Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Capture + MPS on the Horizon

There is certainly a lot of interest in introducing document capture and management applications into managed print services contracts. One of the most active discussions I've ever seen on LinkedIn, for example, has focused on the question of will "the next big move for MPS providers will be document capture / workflow?". The discussion takes place within "The Document Imaging Group"  and has more than 60 comments since being started a year-and-a-half ago - the last one coming just a couple days ago.

So, scanning is definitely a hot topic among those in the MPS market, but how much of it is really being sold with MPS implementations today? DIR recently sat in on a briefing about a number of MPS infrastructure players getting together to deliver a solution providing end-user information to resellers to help them improve their MPS deployments. Unfortunately, from our standpoint, the whole discussion focused on print.

We followed up with a question to Doug Johnson, senior VP of MPS for Supplies Network, a St. Louis-based organization which services some 6,000 North American resellers, providing them with products like toner, paper, IT supplies, and data storage media. Supplies Network also has a hosted MPS offering, which was discussed in the briefing. We were introduced to them through DocSolid, which offers an MFP capture platform designed for cloud environments.

Johnson told us, "To date, scanning (and particularly solutions around the scan function--content repurposing, further document workflow, storage, archival, retrieval, etc.) has largely been ignored in the MPS engagements between resellers and end users. We believe it is due to a lack of solutions that are integrated across the scanning value chain. An efforts like the one we recently discussed [on printing], eliminating white space across scanning solutions to create a seamless end-to-end solution, is needed."
 
So, while there clearly is plenty of interest in scanning in the MPS world, it seems the logistical pieces have not been put in place to really unleash it. This is not surprising, considering that printing is still the lead dog for MFP vendors and dealers, and they are still figuring out how to properly deploy it in MPS environments.

We also did a teleconference last week about a re-org at Xerox that discussed MPS, but was almost entirely focused on printing.  Here's two interesting quotes that came out of that teleconference, which may explain some of the interest in printing: "Retail printing is $700 billion market," and "direct mail is growing exponentially." (The figure I found showed that the market for direct mail is actually predicted to shrink slightly over the next five years, but it's still worth well over $10 billion annually, so I guess when you compare it to the document capture software market size of under $3 billion [per Harvey Spencer Associates], you can see why the MPS focus remains on print.)

But - remember, the document capture market is growing in double-digits and someday will catch a declining printing market (if indeed it is declining), which explains all the interest in document scanning amongst, apparently forward-thinking people in the MPS market.

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