3 Data-driven Strategies for The Print Industry
By Louella Fernandes
Data-driven strategies are key to building competitive advantage in the print industry. Quocirca’s Data Innovation Opportunity 2023 report discusses how print manufacturers and their channel partners can better harness data analytics to build new products and services and ultimately create longer term customer relationships.
Accelerating the data maturity journey
Innovative use of data is key to unlocking new opportunities in an industry characterised by hardware commoditisation, declining print volumes and ongoing digital disruption. While many print manufacturers have embarked on journeys to become technology services providers, the effective use of data to drive new revenue streams remains an untapped opportunity. In Quocirca’s 2022 Industry Transformation Study, almost three-quarters (73%) of industry executives agree that data from MFPs should be better exploited, with only 15% disagreeing.
Print manufacturers must embrace a data-driven approach that treats data as a strategic asset in order to extract valuable insights from the vast, connected print ecosystem. Quocirca’s report explains the four stages of data maturity in the print industry. This data maturity model moves from a reactive data approach to a predictive model based on advanced analytics. This delivers insight into customer behaviour which can be used to create innovative and high-value customer services.
Today, most print manufacturers and MPS providers are at the early stages of this journey to data maturity, meaning that those who can make this change and move swiftly to a digital-first, data-driven model will gain competitive advantage.
Key data-driven opportunities
While leading managed print services (MPS) providers will have mature offerings around assessment services for the print infrastructure, there are further opportunities to transform data-driven MPS engagements.
- Sustainability services. Extending MPS assessments to embrace sustainability can enable suppliers to gain a deeper understanding of the environmental impact of the overall print infrastructure. This can extend beyond analysing energy efficiency and carbon footprint of devices to gaining insight into paper and scan usage. MPS providers can offer a range of solutions to reduce environmental impact such as print management platforms, cloud printing and digital workflow automation.
- Security services and solutions. Through understanding the risks and vulnerabilities of the print environment, MPS providers can help customers reduce risk and minimise data loss. This is increasingly important with more remote workers accessing and printing confidential or sensitive information at home. Analysing print and scan usage across devices and users will help organisations improve their recommendations for protecting information at rest, in transit and in use.
- Smart workplace services. As organisations look to operate more sustainable offices, some are using digital twins and connected IoT platforms to manage and operate buildings. These use environmental data, e.g. air quality, noise, light, occupancy levels, to optimise building performance. Some MPS providers already offer smart workspace platforms using occupancy data.
To take advantage of the data opportunity, industry players must build greater data expertise. However it is not possible to drive data innovation based on legacy platforms. Data innovation will require new skills and partnerships that extend to the use of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).