Hybrid working, managed print services and the technology channel

By Victor Bonet, Business Development Manager Printing & Supplies at Tech Data.

Thursday is the new Friday and Tuesday is the new Monday. Hybrid working patterns like this are here to stay in a number of sectors, even as many are concerned about how this affects productivity, positively or negatively.

Technology has been key to how remote working was possible and is central to how hybrid working happens. Naturally, the channel could play an important role in helping their client’s structure and evolve hybrid workplaces.

But, specifically, how can they help?

Hybrid working in 2022

For businesses to facilitate their employees working from home, they should firstly, ensure that they have the right equipment for remote working. This includes employers needing to provide a laptop, any additional screens, an ergonomic mouse and possibly extra lighting for online meetings. The hybrid model increases the need for transition technologies, such as employees needing a laptop docking station, a wireless mouse and keyboard and additional cables. According to a global research study conducted by Catalyst, 63 percent of employees cite increased innovation when working from home, and 75 percent of employees believe that they are more engaged. There is a clear benefit for hybrid working for both employees and employers, but there are still technology issues which need to be addressed.

The growing need for technology The State of Hybrid Work 2022: Europe survey revealed that many employees face difficulties when it comes to virtual meetings. Common issues include, audio echo and distortion (78 percent), sound quality issues (77 percent) and not seeing other people, so missing visual cues (76 percent). To overcome these issues and meet the needs of the workforce, organisations must implement audio-visual solutions. Plug and play solutions work the best, here, especially those which are certified to work alongside commonly used business conferencing applications. As well as this, noise cancelling headphones, external microphones and 4K ultra-HD video are all essential for a smooth hybrid work environment.

Another element of the hybrid working model which may be overlooked is the need for a printer. Being able to print off documents is essential in many sectors, such as law, education and finance. However, due to challenges setting this up and employee compliance, especially with a distributed workforce, many employers would opt out of supplying their homeworkers with a printer for their home office. Not only this, but printer suppliers also face logistical challenges when coordinating and managing orders for a decentralised print fleet.

How can the channel help?

Resellers in the channel have a role to play to ensure that their customers have the right managed printing solution for their needs and making sure that employees always have working ink cartridges in their printer. These solutions must be seamless, automated and should work for all end user employees distributed across a country, continent or even located around the globe, regardless of the printer status or manufacturer. As well as this, these solutions need to be budget friendly with transparent costings. Customers should only pay for what they use.

Fortunately, there is growing opportunity in the channel for new managed print service solutions. A new generation of automated services, such as OpenMPS, support resellers when shipping printer cartridges to each end user no matter where they are based. For resellers, using this service, there is no need for them to hold surplus stock as orders are automatically generated as and when end users need new printer cartridges.

In order to simplify this process for resellers, all data, orders and processes are stored in a centralised cloud server and managed by the most secure and reliable print monitoring software in the market. This consolidates all of the information needed by the reseller and makes sure that it is accurate and relevant. Resellers have full end to end visibility of all of the printers in their network, so are able to see when new order of printer cartridges may be needed. This also allows resellers to see any issues with any printer in their network. As well as this, resellers are able to track printing intensity for each printer, providing full visibility to monitor how end users are using their printer. Resellers can also provide access to end-users to the platform to see and track for themselves consumptions and print fleet usage.

To ensure that managed print services provide a streamlined customer journey, all processes are automated. With all orders being automatically generated in the cloud server before an end users ink cartridge is forecasted to run out, a shipment to the end users’ home will be created. Resellers are still able to see which end user has generated a shipment of which ink cartridge, the current levels of ink in each cartridge and which cartridges have triggered an order. As these processes are automated, it removes the complexity for resellers needing to ship ink cartridges to multiple locations.

In order for businesses to ensure a streamlined hybrid working model, access to a printer is essential. Using an automated manged print service, such as OpenMPS, organisations are now able to provide their employees with a solution for their printing needs, without being overcharged due to hidden costs. For resellers, there is an opportunity to facilitate this new way of working with a fully automated and streamlined managed print service. It is a win-win for resellers, businesses and end users alike.

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