How Managed Print Solutions Moves You in the Right Direction
Imagine you’re a successful printer service dealer with about $5 million in total revenue and 5 technicians who serve a broad geographic area. You’ve done well. But you don’t know how to grow beyond where you are today. So you invest in what you think is the answer to your future: a full blown print management program.
After plopping down $100,000 plus the salaries of all those involved, you start the sales cycle. Six months later, you realize that there are more hurdles here than you bargained for – the sales cycle is extremely long, the product is complex and nothing helps you close the deal. After another year goes by, you finally admit it:
Should you wipe the slate clean and start with a whole new MPS software program? Not so fast. A workshop full of professional tools does not make you a master carpenter. A kitchen outfitted with chef-grade cookware does not make you a chef. And having Windows 2010 servers does not make you Microsoft.
Likewise, buying the right print management software isn’t the final step toward achieving the benefits of print management.
If you’re like many companies, you headed down the print management path, and then stopped short.
Sales are stagnant and the staff is more confused than ever. And you’ve asked, “Did we choose the wrong software?” Perhaps. But before you change course, many companies who invest in print management software fail to take the necessary steps to leverage it, They neglect proper planning, lack a business strategy and forget to integrate with IT.
They end up with a really robust tool that essentially sits un-used or under-leveraged. As long as your software is the right choice for you, success may be right around the corner and that learning from your missteps could be the first step in the right direction for your program.
Roadmap to Avoid Common Missteps Simply put, all print management programs that die on the vine start with a failure to plan or a failure to communicate. To break it down further, the most common missteps occur in one or more of the following areas: Planning, Documentation, IT Involvement or Follow Through.
Never forget that the print management program you’ve chosen for your business is a revenue-generating system. Despite how you market the program to your customers, any program that you’ve developed to add value, drive product sales or ensure customer retention is directly tied to revenue and should take priority when you integrate.
There are a lot of print management programs out there and each one will have a unique method of integrating into your current infrastructure. You need to understand the unique integration needs of your software.
Managed Print Services MPS Mistake 1:
Failing to Plan
Step Back to Move Forward: Re-approach and re-plan the program.
It’s been said that, “No one plans to fail. They fail to plan.” It’s no small task to re-approach and re-plan your program. But it can immediately shift your organization in the right direction.
First, don’t assume anything. Question everything. Create a proper plan, document it and communicate it to your team. When everyone clearly understands where you’re going and how things will be done, they become integration assets.
Remember that your greatest resources will be the champions of the program that truly embrace and understand it.
Managed Print Services Mistake 2:
Lack of Proper Documentation
Step Back to Move Forward: Re-document your structure and your success. One of the hallmarks of successful organizations is a solid structure with a well-documented foundation or framework that they can examine and improve upon. It doesn’t mean they don’t change. It means they keep track of what changed, what worked and what didn’t.
So should you. Re-examine what you’re doing and what you’ve done in the past to be successful. Then use it to your advantage when it comes to IT integration.
For example, have you got every process and procedure nailed down and documented within your organization, as well as how it’s impacted by your print management software? If not, you may have just identified your problem, and can take a step back to move forward and fix it.
Some of the biggest documentation mistakes companies make include rushing, having no documentation at all, or failing to make their program a part of the business and documenting how this will happen.
Proper documentation doesn’t mean a dissertation. All you need is a solid foundation, not the full structure. Detail will come from trial and error in the field, outside of a controlled environment.
Trace your steps. Write it all down. These processes and procedures will become an internal manual for the program and help solve problems when they arise.
It is also documents internal business rules to govern the internal workings of the program and external business rules for your organization as a whole. These measures can help reduce hard-dollar and soft-dollar costs and improve the time frame on your ROI.
Managed Print Services Mistake 3:
Step Back to Move Forward:
Re-engage IT. You may be thinking, “Engage them!? I can’t even understand them!” You’re not alone. Unfortunately, too many people ignore IT instead of making IT an ally, only to regret this decision later.
Your IT staff members are key partners in the building of your program. While only a basic IT understanding is required to sell a program, thorough IT knowledge that is going to get the program running and keep it running properly.
The two biggest missteps involving IT occur when:
IT is unaware of how the program truly works
IT is outsourced and they are unaware that the program is a priority
HP Print management programs today revolve around software and hardware and these programs have fallen, much like the print devices you want to capture, to the IT staff.
They will be the gatekeepers and their roles are critical. If you don’t have an IT staff, notify your outsourced IT staff of the change.
Remember that although your program may be “turnkey” or hosted by another company, there will be situations that will warrant system work, web work or some help with understanding the IT side of the program.
Your IT staff will need to be involved. You’ll need to motivate them to come to the table every time. And teach them to communicate with your customers. The latter may involve extensive training.
Managed Print Services Mistake 4:
Post Integration Distractions
Step Back to Move Forward: Focus on Follow Through You’ve already made the investment and you’ve already dedicated the time. Now comes follow through. Focus and avoid distractions.
This program, just like any other program that you’ve built, is dependent on how you structure it. Failure is a learning process and best practices come from trial and error.
Proper follow through long after installation is the final step to ensure you realize the full benefit of a print management solution for your organization. You can only learn from your missteps and mistakes if you’re willing to take a step back so that you can move forward in the right direction.
Taking a step back, to re-direct your missteps and move forward will ensure that you have the right print management tool, and that you leverage it right
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