Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services 2021 Report Excerpt¬†

The ability of cloud-based services to deliver flexibility, on-demand scalability and reliability while controlling direct costs and administrative overheads has come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic. IT teams have scrambled to support the shift to remote-working as businesses have battled to maintain employee productivity; cloud-based software and services have often played a central role in the tactical response to the crisis.

“Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services 2021 Report, with participation from Printix, looks at cloud market trends which can help you plan for cloud print success.” ~ Printix

Now, as the long-term effects of the pandemic become evident, businesses are taking a more strategic view of the future workplace and the technology and services that will be required to support a hybrid workforce working across the office and from home. MPS providers must position themselves to support the accelerating digitisation journey and demonstrate how moving print infrastructure to the cloud delivers the visibility, security, functionality and cost control needed by highly distributed organisations.

” Over three quarters (77%) of organisations are already using some form of cloud service to manage at least some of their print jobs, with 21% using cloud services to manage over 50% of the workload.” ~ Quocirca

This report highlights key market trends for cloud print services, covering offerings from both manufacturers and independent software vendors (ISVs). It draws on primary research conducted in January 2021 amongst 219 organisations using managed print services (MPS) across the US, the UK, France and Germany.

Key findings:

  • COVID-19 has accelerated the move to remote working and cloud computing

Before the pandemic, an estimated 39% of employees worked from home all or part of the time; this is expected to rise to 48% after offices fully reopen. The crisis has also embedded confidence in the use of cloud services – 34% of organisations are currently using the cloud for all their IT requirements, rising to 43% of organisations by the end of 2021.

  • IT security remains the top investment priority over the next 12 months

67% of ITDMs say IT security is one of their top three investment priorities. Cloud is second in importance (44%) followed by managed IT services (42%) and managed print services (35%). Today 63% of organisations are using an MPS, while half report that they are using a Cloud Print Service.

  • Cloud adoption continues to accelerate

Eight out of ten organisations now expect more than half of their IT infrastructure to be cloud-based by the end of 2021. 43% expect all their IT infrastructure to be cloud-based. In terms of the print infrastructure, 77% of organisations are already using a cloud service to manage at least some print jobs. 39% have already implemented some form of cloud print management platform.

  • Hybrid cloud provides the foundation for edge computing

Many organisations are currently operating a hybrid cloud model as they juggle on-premise and cloud infrastructure. A drive to better control costs and avoid vendor lock-in may see organisations pursuing a multi-cloud strategy; selecting and connecting cloud services based on their performance, security and governance requirements. This approach also supports the growing demand for edge computing, driven by the proliferation of internet-connected devices, including printers.

  • Zero trust security is imperative in enabling the remote workforce

Corporate network perimeters are disappearing due to the acceleration of cloud along with the rise in the number of remote workers accessing corporate resources via home and public networks. This potentially introduces threats from malware, ransomware, phishing attacks and more. A zero trust model is based on the philosophy that there is no implicit trust in the corporate network. The starting point is identity access management, and robust cloud print management should offer tightly integrated multi-factor authentication (MFA) to enable identity-based print security.

  • As cloud momentum grows, industry players are expanding their cloud print service and solutions
    offerings

The transition to the cloud is a significant opportunity for vendors to initiate relationships that, once established, have the potential to endure. Recognising this, print manufacturers and ISVs are bringing cloud-based options to the market to cater for the different public, private and hybrid cloud approaches being pursued by customers. In an environment where many businesses are shifting to a cloud-first approach and new businesses are born in the cloud, establishing and developing cloud-based print services to meet the broad spectrum of customer demand is essential to future relevance.

  • Provision of cloud print services is a primary supplier selection factor and incumbent suppliers should
    not be complacent

More than two-thirds of respondents expect to adopt cloud print management by 2025 and 45% say that offering cloud print services is a key factor influencing their choice of managed print service partner. Our research suggests that customers with fully outsourced MPS have not yet made the cloud transition; they are much more likely than those using hybrid MPS to be operating on-premise print. This is an important area of both opportunity and risk for incumbent suppliers: an opportunity to help customers make the switch, while also a risk that competitors will capitalise on inertia to offer attractive cloud-based alternatives.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has created both appetite and opportunity for cloud MPS. Businesses that are planning for a cloud-first future should extend their ambition to the print infrastructure to ensure that remote and office workers have secure, flexible access to the print functionality they need to maintain productivity.

The print industry must position itself to offer valued strategic partnerships with customers as they navigate this accelerated and distributed digitisation journey. MPS providers with a large customer base still operating on-premise must act fast to help those customers that want to transition to a cloud environment to a solution that includes the provision, security, monitoring and analytics for home-office devices.

A part of this will involve educating the customer on why a cloud-based print solution is in their best interests -availability, security, functionality and controlled costs should all be part of the messaging around this. At the same time, suppliers should diversify and partner to deliver adjacent services that support remote working productivity and collaboration that will allow customers to build momentum and ultimately affect a successful transition to the new cloud-first environment.

Printix, as a leading secure cloud print management provider, took part in this research. If you are interested in serverless printing, mobile cloud printing solutions for the modern workplace, searching for on-demand cloud printing services or building a secure print infrastructure, we would love to share more industry insights and our expertise with you. Follow us on social media for more reports and news like this. You can download for free a part of the report below.

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