By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Despite the growing emphasis on digital records, print remains a critical function in the business world. According to CompTIA research, 98 percent of U.S. workers printed at least once during the past quarter. Self-reported print volumes tend to follow a bell-shaped curve, with firms at the endpoints on the high side or low side of print output.
Overall, businesses report generally high levels of satisfaction with print functionality and support, although room for improvement certainly exists.
A new study by CompTIA reveals that 86 percent of managed print services providers anticipate business growth in the next year, with one-third of providers expecting significant growth of 10 percent or more.
The study, “Trends in Managed Print,” based on self-reported adoption, pegs the penetration rate of managed print services at about 36 percent. Not surprisingly, according to the report, firms of more than 500 employees report adoption of managed print at greater than twice the rate of smaller companies.
Data for the study was collected in online surveys of 600 U.S. and Canadian IT business executives responsible for technical or strategic decisions affecting print or document management at their companies. An additional 350 U.S. IT executives with some level of involvement in the IT channel were surveyed.
Approximately half of the end user companies surveyed reported that they were familiar with the managed print services option, indicating slightly higher numbers than the 2011 CompTIA study. IT staff is much more familiar with the options than business executives, the study finds.
Tim Herbert, vice president, research and market intelligence for CompTIA stated in a press release, “This confirms the importance of selling beyond the IT department. Securing buy-in across the organization is likely to result in a greater long-term commitment to managed print.” If VARs can market to higher executives, “this may open doors to more advanced opportunities, such as document management and business process automation.”
The study also found a net 84 percent satisfaction rate among managed print users, including the following:
The study also asked firms to classify themselves, and within the U.S. IT channel, about 10 percent of firms classified themselves as managed services providers, and 42 percent of channel companies reported direct involvement with managed print as at least one element in a broader solutions portfolio.
“There’s a slight but important distinction between strategic managed print providers and opportunistic providers,” according to West McDonald, owner of FocusMPS and chair of the CompTIA Managed Print Services Community. “The data suggests that the former segment has been more proactive in building out a managed print practice. The latter has been more reactive, likely getting into managed print at the request of customers.”
Ultimately, the report states, “While there is no denying the maturing state of the market, it does not mean the print space is devoid of opportunity. From innovations such as feature-rich multi-function devices and app-based wireless printing to enhanced managed print and workflow solutions, the market remains as dynamic as ever.”
The complete report is available to CompTIA Premier Members here.