes for each machine, which helped support a more efficient migration of print activity to the MFDs. The monitoring software also created more accurate billing and transparency to support device reduction.  Previously, monitoring activities were handled by a variety of different departments within the association.  

“We also implemented a print output management system that provides several important capabilities,” adds Marciano. One benefit is that the system allows the Canon MPS team to track printing behavior down to the user level. This includes such data as who is printing; the file types being printed as well as useful information on black and white versus color usage and single versus two-sided printing.

Other highlights included adding mobile and guest print features that enable employees and visitors to print from their smartphone or tablet. Finally, Canon has implemented an in-depth reporting system that yields insightful data critical for supporting continuous operational improvement and the ability to find ways to contain costs.

“These are just a few examples of how our approach to MPS can provide solid business value,” says Marciano. “We helped the sports association get out of the print business so that it could concentrate more resources and money on its core mission.  That’s what leveraging advanced MPS solutions is all about.”

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