Managed print services are increasingly popular, with some estimates suggesting MPS will reach a market value of nearly $60 billion by 2025. This growth is spurred by new technology, increasingly efficient services, and the increasing ability of managed print service providers to offer solutions above and beyond what organizations can provide for themselves.

If you’re looking for an MPS provider in this rapidly growing market, you likely have a lot of options. Managed print services range from the basic to the full-service and everything in between, with providers ranging in size, style, and quality. Choosing one can be difficult. However, your managed print services provider will be a business partner, and you can use that to drive decisions.

These 6 tips will help you choose the right managed print services provider for your organization.

1) Align Strategy and Vision

Any managed print services provider will be working to enable your organization’s print needs. They will have a business impact and they will have an impact on individual productivity and morale. It’s important to align strategy and vision, so you know how, when, and why your print services provider will be there.

For example, do they take an active role in training employees, onboarding new people, and guiding individuals using their software and hardware? Do they proactively maintain and service printers or do they wait until there is a problem?

You should choose a managed print services provider that can step in and work at a level that meets your organizational needs and goals. If you have an active print department, you might want something fairly light. If you want a full-service solution, your print service provider should be able to step in and proactively offer solutions, improvements, and services that will help you succeed.

2) Ask for Case Studies and References

While it isn’t always wrong to start with a new provider, it’s likely a good idea to look for some form of proof-of-service. The easiest way to do this is to request case studies and references, so you can verify other customers are happy with the services provided, look at customer satisfaction in regard to fees, customer service, and quality, and review the efficacy of the organization.

This is especially true if you’re looking for solutions like print optimization, document workflow improvements, or print server optimization.

If you can see case studies of how your managed print services provide reduced costs or improved workflow in another organization, you can better trust that they can do the same for you.

Similarly, if you can talk to existing customers, ask about what they like or do not like about service, and get a good third-party perspective of who the organization is and what they offer, you can move into the relationship with much more confidence.

3) Look for Technology that Meets Your Needs

Not every managed print services provider will offer the same technology or services. It’s important to review both and choose solutions that meet your needs.

For example, does your organization want to access printers remotely? Do you want cloud networking? Do you need high-security solutions like VPN and localized networks? It’s important to review what your managed print service provider can do before making a selection, simply because some won’t offer more than basic solutions. If you need those basic solutions, you can likely save money by choosing a more limited provider.

This also extends to hardware. Most managed print services providers offer hardware solutions from a series of printer manufacturers, which may or may not meet your needs. Share your users, expected print-volume, and expected security needs upfront to ensure the provider can meet those needs.

4) Consider Communication

Any print service provider will have to continuously communicate to your organization. Their ability to do so in a timely and efficient manner will greatly impact service quality.

How quickly does your print service provider respond to emails? Are they always available for calls? What do online reviews say about availability?

If you can’t trust that your partner will be available for communication, you can’t reasonably partner with them.

5) Look for Optimization

Managed print services are leaning away from primarily offering hardware and software as a service, and towards offering optimization. This means the MPS functions to improve your print solutions, improve print software, reduce print costs, and improve employee training and awareness.

In most cases, the goal is a multi-fold one, typically to reduce total costs, improve the efficacy of your print fleet, reduce carbon footprint, and reduce waste printing.

While not every organization needs print optimization, it will pay off for nearly everyone. If your MPS provider offers it as part of their service, it will likely be a significantly better investment than one offering hardware/software-only.

6) Choose a Partner

Your MPS provider is a partner providing a solution to your organization. In any case where you outsource a service, whether print, network architecture, or graphic design, you are creating a partnership. You rely on this organization to meet your needs, anticipate changing needs, and continue to do so well into the future.

This typically means choosing an organization that is roughly the same size as yours. If your partner is too big, they may not value you as a client and won’t go out of their way to meet your needs. If they are too small, they might not be able to scale with you and continue meeting needs.

Of course, choosing a very large MPS provider can be advantageous in that you have access to newer technology more quickly, but you might prioritize better communication, more personal solutions, and better contacts.

It also means choosing an organization that aligns with you in terms of growth and strategy. If your organization needs something from print, you want to know that your provider will continue to support it.

For example, if you need offline print servers for security reasons, you’d be unable to work with a print partner if they moved all their solutions to the cloud. This means aligning on growth and business direction.

Managed print service providers can offer a great deal in terms of value, return on investment, and improvements for print efficiency and cost. However, it’s important to review your options, choose an option that meets your needs, and ensure your new partner can be that partner. Good luck finding an MPS provider.