Managed Services Are The New Black
I did a double-take when I recently passed the service truck of copier company Ricoh. Words like cloud, network design, computer repair and disaster recovery speckled the tailgate. Nowhere could I find the word “copier.” It was a sign of the times – and proof that managed services is fast becoming the “new black” in the IT industry.
When Marco first began to provide Managed Services in 2005, it was a market just in its infancy. In the past few years, it rapidly accelerated to become a strategy for a variety of technology companies – and beyond.
For Ricoh, it was rebranding strategy. But many longtime printer and copier manufacturers are acquiring managed services companies to establish their place in the market. Konica Minolta and Xerox announced acquisitions this year and both have made great strides in recent years to transition from being strictly hardware manufacturers to becoming managed print services (MPS) and IT services providers.
Konica Minolta announced earlier this year that it acquired All Covered, a national provider of managed IT services. The next day, Xerox announced that its Global Imaging Systems division bought RK Dixon, an Iowa-based provider of IT services, managed print services, and printer and copier hardware.
The RX Dixon acquisition continued a chain of acquisitions at Xerox over the past few years, including its biggest acquisition with the purchase of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) for $6.4 billion in 2009. Xerox acquired Global Imaging Systems in 2007.
A Maturing Industry
A rising number of printer, copier and even non-technology firms now are offering managed services in some form. It was not long ago that I received a call from a business leader who was a friend of a Marco customer to ask if I could help him navigate the managed services products being offered to his company – by the company’s bank.
I learned that not only was the bank offering the company managed services, but it also had supplied some of the company’s IT infrastructure, including its firewall. Yes, the company bought its firewall from its bank.
A few years ago, companies that have never been in IT began seizing opportunities to enter the managed services market. Financial services firms, for an example, created IT teams to serve their customers. With few standards and fluctuating pricing, it felt like the Wild West and became incredibly complicated for business customers.
But that’s changing.
Pricing has stabilized in most cases and the industry is beginning to adopt a series of standards such as management software like ConnectWise and Kaseya. That will give way to more acquisitions – and more opportunities for businesses to outsource common IT tasks – for less.
Business leaders have become savvy, too, and many are finding the value in using one managed services provider to meet all their common and specialized needs.