Photizo Group has been gathering information from organizations around the world since 2006 through market research surveys, interviews, case studies and conferences. As the premier provider of analysis and information dedicated to MPS, Photizo invites organizations to use these proven best practices when beginning down the path to MPS.
BEST PRACTICE #1 Identify Objectives and Priorities & Set Goals
Identifying the driver for the MPS initiative is important to establish before planning the strategic and tactical moves that will be included in the first stage of the engagement. Most organizations want to reduce costs, but that can be accomplished in a number of different ways. A clear understanding of objectives and deadlines is necessary.
Commonly mentioned objectives:
• Reduce costs
• Avoid adding new cost
• Increase efficiency
• Reduce print volume
• Implement new technology
• Reduce obsolescence
• Improve security
• Contribute to corporate environmental sustainability objectives
Setting goals is important to measuring the performance of the internal project team and the MPS vendor. Clearly defined intermediate and final goals and timelines will allow a firm to monitor progress and make course corrections if necessary.
BEST PRACTICE #2 Understanding User Requirements
A clear picture of user requirements is important. Users may not be accepting of change in the first place and an MPS implementation that leaves them with diminished ability to perform can cause a loss of credibility and support.
Communicating with departments, understanding workflow and observing business routines can provide useful insight. Reviewing proposed solutions with department gives the opportunity to correct any deficiencies.
BEST PRACTICE #3 Secure Sponsorship and Dedicated Project Management
A project that spans multiple departments and multiple locations should be assigned a full-time project manager. Companies that reported the most satisfaction with their MPS projects had named dedicated resources that represented the company and communicated changes effectively with internal departments.
Executive sponsorship is a requirement. The ability to explain why the organization is electing to adopt the MPS model and how that decision relates to the overall goals and mission of the organization takes executive-level participation.
BEST PRACTICE #4 Prepare the Organization and Communicate
Communication between business units and the MPS project team needs to be two-way. Users need to understand why changes are being considered and be introduced to the big picture – that message should come from the executive sponsor. The business units need to participate as well. Asking for their contributions makes them feel they are part of the solution. It also helps the MPS project team tremendously to understand departmental needs for device availability, duty cycles, security and features like color or collating.
Be sure to communicate the benefits the organization expects to realize from the MPS project and clearly identify new capabilities and features that will be of value to the individual departments and users.
BEST PRACTICE #5 Separate MPS Vendor Services From Hardware
Choosing a company to be an MPS partner because they distribute the hardware already in use can be a mistake and can effectively limit the ability to design the right solution for the organization.
The services provided by an MPS vendor extend beyond the support of a certain type of equipment. In fact, the hardware is not the most important component of a successful MPS relationship. A great MPS partner can generate desired results even if they do not sell hardware. However, a hardware manufacturer or reseller can also be an excellent partner for MPS services. The key is to match your requirements with a vendor whose capabilities matching your requirements.
BEST PRACTICE #6 Keep the Three Stages in Mind
For most organizations, switching to an MPS model is a change that happens gradually. To get the maximum results and achieve objectives it is going to take time and commitment on the part of several individuals within the organization.
Photizo’s research has shown that every successful MPS project goes through three stages of adoption customer adoption. The work of each stage must be completed before moving on to the next. Rushing to move ahead before collection of the data or making all the necessary changes can result in wasted effort, lack of support and unnecessary expense.
In Stage 1 and Stage 2 the benefits are infrastructure-centric. It is a matter of tracking down all the equipment, recording the details, and then making decisions about continuously re-allocating devices where they will be the most useful.
Stage 3 on the other hand requires a radically different skill set. It may be that a different set of professionals are better able to help handle the requirements of the third stage, which is really about business process engineering.
BEST PRACTICE #7 Evaluating Vendors
Not all vendors are created equal. Some vendors have very strong Stage 1 and Stage 2 capabilities (infrastructure management) while others have strong Stage 3 abilities (Business Process Enhancement and Business Process Optimization). Photizo’s Decision Maker Tracking StudyTM has captured satisfaction levels from several thousand MPS engagements in North America, Europe, and Asia.3 This research has shown that there is clearly a difference in the level of customer satisfaction based upon various vendors’ ability to perform and meet customer expectations.
Developing a clear understanding of the vendors’ abilities is essential to vendor selection. Utilizing objective third party data is critical. In addition, customer references are a valuable qualification tool.
BEST PRACTICE #8 Paid Assessments
The initial assessment is an absolutely critical aspect of the MPS engagement. Obtaining a professional, objective assessment of your current situation, end-user needs and gaps versus best practices is critical to developing the program requirements, initial print policies and vendor requirements.
Some vendors will offer a ‘free’ assessment in order to win the MPS engagement. However, In order to insure that you are obtaining an objective and rigorous assessment, Photizo recommends paying for the assessment. It is very difficult to provide this type of assessment at no cost.
Making the decision to engage in an MPS contract is a great first step. Most companies who have made that decision and have moved forward with well-managed MPS projects have enjoyed cost savings averaging 30 percent, drastically reduced the size of their printer fleet, improved the productivity of their staffs, and have decreased the impact their document printing activities are having on the environment.