Managed print services. To me, those three words represent both "opportunity" and "confusion." As I've mentioned multiple times, I'm shocked by the lack of standards, hit-and-miss education and poor communications in the managed print services market. But a fledgling conference and a new association hope to move the managed print industry forward.

On the upside, a Managed Print Services Conference is scheduled for April 26-28 in San Antonio. The Photizo Group is hosting the event and plans to launch a Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) at the conference.

Some critics may ask two obvious questions:
  • Is Photizo Group qualified bring order to the managed print services industry?
  • Is the group qualified to launch an association?
We'll find out in April during their Managed Print Services Conference. But in the meantime, I applaud Photizo founder Ed Crowley for standing up and trying to bring some organization to a highly fragmented, frequently misunderstood market.

Other organizations are also helping push the managed print services market forward. Ingram Micro, for instance, is hosting a half-day managed print seminar in association with the company's Seismic Partner Conference in Dallas this May (http://www.ingrammicro.com/seismic).

Time for Managed Print APIs

My personal feeling: Printer makers should work with each other to help develop standards and open APIs (application programming interfaces). The APIs would allow all printers to integrate with all managed services platforms.

When Xerox announced API plans with ConnectWise and N-able, I thought the managed print service market would move forward rapidly. But frankly, I've heard very little about those efforts in recent months. Perhaps Photizo, Ingram and other will help to re-start the buzz around managed print services.

As Photizo points out in its blog, even The Wall Street Journal has touched on managed print services in recent months. Surely, vendors should crank up their education efforts.

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