Unveiling the Future: Key Trends Shaping Managed Print Services


Alexander Watson

Unveiling the Future: Key Trends Shaping Managed Print Services

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, managed print services (MPS) are not left behind. They’re undergoing a dramatic transformation, driven by technological advancements and changing business needs. But what does the future hold for MPS? Let’s explore.

From AI-driven automation to enhanced security measures, the MPS industry is gearing up for some exciting changes. We’re about to witness a significant shift in how businesses manage their print environments. So, fasten your seatbelts for a thrilling journey into the future of MPS.

This article will delve into the emerging trends in this dynamic sector, offering insights that could reshape your understanding of managed print services. It’s time to embrace the future, and I’m here to guide you through it. Let’s get started.

The Evolution of Managed Print Services

In the continually advancing world of print management, comprehension of its progression plays a paramount role. Let’s delve into how Managed Print Services (MPS) has transitioned from a straightforward cost-saving measure towards an integral part of strategic management and examine the instrumental role of data analytics in this industry.

From Cost-Saving to Strategic Management

MPS initially found adoption as a tool for reducing operational costs, specifically in the context of print-related expenses. Businesses capitalized on its offerings to cut down on printing redundancies and unnecessary expenditures, like the cost of preserving outdated hardware. However, the role has magnified beyond just a financial standpoint in recent years.

MPS encompasses strategic management facets. It streamlines workflows, integrates with digital processes, and contributes to sustainability targets. Examples of such integration include digital document management systems and cloud-based storage solutions. MPS now not only curtails costs but also boosts productivity, improves efficiency, and aids in achieving ecological objectives.

The Role of Data Analytics

Data analytics, in this day and age, isn’t restricted to certain industries – MPS shares a piece of this pie too. Analytics in MPS helps track and monitor print usage, offering insights into behavioral patterns. It isn’t about simply counting the number of prints anymore – it has deepened into understanding what, when, and how often specific documents are printed.

These analytics help in predicting print demand, managing resources more effectively, and averting device malfunctions before they hit. Additionally, the data derived serve to develop custom printing solutions tailored to the specific needs and habits of a company, paving the way for a more efficient and personalized printing environment.

The aforementioned instances demonstrate the irreversible evolution of MPS, moving from being a basic cost-saving tool to a sophisticated system central to strategic management and wrapped up by the power of data analytics.

The Rise of Cloud-Based Managed Print Solutions

As Managed Print Services (MPS) undergo advancements, it’s apparent that cloud-based solutions redefine the scene. Not only do they enhance productivity and optimize workflows as defined by data analytics, but they also streamline the path towards achieving sustainability goals.

Benefits of Cloud Integration

The true strength of a cloud-based MPS lies in its numerous benefits. First, it offers universal accessibility, allowing offices around the globe to print documents without geographical constraints. With data stored in the cloud, it can be accessed and printed from anywhere. Employees working remotely can send documents to print in the office, enhancing flexibility and efficiency.

Second, scalability becomes viable with cloud-based solutions. Businesses can tailor their print environments as their needs change, scaling up or down as required. It avoids high upfront costs of implementing an MPS by paying only for the resources utilized.

Third, cloud-based MPS caters to automation of processes. Predetermined print rules and automated workflows improve efficiency – an invoice, for example, can be sent directly to the finance department for printing.

Fourth, cloud-based MPS supports sustainability initiatives. Paper wastage diminishes with responsible print behaviors encouraged by cloud-based solutions such as secure print release.

Security Implications and Solutions

Despite the vast benefits, the advance towards cloud-based solutions implicates concerns around security. As data moves to the cloud, the potential for unauthorized access escalates. Nevertheless, by integrating robust security measures, these challenges can be mitigated.

Primarily, encryption is a powerful tool. It ensures that data transmitted over the cloud remains secure from cyber threats. Cloud-based MPS providers typically encrypt data both at rest and in transit, thereby safeguarding sensitive information.

Second, we see the advent of user authentication processes to restrict unauthorized access. Users must input unique identification or use a smart card to release print jobs, minimizing security risks.

