In recent years, the increasingly competitive nature of business and the evolution of technology have collided. Organisations are changing. Business practices are evolving. And as traditional processes disappear, a new beast is emerging. This new beast is no longer a one-trick pony. It’s a whole new creature. One that combines print, which has always been a lynchpin of any business, with a comprehensive digital data management strategy.

For any truly modern business, teaming print with a digital data strategy is key if they are to remain competitive. Here are a few of the ways in which managed print services are evolving to support businesses in their wider business goals.

Printers are no longer at the heart of the business

Whilst printing itself is still very important to businesses despite digital growth, it’s no longer at the heart of the organisation. Gone are the days of single print centres where every department could send their printing, to be collected later. This outdated approach was quickly identified as inefficient and replaced by the presence of micro printing hubs that service smaller offices. The impact of the ability to network printers doesn’t stop there though. Networking makes printing more cost-effective and secure. Remote connections facilitate the enhanced security offered by pull printing possible, whilst enabling much maintenance and management to be conducted remotely.

Remote management reduces the likelihood of breakdown and speeding maintenance where breakdowns do occur. The ability to constantly monitor equipment means that businesses are less likely to be left without printing capability as networks can be redesigned as required, and issues spotted and remedied more rapidly.

Protecting the bigger picture

Accompanying the increasing networking of printers is a surge in the awareness of the security around them. Instead of the more traditional ‘plug in and forget’ approach, devices need to be monitored and protected, as computers have for many years.  Many organisations don’t feel that they have the expertise to administer these security processes in-house and are therefore outsourcing them to third parties that can monitor these devices remotely for unusual activity.

Established managed print providers recognise the importance of the printing infrastructure within the overall organisational network and recruit the skills and expertise to ensure that printing equipment is as secure as it can be and don’t offer a back door into the organisation’s network, making them vulnerable to attack.

Say goodbye to the single output

Over the years, printing has moved from being the sole workflow output to being just one element in an entire digital workflow. Now, instead of being the single output format for all data, printing is used alongside cloud storage, IoT-linked equipment and Artificial Intelligence to enable organisations to use their data more efficiently, share it more effectively and access it faster, allowing them to gain a competitive foothold.

There’s been a substantial amount of change in the Managed Print Service Market in recent years and Managed Print Service Providers need to offer printing services as part of a package that allows organisations to strive toward their business goals through increased digitisation, increased information and increased flexibility. Only supporting their clients in this way will give businesses the versatility they need to progress and grow.

At ASL, our support isn’t limited to print services, we also offer managed document services to enable our clients to get that all-important competitive edge. We enable our clients to tap into the full benefits that digitisation can offer a workflow- from enhancing security to streamlining and cost-saving maintenance and support services, to ensure that our clients aren’t being held back by the print systems.

To understand more about how ASL’s printing services can use the IoT to streamline your user workflows and support your wider business objectives, contact us on 0345 305 2618.