Encompass Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., a provider of forward and reverse logistics for a diverse range of electronics products and replacement parts has created a partnership with managed print services (MPS) solutions provider Docuwise, adding another partnership to the growing noise around MPS. The idea of MPS isn't new to the IT channel, but with more partnerships forming recently, it sure seems to be picking up momentum. Why has there been an such an increase in the past few weeks? We'll take a stab at the answer, as well as reveal the details of the Encompass and Docuwise partnership.

The Encompass/Docuwise deal means Encompass will market Docuwise's full suite of services, including remote document output monitoring; print cost reduction analysis; replenishment of consumables (toner and ink cartridges) and supplies/parts (fusers and maintenance kits); and on-site print device maintenance and repair. Docuwise's solution is vendor neutral, covering all major brands and models of laser printers, copiers, multifunction print devices, fax machines, wide format printers and plotters, and can be distributed through value-added resellers (VARs), leveraging Docuwise's cloud-based platform, Print Environment System Organizer (PESO).

"The key benefit was partnering with a company whose core competency is managing the entire print environment and providing specific value to customers looking to save money on printing costs and hardware," said Kristin Hurst, spokesperson for Encompass, in an email statement.

Docuwise CEO Ron Harris said in a prepared statement that MPS partnerships enable businesses to operate print services more effectively and efficiently, "while reducing document output costs." He added that partnerships with businesses allow Docuwise to expand services throughout the channel.

But what's with the sudden growth of partnerships?

Managed print programs are expanding services

Harris's words about more efficient operations and reduction in output costs are certainly a factor.  He said that managed print programs go further than just replacing toner cartridges and repairing broken devices. Programs must address every aspect of print costs. As more programs expand services, more partnerships will be formed, he suggested.

Level Platforms Business Developer Director Carlson Colomb told MSPmentor that expanding services includes the opportunity for MSPs to monitor and manage printers and imaging devices as they enter the IT environment.

"A key is simplifying this and making it as easy as possible for MSPs to add managed print as a service for end-clients," he said.

Colomb added that there is a growing demand from the market for managed print services. To address the needs of customers, MSPs want simple solutions that can be easily integrated into their offerings.

"The overarching requirement is helping MSPs find ways so they can more simply expand their services offering and become a one-stop shop for their clients," he said.

Technology has advanced

Colomb said that MPS is heading mainstream, but also noted that the opportunity has always been there. MSPs, however, have lacked the technology to capitalize on the opportunity until recently. For instance, while Level Platform's Managed Workplace has enabled MSPs to manage printers and imaging devices for a while now, its recent partnership with Docuwise has enhanced integration.

"With our partnership with Docuwise, MSPs can now more easily leverage this Managed Workplace capability into an easily delivered turn-key service to their end customers, via the integration with the Docuwise PESO backend system, letting Docuwise automate supply ordering, printer maintenance and much more," he said.

The partnership with Docuwise has enabled Level Platforms' to provide its MSPs with an easy way to integrate managed print into their offering, he said. This extra step separates these MSPs from the rest of the pack.