Third, traffic on the network is monitored closely through network access control. It identifies suspicious activities and can react to potential attacks.

Fourth, secure print release solutions ensure that the document is only printed when the user is physically close to the printer. It aids in preventing accidental and unauthorized prints.

Cloud-based MPS, although not devoid of challenges, undoubtedly enlivens the future trends in MPS given its multifold benefits and feasible security solutions.

Customization and User-Friendly Services

Recognizing the need for more flexible and user-centric solutions, MPS providers are stepping up their game in the realm of personalization.

Personalized Print Environments

Emerging trends in the MPS sector point towards personalized print environments. It’s a move that puts power directly in the hands of the end-user. Each user’s printing needs vary, after all. One department might require high-resolution marketing materials, replete with colorful graphics and images. Another might need straightforward, text-heavy reports. Personalization in MPS allows for such individual requirements to be met with tailored solutions. Companies like Xerox and HP are stepping up to the plate in this regard, offering customers the ability to customize their print settings on a case-by-case basis.

Enhancing User Experience through Technology

Enhanced user experiences come with the territory of personalized print services, and advancements in technology play a huge role here. New software integrations are paving the way for greater ease of use, better workflows, and increased productivity. For example, one trend in the offing is mobile printing. With a mobile device in nearly every hand, users want to be able to print from anywhere, at any time. MPS providers that can facilitate this will be a step ahead in the game.

Moreover, interactive touchscreens bring users an intuitive and streamlined print experience. For instance, the Ricoh Intelligent Printer includes an interactive display that offers a range of customizable options for users to choose from. This kind of technology allows for a seamless print experience, satisfying the increasing demand for user-friendly services in the MPS field. In this way, customization and user-focused services appear to be leading the pack in future trends in managed print services.

Sustainability in Print Management

Building on the momentum of advancements in Managed Print Services (MPS), sustainability marks a significant trend steering the industry’s future direction. While user-centric services and technology integration remain crucial, the spotlight now shines on practices endorsing environmental welfare.

Environmentally Friendly Practices

Leading print service providers make noteworthy strides towards environmentally friendly practices. Companies, such as Canon and Lexmark, incorporate recycled materials in their products. For instance, Canon’s Generation Green initiative endorses products designed for minimal power consumption and maximum resource efficiency.

These providers not only advocate environment-friendly production but also encourage sustainable usage among clients. Eco-conscious printing options, such as duplex printing or print-on-demand, become more prevalent, promoting a conscientious approach to resource usage.

Reducing Waste through Smart Printing

Smart printing emerges as another forward-thinking trend in minimizing printing-associated waste. Paper-saving features permeate the MPS landscape now more than ever. Providers, such as Epson, embrace technologies enhancing print precision and eliminating unnecessary print jobs. Their PrecisionCore technology, for instance, optimizes print quality while reducing wastage.

Furthermore, predictive maintenance fueled by IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) plays a remarkable role in reducing electronic waste. By identifying potential print failures in advance, these technologies enable timely maintenance and fewer machinery replacements. A win not only for economic efficiency but also for our planet’s well-being.

Companies continue to push the printing industry towards a more sustainable trajectory, making sustainability a significant future trend in Managed Print Services. As environmental concerns heighten, the focus shifts from mere printing to responsible printing- meshing technology, convenience, and responsibility seamlessly.

Advanced Analytics and Predictive Maintenance

Building upon the previous context, let’s delve into some significant future progressions in managed print services. One pivotal trend is the emergence of advanced analytics and predictive maintenance, vastly benefiting from the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms.

Machine Learning for Enhanced Efficiency

Machine Learning algorithms offer great promise for managed print services, ushering in more dynamic and efficient operating practices. By harnessing the power of AI, machine learning improves system efficiency, optimizes overall performance, and reduces costs. For example, large organizations like IBM and Google apply machine learning techniques to predict equipment malfunction, thus decreasing downtime. It’s this application of machine learning in managed print services that lightens workflows, speeds up processes, and ultimately results in superior productivity.

