The promise of the paperless office has never seemed so far away.
Every day office printers spew out thousands of pages despite the pleas of management. To the jaded observer, it appears that managed print services, the hoped-for whip, is facing an uphill battle.
Craig Le Clair, a principal analyst at Forrester Research who covers the managed printing services industry agrees: The paperless office, he says “is a long way off.”
He has seen big drops in so-called production printing such as marketing material and production reports. But office workers still feel the need for something in their hands for certain tasks (including, Le Clair admits, himself).
“Ultimately we feel its finding the right balance for paper,” Hamblin said, “because we feel it still has a place in the office. But how you manage and control digital is still forming, and that is where we want to have a major voice in helping our customers understand what they should keep only in digital form, versus what should be in paper form.”
So, like its major competitors Xerox Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Ricoh, Toshiba and Canon, Lexmark has been expanding into content management software to meet customer demands for digital solutions.
In fact, you might say it’s been on a buying spree:
In March it completed the acquisition of Twistage, a cloud software platform for managing video, audio and image content; and AccessVia, which makes software that allows organizations to create signs for digital displays or color or monochrome printers. The two deals totaled US$31.5 million.
Like other printing companies, it is also heavily into offering managed print services through its partners. “It allows us to bring a broader offering as a supplier and help our customers get a handle on their printing and imaging,” he said. Lexmark estimates savings to organizations typically range between 20 and 40 per cent.
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