IDC Report Claims Smart MFPs Will Evolve

In its MarketScape 2013 Smart MFP Report, IDC anticipates the evolution of smart MFPs into the future hardware foundation for the office hardcopy market.According to IDC, since the MFP has evolved from an output device to a smart document processing unit for paper and digital data, the research group predicts the MFP’s role in the office will continue to evolve and expand. The market research firm also asserts “there will still be a place for single-function printers (SFPs) and the like in the future market”, but MFPs have the following advantages over SFPs:

  • The smart MFP offers a variety of cost and space savings as part of consolidating assets
  • The smart MFP leverages the market transition toward software
  • The smart MFP is also central to the evolving managed print and document services (MPS) strategies of the hardcopy vendor community
IDC also points out that Lexmark maintains a leadership position in MPS and extensive software ecosystems. Lexmark has either developed or acquired hardware technologies as well as several software solutions concerning mobility, cloud, capture, content/process management and MPS. “The intent of such an effort gives Lexmark responsiveness advantages and a greater ability to customize end-to-end process improvement solutions,” claims the IDC report.Commenting on this, Marty Canning, Lexmark Executive Vice President and President of Imaging Solutions and Services, said, “We are proud of IDC’s recognition of Lexmark’s technological leadership, and we remain fiercely committed to developing innovative devices and solutions that deliver immediate and sustainable value for all of our customers. Smart MFPs are foundational to help our customers solve their unstructured information challenges by enabling a very broad set of solutions—far beyond traditional print environments.”
From its talks with end-users, IDC has concluded several pieces of advice for first-time buyers of smart MFPs and related technologies:

  1. Identifying goals and objectives. Integrating MFPs with solutions and services should include taking inventory of the company’s assets and what is needed
  2. Communication and executive buy-in. Effective communication with all parties involved in implementing the new technology is significant while executive buy-in for the plan is a driver for the implementation and removes many potential obstacles related to employee resistance
  3. Making sure it works. On the one hand, buyers should make sure that the smart MFPs function with existing IT equipment. On the other hand, they should discover whether an important software application or technology works better with one vendor’s MFP versus others.
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