Predicting Failures Before They Occur

Another exciting adaptation in the sector is the ability to anticipate hardware failures before they occur, minimising interruptions and saving valuable time and resources. Predictive maintenance utilizes data gathered from the equipment, translating anomalies into precise predictions about potential issues. Companies such as Xerox and HP have integrated predictive maintenance technology into their MPS offerings, providing real-time, data-driven insights that promptly signal any need for repairs or replacements. Anomalies like temperature fluctuations or unusual noise levels, for example, indicate potential malfunctions, ensuring continuous, smooth operation. This forward-thinking approach strengthens business operations, reduces unnecessary costs, and minimizes downtime, for a more efficient, robust Managed Print Service.

Integration with Other Business Systems

This section delves into the progressive trend of Managed Print Services (MPS) integration with other business systems. Innovation drives this movement, maximizing productivity, and unleashing the full potential of IoT on Managed Print Services.

Seamless Workflow and Productivity

Integration denotes a step towards a more streamlined workflow and elevated productivity. Companies leverage intelligent software with big data analytics to bridge the gap between MPS and other business systems. Epson and Canon, for example, offer MPS solutions with integrated workflow management systems. This integration enhances automatic processes across departments – from data collection to document distribution.

Instantaneous data sharing among systems eliminates manual entry and reduces the risk of errors. An automatic system, engineered for swift communication of changes across all platforms, begets fewer discrepancies and saves time wasted on correction procedures. Efficiency, therefore, becomes the integrating point in managed print services, linking diverse systems, nurturing productivity and streamlining workflow.

The Influence of IoT on Managed Print Services

Internet of Things (IoT) plays a transformative role in the world of print services. Revolutionizing MPS integration with other business systems, IoT introduces intelligent features that amplify efficiency, reduce costs and prioritize sustainability.

Companies harness the power of connected devices to manage print services smarter. Sensors embedded in devices collect, analyze, interpret and transmit relevant data in real time, enabling predictive maintenance. This anticipatory approach mitigates downtime, optimizes device usage, reduces waste and ensures operational continuity. Lexmark, for instance, uses IoT technologies to provide proactive maintenance, notifying clients when it’s time for maintenance or refill of supplies.

IoT paves the way for advanced customization, enabling print environments to evolve in step with user demands and technological advancements. IoT is becoming a fulcrum in MPS, propelling forward-thinking integration while shaping the future landscape of print management services.

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence

AI in Document Processing and Workflow Automation

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, plays a crucial part in modern Managed Print Services, notably in document processing and workflow automation. By incorporating AI, document processing becomes an intelligent process that identifies, captures, and classifies documents with precision. It processes bulk files faster than traditional methods, making it time efficient. For instance, AI-integrated document processing tools like ABBYY FlexiCapture can extract valuable information from physical and digital documents, reducing manual input and errors.

Moreover, AI enables effective workflow automation. By predicting and understanding users’ patterns, it can offer streamlined workflows, thus increasing productivity. Tools like Kofax Intelligent Automation leverage AI to provide touchless automation of document-intensive processes. The automation eliminates redundant tasks, making room for staff to engage in more significant activities.

Predictive Analytics for Supply Management

Another noteworthy contribution of AI in Managed Print Services is predictive analytics for supply management. AI utilizes machine learning algorithms to predict when supplies like ink, paper, or parts will run out. It sends alerts about potential shortages or malfunctions, allowing for proactive maintenance and continual operation of printing devices. Canon’s Predictive Service Management, for example, uses AI technologies to optimize service delivery and resource deployment.

Additionally, predictive analytics aid in reducing excess inventory and controlling costs by accurately forecasting supply demand. AI’s presence in supply management reinforces the economic efficiency and environmental well-being, stressed in Managed Print Services. It’s a practical example demonstrating how AI strengthens the transformation of MPS into a strategic management tool.

Managed Print Services and Remote Work

Managed Print Services (MPS) adapt and evolve with shifting work dynamics. In a society ingrained with digital workflows, the meteoric rise in remote work poses a unique set of challenges. MPS counters these by synchronizing digital and print environments, facilitating seamless off-site operations.

