Jim Joyce, Xerox's VP of managed print services for its US Channels unit, answers our five crucial questions for MSPs.
Xerox was announced Best Practice winner at CPI's MSP Innovation Awards on Thursday night in New York.
1) What will a successful MSP look like in three to five years' time?
It's a very interesting time with a significant amount of industry consolidation, mergers and acquisitions occurring. Venture capital companies are buying traditional copier/print dealers. For example, three years ago there were more than 5,000 copier/print dealers in the US; today it is less than 3,000.
Traditional copy/print companies are expanding into IT services - doing so via organic investment or through acquisition. We are seeing the same happening (on a much smaller degree) with IT Service companies acquiring print/copy companies. Another dynamic is the larger eTailers aggressively entering this space with their acquisitions and expansion into a more direct sale/service model (for example, Staples' acquisitions of DEX and High Touch).
I expect hybrid organizations to emerge, making it difficult to tell the difference between a copy/print dealer, an IT provider and even a cloud provider (at least in the reseller/SMB space). SMBs will be sourcing from "complete" companies who can provide their computer needs (devices, storage, cloud, and service, plus print/copy needs). The more progressive MSPs will do so with associated apps and software that target either (1) a specific vertical or (2) a specific model (for example, per seat). SMB customers will prefer to engage primarily with one supplier, under a defined contract that provides a more predictable cost and support model.
2) What has been the most important development in the MSP space over the last 12 months?
By far, apps. We've seen our partners do well with apps that specifically serve defined needs in critical vertical applications. And the more versatile the app the better, ones running on print devices, in the cloud and on compute devices universally.
3) If an MSP had to invest in just one new technology, which one should they pick and why?
This is a tough question to answer because of the vertical nature of where things are going, so I can't recommend just one. Here's why: many of the most critical investments won't need to be made in a specific technology, but in resources with the requisite skills and capability to leverage several complimentary technologies working in harmony.
4) Do you think MSPs should be outsourcing core functions such as their helpdesk and security services?
Yes, especially those that are either non-core or require an extensive infrastructure and rote skill set to operate. For these MSPs there are two options: (1) either outsource to the firms with high success, redundancy and at lower cost, or (2) form their own consortium with other regional providers to aggregate those services together for economies in operations and cost.
5) What's the biggest threat to an MSP's business today?
Standing still while the rest of the market moves toward a more integrated engagement and user model.
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