The Evolution of Print as a Service (PRaaS)

Print as a Service (PRaaS) promises delivery of traditional print annuities, with a low touch,  profitable offering.
Print as a Service promises traditional print annuities, with a low touch, profitable offering. – Simon Tune
Vendors, resellers, analysts – CEOs through to account managers – are commenting on the convergence of the print and IT reseller markets. We see this clearly with 20% of our traditional print partners now earning up to 30% of their revenues from IT services. Certainly, the print technology of today supports the story, but are the services propositions offered by the discrete print and IT reseller channels also coming together?

So what is ‘Print as a Service’?

Managed Print Services (MPS) was born in the enterprise market and, over a number of years, has moved into the SMB space. Whilst MPS clearly has a place, do all SMB customers require the all-encompassing services and benefits that it offers?

For some, MPS may have connotations of complexity, lengthy, binding contracts and unpleasant administration. So, is there a place, where print and IT really converge for a “Print as a Service offering”, delivered through either the print reseller or the IT services company alongside their portfolio of managed services? I think there is.

Print as a Service (PRaaS) promises delivery of traditional print annuities, as well as the opportunity to diversify into IT services with a low touch, profitable offering. With over 6 million A4 devices pushed into the western European market each year*, print is the dominant technology. Does the low entry-price point, when compared with a portfolio of “as a service” offerings, afford an IT reseller a subscription model revenue and margin opportunity at low risk?

For print resellers, this represents a risk to your traditional business model. As a test of the risk profile go through your customer base and ask yourself “do I own the whole print requirement here, or here, or here?” If the answer is no maybe it’s time to think about offering PRaaS before someone else muscles in on the opportunity.

Are IT resellers extending ‘as a service’?

Let’s ask a few logical questions, I am sure there are more…

Infrastructure as a Service

The provision of networks, storage and servers etc. – could this also include print hardware? Are IT resellers including print, which may make the cost relatively invisible in a total infrastructure service package?

Desktop as a Service

A virtual desktop supporting a BYOD policy – what are the implications for print? How could an IT reseller support with basic, remotely deployable or pre-configured mobile print applications?

Backup as a Service

How are IT resellers using remotely deployable workflow applications that can form an integral and simple part of the backup service? Are they?

Healthy annuity streams

As part of the Print as a Service principle, let’s not overlook the obvious; healthy annuity streams that are captured from print. Think ‘Monitoring as a Service’ and how this is complemented by Xerox Supplies Service – a simple cloud-based, remotely deployed and brand agnostic platform that allows you to control print revenues and ensure optimal device uptime for your clients.

Print technology is bringing IT and print together. SMB customers are looking for single suppliers across print and IT but today there is a gap in service offerings. PRaaS can close that gap, but it will require vendors, like Xerox, to support channel partners with a value proposition, delivery mechanism, and infrastructure.

If you are a Xerox channel partner, talk to your Xerox account manager to find out how we can help you lock in this lucrative business.

Interested in becoming a Xerox channel partner?

If you want to learn more about becoming a Xerox channel partner take a look at the Xerox Global Partner Program page.

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* Source: IDC 2015 FY Market Trends Summary for W Europe report

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