Adapting to the Increase in Telecommuting

Innovation thrives in today’s digitized world. Unencumbered by physical limitations, telecommuting spearheads this shift. According to Global Workplace Analytics, a staggering 4.7 million employees in the U.S. embrace telecommuting, a grow of 159% since 2005. MPS takes this surge in stride, zeroing in on the needs of remote workers and calibrating its solutions to facilitate their tasks. Users can leverage MPS applications to initiate print jobs and retrieve digitized hard-copies. By blending physical and digital print requirements, MPS caters to the requirements of a dispersed workforce.

Secure Remote Printing Solutions

As telecommuting proliferates, so does the need for secure remote printing solutions. Xerox emphasizes this need, with their “Secure Print Manager Suite” which bolsters data protection and user authentication measures. MPS champions security throughout the entire print lifecycle. Implementing advanced encryption protocols, it safeguards data in transit and at rest, while also enabling authentication mechanisms to ascertain user identity. MPS also extends to incorporate audit trails for every print task, bolstering accountability and making cyber audits a breeze. By prioritizing security measures in this ever-evolving landscape, MPS ensures user data remains uncompromised, regardless of their geographical location.

The Future of 3D Printing in Managed Services

Pioneering New Markets

As 3D printing gains traction, it paves the way for newfound markets in the Managed Print Services (MPS) industry. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has demonstrated promise in various fields, such as healthcare, construction, and automotive industries, among many others. In healthcare, for instance, 3D printing has a significant role in producing customized prosthetic limbs, indicating how this technology can deliver individually tailored solutions.

Advancements in 3D printing technology present a shift from traditional manufacturing due to its ability to produce complex, bespoke designs, such as GE’s 3D-printed jet engine parts, at a reduced cost. Adopting 3D printing in MPS challenges service providers to develop new skill sets and invest in innovative technologies. Consequently, this opens up potential revenue streams by expanding services into sectors that were traditionally beyond the scope of MPS.

Challenges and Opportunities

Along with its potential, 3D printing also brings novel challenges and opportunities to MPS. An exemplary challenge lies in intellectual property rights, particularly when producing 3D printed objects from digital files. With 3D printed objects becoming more prevalent, questions arise around copyright infringements or patent rights, especially if a design is replicated without the creator’s consent.

On the other hand, 3D printing also presents immense opportunities for MPS. An often-cited benefit is the reduction of waste, owing to 3D printing’s additive nature: it constructs objects layer by layer, utilizing only necessary material. This promotes sustainable operations which cater to the rising demand for environmentally friendly services. Another advantage lies in the potential to streamline and localize production processes, lessening dependency on long supply chains. This mitigates risks associated with global disruptions, like brought about by the recent pandemic, demonstrating the resilience of 3D printing.

Furthermore, 3D printing in MPS also brings about the opportunity for customization. This ability to customize products according to user preferences garners the potential to enhance customer satisfaction, thereby fostering loyalty. HP’s Jet Fusion 3D Printing solution exemplifies this, offering customers the ability to print parts that are lightweight, durable, and customizable.

In sum, the incorporation of 3D printing within MPS represents a transformative trend, pioneering new markets, and introducing a balance of challenges and opportunities. As technology advances, MPS providers must adapt and innovate to leverage the potential of 3D printing, supporting economic, environmental, and user-centric advancements.


As we gaze into the future of Managed Print Services, it’s clear that we’re on the cusp of an exciting era. Data analytics, customization, sustainability, and security measures are transforming MPS into a strategic management tool. AI integration is paving the way for enhanced efficiency and predictive maintenance. Remote work trends are driving MPS to bridge digital and print environments, ensuring secure off-site operations.

The advent of 3D printing within MPS is a game-changer. It’s set to open new markets in healthcare, construction, and automotive industries, despite challenges like intellectual property rights. Embracing 3D printing’s potential for waste reduction, customization, and localized production, MPS is poised for transformative growth. The future demands MPS providers to innovate and adapt, leveraging these advancements for economic, environmental, and user-centric gains. The evolution of MPS is indeed a journey worth watching.

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